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'Cheers' Star Shelley Long Took Years to Overcome Painful Separation from Husband of 22 Years

Joe Akins
Jan 23, 2022
07:40 P.M.
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Shelley Long, whose career picked up when she decided to play Diane Chambers' role in "Cheers,'' enjoyed a happy marriage in the years that followed. However, more than two decades after her marriage came a painful separation that almost cost her life.


Shelley Long ingrained her mark in the acting scene after featuring on " Cheers," which aired from 1982 to 1993. She played Diane Chambers, thrilling the audience to an impressive performance of a lover in an unstable romance.

Although she was vulnerable, Diane Chambers understood who she was and where she was headed. In a candid interview, the actress admitted to connecting with her onscreen personality.

Promotional portrait of Shelley Long as Diane Chambers, Ted Danson as Sam Malone for the TV show "Cheers" [left]. Bruce Tyson and Shelley Long during Premiere Party for "Hello Again" at Maxims on November 2, 1987 in New York City, New York [right] | Photo: Getty Images


Long was among the first set of entertainers on the sitcom, but she left five years later, only to make irregular appearances in the series that followed. Her co-stars included Woody Harrelson, Rhea Perlman, Kelsey Grammer, and Ted Danson.

The actress witnessed commendable success in her career but chose family over it. She had a long marriage with a securities broker. In the end, the couple separated, leaving the fringed-blonde-hair "Cheers" star with an infectious smile, heartbroken.

Shelley Long arrives October 10, 2000 at the New York premiere of Artisan Entertainment''s "Dr. T & The Women" at The Ziegfeld Theatre in New York | Photo: Getty Images



The first time Long strutted down the aisle was when she decided to spend forever with Ken Solomon. However, the pair's forever was limited to a few years, as the marriage crashed in the 1970s.

It was not until 1979 that the actress found another partner. This time, it was to Bruce Tyson, a certified securities broker who later ran an investment company that manages millions for top-notch clients.

Bruce Tyson and Shelley Long during The 67th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. | Photo: Getty Images


Two years after their first meeting, the couple exchanged their vows. By 1985, they welcomed their first and only child, Juliana Tyson. 

Long's daughter learned the ropes relatively early. At age 3, she already dreamed of acting after attending the Cirque du Soleil tent, where the toddler felt captured by the leotards, mimes, and the spotlight.

Bruce Tyson and Shelley Long during Homeless Art Auction Benefit at Loew's Santa Monica Beach Hotel in Santa Monica, California, United States. | Photo: Getty Images


Juliana passionately pursued her goal, enrolling at the University of Southern California to major in Theater. There, she showcased her talent by playing "Boquicia" in the original play "Invasion," "Rabbi Isador Chemelwitz," in "Angels of Tomorrow," and "Elizabeth Proctor" in "The Crucible."

The younger actress is also a proficient writer, and she loves to dance. She is the founder of a dance-theater in LA known as "Boom Kat Dance Theater." Long's daughter established the "Good Juju Ink" company that deals with greeting cards, clothing, and other products with her entrepreneurial spirit.

Bruce Tyson and Shelley Long during "Braveheart" Premiere at Paramount Pictures in Hollywood, California, United States. | Photo: Getty Images



Long's exit from the show coincided with when she became a mother; she wanted to be available to nurture her girl and did not mind if it punctured her career.

The mother-of-one left during the show's thriving times, and while motherhood was a valid reason, she added that there was more. The "Cheers" star said:

"I didn't wanna keep doing the same episodes over and over again, in the same story. It had been such a fresh and vital experience for me. I didn't want to become old and stale."

Shelley Long as Diane Chambers, Ted Danson as Sam Malone from "Cheers" | Photo: Getty Images


Long revealed that her cast members meant a lot to her despite the decision, and she missed them. The actress commented differently, and when a cast member died, it felt devastating.

According to her, working on the show was a fantastic experience, but the mother of one firmly mentioned that she never regretted leaving it. The exit made her famous, and she bagged a few other roles in some shows later on. 

Ted Danson and Shelley Long at the Barker Hangar on March 19, 2006 | Photo: Getty Images


In 2004, at age 55, her career had declined, and sadly so did her happy marriage. Tyson served his wife of twenty-two years divorce papers. The news was shocking and depressing, leading the one-time thriving actress to contemplate suicide.

She began spending long hours in bed, barely eating, which scared her close pals. On November 16 of the same year, she was admitted to UCLA medical center after consuming an overdose of painkillers to cure her long-term back pain.

Shelley Long and Bruce Tyson during 10th Annual People's Choice Awards at Santa Monica Civic Auditorium in Santa Monica | Photo: Getty Images


This behavior did not startle her ex+husband, who maintained that he would not delve into the matter. Tyson confirmed that his former wife was okay and was confident that she would survive the episode.

Long had been isolated after leaving their mansion in the ritzy Brentwood area in Los Angeles. But she had the presence of a few friends and her daughter, who stayed close throughout the divorce.

Shelley Long a the NBC 75th Anniversary celebration at Studio 8H in Rockefeller Center, 2002, New York City | Photo: Getty Images



Long, who appeared in several hits like "The Money Pit," "Dr. T the Women," "The Brady Bunch Movie," and "The Santa Trap," is keeping a low profile. The last time she was photographed was in 2019, and the actress managed to stay indoors.

The "Cheers" star lives in a $1.3 million condo in Pacific Palisades, LA, and while she attempts to keep things below the radar, the mother of one still loves to enjoy the fresh air in the streets with her pet. 

Shelley Long at Universal Studios Hollywood on November 3, 2017 | Photo: Getty Images


Her most recent media photo showed her walking her chihuahua. The actress wore her blonde tresses down and opted for a calm look in rolled-up gray jeans that matched a  jacket, white socks, Nike sneakers, and a casual blue round-neck top.

Long has proven to be a vibrant woman despite the years. She combines her outfits and picks cool colors, which work magic with her physique and ageless beauty.

Shelley Long accepts Legend Award for Cheers during 2006 TV Land Awards, Santa Monica, California, United States | Photo: Getty Images


 A few years before the walk-in-the-park appearance, Long looked vibrant in an outing with a friend. She matched a blue "Jimmy Carter For President" shirt on black pants, an open-button jacket, and black kicks. 

The lady's hair was matted loosely,  away from her face, and she held her dog reassuringly in her arms while relaxing at a spot after shopping. The buddies looked engrossed in their table discussion as they enjoyed their drinks.

Shelley Long pictured as Dede on ABC's "Modern Family" - Season Nine, 2018 | Photo: Getty Images

It appeared that Tyson's prediction was accurate. His ex-wife moved on with her life, and even though she loves the quiet life and is happy when nobody recognizes her in public, the former Boston barmaid has made some memories by herself, including hanging out with her male friend and caring for her dog.