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SUZANNE SOMERS is the author of seventeen books, including the New York Times bestsellers Ageless; Keeping Secrets; Eat Great, Lose Weight; Get Skinny on Fabulous Food; Eat, Cheat, and Melt the Fat Away; Fast and Easy; and The Sexy Years.
We got the chance to interview actress Suzanne Somers, best known for her role on the TV series “Three’s Company.” Since her time on the show, she’s written many books chronicling her life experiences, and has devoted her time to health and wellness.
Read on to find out more about the lessons she’s learned after fifty years with Alan Hamel, the relationship advice she has to offer, and why she chose to write her latest book, Two’s Company.
PENGUIN RANDOM HOUSE:You’ve authored more than 25 books, with the most recent being the delightful Two’s Company. What does writing mean to you?
SUZANNE SOMERS: Writing is a privilege. It’s an opportunity to express my point of view or share a particular interest I have at the time. It’s also been an incredible source of self-education – I have used my celebrity status to pick the brains of the best and the brightest. I simplify what I learn, and share it in a way that is easy for everyone to understand. It’s been very exciting.
PRH:In your book, you touch upon the extremely difficult relationship you had with your father as an adolescent. What’s one piece of advice you would give to someone growing up in a challenging environment now?
SS: It’s very hard to see clearly when your nose is pressed against the mirror. My previous books talk about what it’s like for children of alcoholics, and were written to give hope to those hiding in their closets at night as I did.
Had there been an opportunity for me, I would’ve taken advantage of therapy as a tool for coping to learn that it was not my fault, as I had always thought, to find forgiveness, and to use the negatives in life to propel me forward, to toughen me up, to prepare me for the world. It wasn’t fun growing up in that environment, but today I look back at my father as my greatest teacher. Our relationship forced me to find the strength to forgive him, and work to move on in life with an open and happy heart. In other words, I found peace, love and happiness. If I hadn’t done the work, I don’t know what my life would be like today. So, it all lead to great things. That’s what I mean when I say he was the perfect father.
PRH:How has your marriage with Alan evolved over time?
SS: My relationship with Alan has grown in intensity over the years. It was love at first sight – we had incredible chemistry, which was very lucky. That being said, luck does not make a marriage work. You have to deeply care about each other, and learn and grow together. You must listen to one another, and appreciate having someone in your life who loves you, honors you, and respects you. We have done the work. I don’t know what the future holds, but I live in the present, and knowing that I get to be alive and healthy with the man I love gives me unbelievable happiness.
PRH: Were you and Alan ever confronted with a difficult patch in your marriage? How did you make it through?
SS: There is no perfect marriage. But I am old enough to know that it’s not the problems in your life that define you, but rather how you respond to those problems. Our first ten years together were very difficult because we were combining families at a time when it was new territory. There were no rules, and no one knew what to do. You had to figure it out on your own.
No child really wants a new parent – it made the transition of becoming a new family very difficult for us. But we worked through it so that everyone could feel safe and loved. It was a long and arduous process, but today we are a very happy family.
In the book, I chronicle a relatively recent life-changing journey of mine. A poisoning that almost killed me, and the depression that followed, almost ended everything. I still shudder when I remember the dark thoughts I had during this period. As a child, I experienced great fear, but never depression. I dedicated my book to two amazing therapists in my life – the first one from early on, and the second who helped me move toward the light.
Maybe that’s why I see every single day with my husband as a gift. I love him more today than I ever have and maybe it’s because we almost lost each other in this horrible process. There are great opportunities in every negative if you look for them. It’s hard to see at the time, but with perspective, it makes sense. I want to be with Alan even when I’m very old, probably until I’m 120 (laughs). I love every day with him.
PRH: What are your thoughts on relationships in Hollywood today?
SS: There are many Hollywood relationships that have lasted and endured. We hear about all the bad ones. I wrote my story because I had to – it started to flow out of me and onto the pages, which signaled to me that it was time to begin the next project. I wanted to let everyone know that in this “magical land” called Hollywood, there are some relationships that truly work.
PRH: How do you feel about popular dating apps, like Tinder?
SS: I’m probably the last person who would be qualified to discuss a dating app. To tell you the truth, I’ve never even heard of Tinder.
PRH: How do you create balance when it comes to self-care and caring for your “other half”?
SS: I say in the book that it is vital in a relationship to cherish your health, and that you both do it. I am married to someone who embraces my approach to healthcare and non-drug living (unless absolutely necessary). We are in sync. We drink our green smoothies in the morning and take all our vitamins daily. I put our vitamins in tackle boxes once a month, and as I do it (tedious though it may be), I enjoy knowing that these daily supplements are allowing us to live a superb quality of life with optimal health. What could be better?
PRH: What’s the most important lesson you’ve learned about love in these 50 years?
SS: Being in love is a gift. You must work at it and never take it for granted. We give each other a lot of attention; when I wake up, he looks at me, and he tells me I’m beautiful. It doesn’t matter if it’s true or not, it’s what he thinks, and it makes me feel beautiful inside and out. I never take him for granted, and vice versa.
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