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'Eight Is Enough' Susan Richardson Became Addicted to Losing Pregnancy Weight to Keep Role — Now Lives in Trailer with Health Issues

Esther NJeri
Sep 08, 2021
12:30 A.M.
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Many people go through vigorous exercise routines to shed, even if just a little weight. But Susan Richardson's weight loss journey became an addiction and threw her into health problems she still has to deal with today - over four decades later.


Susan Richardson appeared on the “Eight Is Enough” show in 1977, playing Susan Bradford for the five seasons that the show lasted.

The comic show followed the life of a family of ten, fatherTom, mother Joan, and their eight kids Nicholas, Tommy, Susan, Elizabeth, Nancy, Joanie, David, and Mary. Joan would later die, and Tom married Abby, a teacher.

Susan Richardson on a scene on "Eight is Enough" | Source: Getty Images


Richardsons troubles began when she got pregnant when still on the show, leading her to gain 90 pounds. Even though the developments were written in, it is rumored that the producers wanted her to lose the extra weight.

There were also speculations that she feared that with the additional weight, she would lose her role in the show, and so to keep her job, she had to get back to her original weight, whatever it took.

9/1/78, The Bradford family - Susan Richardson (Susan), Connie Needham (Elizabeth), Grant Goodeve (David), Willie Aames (Tommy), Lani O'Grady (Mary); Bottom row: Laurie Walters (Joannie), Dick Van Patten (Tom), Adam Rich (Nicholas), Betty Buckley (Abby), Dianne Kay (Nancy) | Source: Getty Images


Unable to lose the weight on her own, Richardson turned to cocaine, yet her troubles did not end when the show wrapped up in 1981.

Before the popular "Eight is Enough," Richardson appeared in "The Streets of San Francisco" in 1972, "American Graffiti" in 1973, and then in "An Eight Is Enough Wedding" in 1989 before she completely went off the grid.

Richardson would soon suffer personal problems ranging from financial constraints to health issues. Today, Richardson lived in a camper in downtown Wagonstown Pennsylvania.

Susan Richardson at home circa 1979. | Source: Getty Images


The irony of a TV show star living in a "rotting trailer" does not pass unnoticed. HuffPost reports the now-69 year old to have said that her trailer does not have a computer or a TV, and she cannot afford to heat it. She says:

"There’s always something wrong with it. I desperately need a new trailer but I can’t afford it.”

Eight Is Enough actress Susan Richardson in April 18, 1978 | Source: Getty Images.


Her health has been her most significant concern, and after she suffered a tailbone injury in a 2013 concert, it only deteriorated from there.

She also has diabetes and has suffered several mini-strokes. The following year, she lost her mom, followed by her little sister in 2014 and her dad in 2015.

And they all suffered from the same ailment, Achalasia, a disorder that paralyzes the esophagus. And she, too has it. The condition affects her so that she can't eat and has to feed through a tube.

Susan Richardson on an episode of Eight is Enough "Pieces of Eight" on March 29, 1977. | Source: Getty Images


The digestive condition has also made her lose all her teeth, making a simple eating activity really difficult, and as a result, she now weighs a mere 60 pounds.

The "Eight is Enough" star fills her time playing the piano and doing illustrations on children's books. She also loves meeting up with her fans, who still send her cards wishing her good health.

Despite her misfortunes, she is thankful that she is alive today, and recalling the doctors' reports several years back, she says, "Eight years ago, doctors said I wouldn’t be here, and I am here."


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