Catching Up With Fran Drescher

6.16.2011

By Brent Ramsey

For years, Fran Drescher warmed the hearts of the fictional Sheffield family -- and millions of loyal viewers -- with her quirky laugh and quick-witted charm as Fran Fine in The Nanny. Almost a decade later, Drescher and Peter Marc Jacobson (ex-husband and co-creator of the beloved sitcom) have teamed up once again for TV Land's Happily Divorced, a series inspired by the former couple's life after Jacobson came out.

Out met up with Drescher at Industry Bar in New York City for the Happily Divorced launch party to chat about her new show, being a gay icon, New York marriage equality, and how to succeed in life after divorce.

Out: How much of Happily Divorced was directly inspired by your experiences?
Fran Drescher: I think that we felt it was a very fresh relationship: To have a couple that was once married but the husband comes out, and they reinvent their love into something that's more suitable for where they are in their lives now -- and become happily divorced. He's able to be authentic and totally in sync with his orientation, and she struggles to be single when she's been married all of her adult life. But they're forced to live together because, in this economy, they can't sell the house and can't afford to live separately until they do sell it. That didn't happen for Peter and I, but we took creative license because we want to create a situation that makes for good episodes week in and week out.

Are there any particular scenes or episodes that represent what really happened in your marriage and divorce?
We explored the times when Fran feels like she wasted her youth by going with the wrong guy. We explored Peter's inability to integrate into the community because all he knows is how to be a married man. And, in spite of the fact that they continue to try and become their own separate person, they keep slipping into their married roles.

How do you feel about having everything aired out in the open?

I'm writing and executive producing this show. It's taken on its own life and its own momentum. We inspired it, but now the actors have been cast in the roles and they breathe their own life into it. And the show has taken off. And, you know, we have a room full of writers. And, so, now it's like we're just... We're doing a sitcom.

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