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Shelley Long Was Pregnant on 'Cheers' & Nearly Died during Her Divorce — Her Daughter Also Became an Actress

Busayo Ogunjimi
Mar 11, 2022
01:40 A.M.
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Shelley Long became very depressed and nearly died after her husband walked out of their 22-year marriage. Their daughter has since followed in her mother's footsteps. 

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American actress, Shelley Long, became very popular due to her character on the sitcom "Cheers," which drew large audiences to the show. 

Shockingly, at the height of her fame and the show's ever-increasing popularity, the actress decided to leave the sitcom. She found it difficult to sustain her career after that, and the Emmy Award-winner could also not prevent her decades-long marriage from collapsing.

Shelley Long as Diane Chambers from "Cheers" | Source: Getty Images

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LONG'S MOST FAMOUS ROLE

Long rose to prominence when she landed the role of Diane Chambers in the 1982 sitcom "Cheers." Her character's on-screen relationship with Sam Malone, which actor Ted Danson played, became one of the most intriguing plots on the show. 

The show became one of the most popular of the era, and the duo of Shelley and Danson were touted as one of the best sitcom couples ever. 

Promotional portrait of Ted Danson and Shelley Long from the TV series, "Cheers" in 1982. | Source: Getty Images

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But just five years into the series, Long suddenly declared she would be leaving the series to the disappointment of the writers and fans. 

Her decision came with many reasons, one of which was long-term disagreements with her co-stars, who were not happy with the actress's behavior. 

During the lunch period, instead of hanging out with her colleagues, Long would leave for her dressing room to meditate, which did not sit well with her peers.

Shelley Long at the New York premiere of Artisan Entertainment's "Dr. T & The Women." | Source: Getty Images

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Also, during the fifth season, she would engage the writers in long hours of talk about her character, which got to the point where they could not stand it anymore. 

The actress also believed the writers were not providing enough plots for her character Diane to grow - they only stuck with the relationship plotline between her and Sam. 

Long had also signed a contract with Disney while working on "Cheers" and was looking to move forward working with them. 

Shelley Long a the NBC 75th Anniversary celebration at Studio 8H in Rockefeller Center, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

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The other reason she wanted to leave was to spend more time with her two-year-old baby Juliana, whom she gave birth to during the show's earlier seasons and shared with her husband, Bruce Tyson. 

The producers of "Cheers" were concerned that Long's exit from the show would cause a fallout and leave everyone's career and livelihood in jeopardy. 

Thankfully after they replaced Long with actress Kirstie Alley, the sitcom managed to thrive, and ratings even rose to the highest they had ever been. Meanwhile, Long struggled to land any meaningful role after leaving the show because producers were not intrigued about hiring her. 

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Shelley Long attends the Museum of Television and Radio Cocktail Party, 2004. | Source: Getty Images

MARRIAGE AND CAREER STRUGGLES

Long met her husband Bruce Tyson on a blind date in 1979. The pair started a romantic relationship, and two years later, they exchanged marital vows. It was the second time the actress would get married, and soon after their marriage, the couple welcomed their daughter Juliana. 

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Sadly, after 22 years of marriage, Tyson, the president of an investment firm called Weston Capital Management, walked out of their marriage.

Due to their divorce, Long had to leave their Hollywood home when it was sold and subsequently started living alone. She became depressed after her marriage collapsed and would not eat, spending long periods in bed. 

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

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The actress often told her friend she had nothing to live for anymore, and as a result, on November 16, 2004, she attempted suicide by overdosing on painkillers.

Long was taken to UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles, where she was attended to and later discharged after she recovered. 

Speaking to The Post on the incident, Tyson declared he expected his ex-wife to survive the incident and, after that, overcome her suicidal thoughts. Even though he was optimistic about the longer future of his daughter's mother, he refused to discuss the matter any further.

Bruce Tyson and Shelley Long during Homeless Art Auction Benefit at Loew's Santa Monica Beach Hotel. | Source: Getty Images

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LONG'S CURRENT LIFE 

After leaving "Cheers" in 1987, Long struggled to replicate her success on the sitcom in her other projects.

The actress made "Troop Beverly Hills" in 1989, but that did not aid her fading momentum. She then starred as Carol Brady in "The Brady Bunch Movie" in 1995 before appearing in "A Very Brady Sequel" in 1996. 

After that, most of her television roles came in the form of guest-starring. However, she returned to her role as Diane Chambers for four episodes on the "Cheers" spin-off "Frasier" in 1994, 1996, and twice in 2001.

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

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One of Long's most recent screen appearances has come from portraying the character DeDe Pritchett on the series "Modern Family." Her reputation for being very difficult to work with and how she left "Cheers" did not help her career very much, but Long does not regret any of it. She said

"I don’t regret my decision, but people weren’t quite ready yet to hire me in any other capacity than Diane Chambers.”

The actress stayed farther away from the spotlight as she grew older, but she was recently spotted walking about in Los Angeles with her pet, a Chihuahua. 

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Long was seen donning a blue shirt and grey jacket coupled with Nike sneakers, long socks, and cuffed grey jeans. She also had her stylish clear-rimmed glasses on. The veteran star, who is rarely seen out, now lives in a $1.3 million mansion in the Pacific Palisades of Los Angeles. 

HER ONLY DAUGHTER 

Long's daughter, Juliana Tyson, followed in her mother's footsteps by embracing the performing arts. While studying theater at the University of Southern California, she played various roles, including Boquicia in the original musical "Invasion!" and Elizabeth Proctor in the faculty production of "The Crucible."

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In 2009 she made her TV debut as Victoria Taylor in the series "Privileged." She is also a founding member of the dance theater company Boom Kat Dance Theatre in Los Angeles. 

On September 29, 2015, she married Ryan Kissick, a Stanford-educated management consultant. The pair have since become parents. 

The National Suicide Prevention Lifeline is 1-800-273-8255. Other international suicide helplines can be found at befrienders.org.

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