By Jill Jacobs
NEW YORK (Reuters) – Fran Drescher’s new sitcom, “Happily Divorced,” offer viewers a glimpse into her real-life marital break-up after her husband of 18 years revealed he was gay.
Created by Drescher and ex-husband Peter Marc Jacobsen, the comedy offers a modern-day twist on divorce: After her husband “comes out,” they are forced to live together due to financial constraints.
Drescher, 53, co-stars with John Michael Higgins. “Happily Divorced premieres Wednesday on cable channel TV Land.
Best known for her role as “The Nanny,” Drescher is also a political lobbyist, health activist and author. Reuters spoke to Drescher about love, being “Happily Divorced” and playing matchmaker for her ex-husband.
Q: “Happily Divorced” is based on your real life when your husband told you he was gay after 18 years. How will viewers relate to this show?
A: I hope they respond in the same way our live audience has — they love it! The series is inspired by our relationship and reinvention of our friendship. It has a lot of laughs and a lot of substance.
Q: What was your reaction when he told you?
A: It was two years out of the (1999) divorce, and I had already battled cancer and was already in love with a man sixteen years my junior, so it was fine.
Preview “Happily Divorced:”
Q: You have said that you and your ex-husband are close friends who set each other up on dates. What kind of man do you want for your ex?
A: Someone in their 40’s, successful, intelligent, having some kind of substance to them and a good person that’s funny.
Q: Are you dating?
A: Yes, I have a few very interesting men in my life right now.
Q: Not everyone going through a divorce ends up “Happily Divorced.” Any advice for others who may be divorcing?
A: Our manager gave us good advice when he told us we owed it to ourselves to reinvent ourselves. We also went through therapy together. Love is love. That’s the global message of the show.
Q: What television programs are on your DVR?
A. Charlie Rose, Episodes, CBS Sunday morning.
Q: There has been talk of you throwing your hat into the political arena. Any political aspirations?
A: I am involved in Washington in introducing initiatives, trying to get bills passed for the greater good. Whether or not I run for an elective office remains to be seen. It’s always been an ambition of mine, but the more I see the politicking that goes not in the best interest of the voters, it sickens me. I think that as a celebrity that’s active in Washington, I may have wielded a better sword as a voter, as a citizen.
Q: If you weren’t an actress, you’d be …?
A: I’d probably be one of the many other things that I already am: a writer, politician, advocate, philanthropist, hairdresser, businesswoman.
Q: You’re a cancer survivor. What can you tell us about your role as a health care advocate?
A: We have fantastic programs and I hope people go online and find out more about (her nonprofit organization) “Cancer Schmancer” and join the movement. At the end of the day, what’s most important is that we have to start making better choices with our lifestyle, because 95 percent of cancer is environmental. It’s all about early detection, so we have to start getting educated because there is a 95 percent survival rate if caught early.
(Editing by Dean Goodman)