With news of Suzanne’s Somers passing just one day shy of her 77th birthday, we went back into our archives to rediscover some of her wisdom. With her sunny disposition and radiant smile, it’s no wonder that Golden Globe–nominated actress and health advocate Suzanne Somers was one of America’s most beloved icons. But Suzanne also faced a painful past, heartbreak and illness that threatened to dim her light. Here, what she shared with Woman’s World in 2019 and 2022 about how faith, family and one daily reminder kept her shining on.
Highlights from our 2022 talk with Suzanne Somers
The sun was shining at Suzanne Somers’ Palm Desert, California, home. And as she finished a cup of organic coffee brewed by her doting husband of 45 years, Alan Hamel, her face lit up with gratitude. “Every morning, he hands me my coffee and tells me he loves me, so I start off my day in bliss,” Suzanne shared with Woman’s World. In 2021, her mornings looked very different after a fall down a flight of stairs left her with a broken neck and spine, dislocated jaw and fractured hip.
“Strangely, it’s made me a better person,” Suzanne reflected on the injury. “I realized what I took for granted: a good, healthy body.” She credits her family’s support for the amazing progress she made in the wake of her injury. “I have an incredible husband. Every night when I look over at him, I think, I’m so lucky. Then when I wake up, there he is! We are more in love than ever. I’ve had so much thrown at me, but look what I have.”
Her rough start in life
Best known for her golden locks and ability to evoke big laughs in her role as Chrissy Snow on Three’s Company, Suzanne Somers was a quadruple threat as an actress, singer, author, and health advocate helping millions of women live healthier, happier lives.
But Suzanne admitted that her strength was forged from overcoming years of pain and self-doubt. “I grew up with an alcoholic father who told me I was a ‘worthless nothing,’” Suzanne shared with Woman’s World in 2019. “His disease made him say horrible things. After he got sober, he apologized…but for years, I felt worthless.”
After going through a heartbreaking divorce in her early 20s, Suzanne again struggled with her self-worth. “At age 24, I was a single mom of a 5-year old, and I found a therapist at a local community service center,” she recalled. “Bit by bit, she helped me rebuild my self-esteem.” And as Suzanne’s confidence grew, she landed more acting jobs, including her iconic role on Three’s Company in 1977.
Suzanne was let go from the show after five years, but she never let it hold her back. “Our obstacles are our greatest gifts,” she said. “Being fired helped me discover a whole new me!”
This openhearted attitude not only went on to fuel Suzanne’s diverse career, it also helped her beat breast cancer in 2001, inspiring her to develop her own non-toxic cosmetics and supplements line.
1. Know your worth
“I think that all the negative things that happen in life are opportunities,” explained Suzanne. After growing up the child of an alcoholic father who ingrained in her low self-esteem, and following her firing from Three’s Company later in life, she has found the key to realizing her worth. “You have to find a way to turn your negatives into positives by telling your brain that you believe in you. I thought, This isn’t going to work against me, it’s all going to work for me. And it has! I’ve realized what I was worth all along!”
2. Take care of you
“Self-care is so important, not just for our physical bodies but emotionally and spiritually too,” Suzanne told WW. “So wake up every day, do your hair and put on nice clothes, not for anyone else but so you feel good about yourself! Eating right, exercising and using clean products naturally put a spring in your step. And exercise can totally change your attitude. I love to put on music and dance with my husband—or you can dance by yourself! Taking care of you helps you feel beautiful inside and out!”
3. Lean on faith
“I have a deep relationship with God,” revealed Suzanne. “I pray every day and receive strong messages from Him in return, many of which come from nature. Last month, a group of bighorn sheep came onto our property in the desert. It felt so holy, and now my heart fills with joy and gratitude every time I see them. That was God talking to me!”
4. Spark a chain reaction of joy
“I am a firm believer that you can program happiness into your mind and body,” says Suzanne. “They say that we are made up of 40 trillion cells that ‘talk’ to each other all the time. So every morning, I wake up and talk to one of those cells. I say, ‘I’m healthy! I’m happy! I have love in my life!’ Then I imagine all the cells passing along that message, and all 40 trillion singing in concert. That visualization keeps me positive and brings me joy!”
5. Feed your soul with family time
“I’m a serious cook and love to entertain friends and family,” Suzanne shares. “I have an organic garden that is one of the great joys of my life! My husband, Alan, and I often walk down to the garden to pick our own food. We have three kids and six grandchildren, so we’ll all get together and make dinner from ingredients found in our garden and just eat and laugh a lot. My family gives me so much strength!”
6. Live in the moment
“I’m one of those people whose brain thrives on being busy,” Suzanne explains. “But all those long days shifting into high gear can bring on stress and anxiety sometimes. So whenever I need to decompress and relax, my go-to for instant calm is yoga. I do some sort of practice three times a week, and it helps me focus and quiet my mind to just be present in the moment I’m in. Doing that has had such amazing effects, both when I’m actually doing the exercise and afterward, and it brings so much peace and calm.”
7. Free yourself with forgiveness
“Several years ago, I received a misdiagnosis, and for six days, the doctors said I likely wouldn’t live,” Suzanne shared. “They eventually realized they were wrong and reversed the diagnosis, but I went into a deep depression. I started therapy again, where I worked through letting go of past pain and learned that forgiveness is a gift you give yourself.”
This story originally appeared in our print magazine.
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