Patricia Heaton may have the perfect career, but behind the scenes, she is a regular mom of four who has her fair share of struggles. The turning point that stopped her from becoming an alcoholic was when her own son watched her slurring her words.
Born Patricia Helen Heaton on March 4, 1958, the "Everybody Loves Raymond" star debuted on stage before making it to television. After her first broadway production, "Don't Get God Started," Heaton, then a student, formed an acting company with her peers called Stage Three.
Through her stage plays, Heaton was discovered by casting directors, paving the way for a Hollywood career. Although Heaton had quite a successful job, her life behind the scenes was not always a bed of roses. Here's a glimpse into her personal life and career.
Patricia Heaton during the CBS segment of the 2019 Summer TCA Press Tour at The Beverly Hilton Hotel on August 1, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images
After her "Alien Nation" role, Heaton starred in "Room for Two," "Thirtysomething," and "Someone Like Me." However, her role as Debra Barone in the 1996 sitcom "Everybody Loves Raymond" launched her into stardom throughout its nine successful years.
Heaton was nominated for an Emmy Award seven times, two of which she won, for her role on the show, but surprisingly, she almost didn't get cast as Barone. The show's creator, Phil Rosenthal, explained that CBS initially wanted a "hotter" woman to play the character.
He revealed how upset he was after hearing the request and nearly quit. CBS pushed for an actress who Rosenthal did not like. When he convinced then-CEO Les Moonves to allow him to search for the perfect woman, he found Heaton two weeks later. She came in and managed to land the part within five minutes.
David Hunt and Patricia Heaton at a ceremony honoring her with the 2,472nd star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on May 22, 2012, in Hollywood, California | Photo: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images
HER SONS NEED TO WATCH
Although the series was a massive hit, her four sons, Samuel, John, Joseph, and Daniel, have never watched "Everybody Loves Raymond." Speaking to US Weekly, she vowed to make them sit through all the episodes:
"I'm going to make them sit at my funeral for nine years of 'Raymond.' It's going to be the longest funeral in recorded history, and they are going to watch it!"
Instead, her sons watch "The Sopranos" and "Veep." Heaton quipped, "So Julia Louis-Dreyfus got all of my sons' attention."
The actress shares her kids with her second husband, David Hunt, whom she married on October 13, 1990. Not long after their marriage, the couple welcomed their first son, Samuel, in 1993, before expanding with three more sons, John, Joseph, and Daniel.
Hunt is also an actor known as Bill Parker, Ray Barone's opponent in "Everybody Loves Raymond." However, it seems that not all of the couple's kids will be following in their footsteps as actors. Samuel, their eldest, prefers to stay out of the spotlight and only appears to support his mom publicly sometimes.
One of those occasions was during the Hollywood Walk of Fame event. Like his older brother, John also prefers to live a private life. However, the two youngest boys, Joseph and Daniel, are more comfortable with being public. For the two, entering the entertainment industry may just be an option.
BECOMING EMPTY NESTERS
Sadly, like all other adults, Heaton's sons have moved out of their parent's home. In 2017, the actress appeared on "Live with Kelly and Ryan" to talk about their lives without the boys.
She jokingly admitted that her husband was the only person she could look and talk to. The star even confessed she wondered what they'd done together before having the sons. She said:
"Before I had kids, I didn't have a career, so I was still auditioning for things. That took up a lot of my time. I was summarizing depositions to make money. We had nothing."
PATRICIA'S SONS LED HER TO SOBRIETY
The actress is undoubtedly blessed to have wonderful sons and even more grateful for them to be the reason for her sobriety. While on the "Heart of the Matter" podcast with Elizabeth Vargas, Heaton revealed how she chose sobriety after having one too many drinks so often.
Heaton admitted to looking forward to having alcohol daily: "If we went out to dinner, I would have two cocktails before the meal, and then at least two glasses of wine." During a Nashville visit with three of her sons, she brought several bottles of wine and drank them while preparing food, eating, and cleaning.
As she was refilling her glass, she felt sober and fine even though she had been drinking for five or six hours. Heaton recalled making a joke about her family tradition and couldn't pronounce the word "tradition." One of her sons berated her, noting how she couldn't even talk, leaving the star humiliated.
That moment shook her up as she questioned herself and how her children saw her, and that was the turning point of her life. She said:
"There were a couple factors -- like my boys are in their 20s, it's going to be at least probably ten years before there's a possibility of grandchildren, God willing. That would make me around 73."
She added, "I need to have my brain clean so I can be present, if God willing, I should get my grandchildren in my 70s."
PETER BOYLE ALSO HELPED
In July 2021, the actress celebrated three years of sobriety and revealed one of the things that kept her going. Heaton said the conversations she had with the late Peter Boyle helped her a lot.
The "Everybody Loves Raymond" co-star, who died in 2006, honestly spoke to the actress about how he stayed sober and revealed that he'd committed himself not to drink during get-togethers after work. When Heaton asked him how he managed, Boyle said he thought about how his first drink always led to more.
Playing out the scenario made him realize he didn't want to walk down that path. Boyle also explained that by the time he analyzed the situation, the desire to drink had already passed. Even though 20 years had passed since he shared that wisdom, Heaton regularly thinks of it.
DAVID LANDS IN HOT WATER
Heaton also gets the support she needs from her husband. Although married for over three decades, their relationship does not go without problems. In November 2019, Hunt was accused of inappropriate touching on the set of "Carol's Second Act."
Broti Gupta, one of the alleged victims, complained to human resources that Hunt put his hand on her thigh and grabbed her shoulders.
Hunt's lawyer claimed that Hunt didn't remember rubbing anyone's thigh. Apart from that, he supposedly didn't recall touching anybody's shoulders either, but it was not intended to be offensive if he did. CBS also investigated the matter and found no evidence of the women's claims.
As a result of the incident, Heaton's husband had to complete a sexual harassment training on October 1, 2019. He then received a "closure letter" warning him not to engage in the same behavior again.
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