Fran Drescher Tawks Openly About Her Gay Ex-Husband, Beating Cancer and Rape

Leave it to Fran Drescher to really know how to talk. Below, in the edited version of our interview with her, she speaks candidly about her marriage, divorce and rape, which, she says, shaped the person she is today.

Ilyssa Panitz • Celebrity Reporter
fran drescher image
Photograph: TV Land

More: Are you still “Happily Divorced?”
Fran Drescher: Oh yes, very much so. Peter [ex-husband Peter Marc Jacobson] and I have a wonderful relationship.

More: Your new TV Land show, "Happily Divorced," is hysterical.
FD: Judging by the growing numbers, America is really embracing the show. We are getting a lot of fan mail from both men and women saying this exact thing happened to me. The gay community is also really happy to see their gay icon Fran back on TV and embracing their world.

More: So learning about Peter’s orientation was no big deal?
FD: I accept him unconditionally. Love is love. It is all positive.

More: Most people might think, "Didn’t you know your husband was gay?"
FD: I thought he was metrosexual. I mean, I knew he likes to dress well, and he liked me to dress well. But he also was kind of controlling and domineering, and that is why I wanted to get divorced. We have known each other since we were 15, and he wasn’t in touch with those feelings.

More:There were no warning signs?
FD: I will say we had an active sex life. It wasn’t that he wasn’t into me. I left him because he was too controlling, and I was having a midlife crisis. He begged me not to leave.

More: When Peter told you he was gay, did a bell go off and you thought, “Now it all makes sense”?
FD: No. No. I wasn’t surprised by the news, because Peter told me years before he may be bisexual, even though he never acted toward those feelings or impulses. I will say when Peter told me, it relieved a lot of guilt for leaving him.

More: Why so?
FD: Peter stopped talking to me after I left. When he found out I had cancer, he immediately called me and burst into tears. From there we gradually worked together to rebuild a friendship. It took years to get to the place we are at now, but we are now very comfortable and involved in each other’s lives. We were meant to be in each other’s lives and are proud we were able to reinvent our relationship.

More: Aside from your successful career off camera, you have been through the wringer.
FD: I have had my downs. My life has been about very high highs and very low lows. Out of the depths of despair, though, came a silver lining, and from that I gained insight. I was then ready psychologically to grow as a human being. There have been many life lessons as well as consequences I had to learn.

More: Such as?
FD: When I was a rape victim, I was not in therapy. I was trying to be the superwoman and sweep it under the rug by not talking about it to anyone. It was a tabloid TV show that talked about the rape like it just happened when it fact the rape happened years before. The show even tried to talk to my rapist at the jail he was in. That story sent off alarms with people I knew everywhere. It was then I felt my feelings and really experienced it all over again. It was also at that point that I realized I needed a therapist to deal with those internal feelings I hid for so long.

More: How did you deal?
FD: You need a lot of help after that. One of three women will be raped in her lifetime. I hope for the other victims out there that they have a support group or a good husband like me to support them. I feel bad for women who alienate themselves like I did.

More: When you were raped, Peter was in the room.
FD: Yes. He was tied up, blindfolded and gagged.

First Published July 14, 2011

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