Pushed by her beliefs and her father's encouragement, Lisa Whelchel married a pastor and hoped for a "happily ever after." Unfortunately, the couple called it quits 24 years and three kids later. Today her kids are all grown.
Lisa Whelchel began her career playing a Mouseketeer on "The New Mickey Mouse Club" and became a child star after appearing on "The Facts of Life" as the wealthy, preppy, private-school girl Blair Warner. In 2000, she appeared on season 25 of "Survivor: Philippines," where she spent 39 days as part of the Tandang Tribe.
Her career aside, Whelchel also thrived in her personal life. She became a born-again Christian, married a pastor, and raised beautiful kids with her husband. However, their marital bliss came to a halting stop 24 years later. But how and where did it all begin? Here are all the details about her relationship and children.
Lisa Whelchel as Blair Warner in "The Facts Of Life" [Left]. The actress with her family at Disneyland [Middle] Whelchel celebrating Christmas with her children and grandchildren [Right] | Source: Getty Images & Instagram/Lisa Whelchel
LISA WHELCHEL WED A PASTOR BECAUSE OF HER BELIEFS
Whelchel was 25 when she married Steven Cauble, an associate pastor at her church, "The Church On the Way," in Van Nuys, California. At first, she was hesitant, but with some encouragement from her father, and her belief that it was within God's will, she ultimately decided she "would rather trust God over her heart."
On Saturday, July 9, 1988, she finally walked down the aisle as Cauble waited at the altar. They began their life together in Sherman Oaks, California, and lived there for many years before moving to Lantana, Texas, in 2006.
She disclosed that throughout her marriage, she eventually "had to shut her heart off more and more in order to stay." The same year she got married, she quit her acting career to focus on family, and in 1990, they welcomed their first child Tucker Stephenson Cauble.
Lisa Whelchel and her family -- then husband Cauble, son Tucker and daughters Haven and Clancy at The Palladium in Hollywood California in 2004 | Source: Getty Images
Their second, Haven Katherine Hill Cauble, arrived in September 1991, and their third, Clancy Elizabeth Cauble, in November 1992. As her husband pastored, Whelchel became an author and a motivational speaker. Throughout her life, Whelchel had been an ardent believer of her faith and said on OWN:
"Faith has been the central focus of my life since I was ten years old."
However, she would also disclose that her faith made her miss out on many working opportunities. For instance, in 1993, the producers of the then-upcoming show "Friends" contacted Whelchel about the role of Rachel Green.
Actress Lisa Whelchel in the 80s | Source: Getty Images
However, as she would learn after reading the script, the show would include numerous sex-related scenes and innuendos which went against her faith. She turned down the role, which eventually went to the then little-known actress Jeniffer Aniston. Whelchel, however, maintains that she has no regrets about the missed opportunity.
Whelchel remained candid about her marriage and motherhood journey in her books and speeches. Still, her controversial discipline method of putting hot sauce on her children's tongues is the one topic that always raised eyebrows.
INSIDE THE ACTRESS' CONTROVERSIAL PARENTING
Actress Lisa Whelchel on April 1 2019 in New York City | Source: Getty Images
It is not uncommon for parents to discipline their kids as an effective way of teaching them to manage their behaviors. And while the discipline strategies differ from parent to parent, Whellchel's was unique and caused plenty of controversies.
Whelchel administered a discipline method known as "hot saucing," which involves putting hot sauce on her children's tongues. Whelchel felt it worked better than anything else she'd ever tried and would tell ABC News' Good Morning America:
"It does sting, and the memory stays with them so that the next time they may actually have some self-control and stop before they lie or bite or something like that."
Lisa Whelchel and Clancy Cauble on September 15, 2014, in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images
And while many parents consider it cruel, Whelchel defended it, saying she preferred disciplining her kids by her hand other than having them get punished on a larger scale in life. She shared:
"It's totally against popular opinion in culture these days. I prefer my child receive a small amount of pain from my hand of love than to encounter a lot more pain in life."
The "Hearts of Spring" actress also shared that she preferred hot saucing to spanking and began using the discipline strategy when her kids were in pre-school until they were ten years old. She disclosed that it was the best method for offenses related to the child's mouth, adding:
"It's a logical consequence. If you cause somebody pain, either by the words you say by lying and not being a trustworthy person, or by biting, this is a logical consequence. It's your mouth that's the offender."
LISA WHELCHEL DID NOT THINK DIVORCE WOULD HAPPEN TO HER
Even though Whelchel would not disclose what went wrong in her marriage, trouble reportedly began in 2007. The couple attempted counseling to get through it, but that did not work. In December 2011, Whelchel quietly filed for divorce in Denton County, Texas.
Speculations were rife that their marital troubles were due to Cauble's sexual orientation. In contrast, others thought Whelchel's demanding personality was the cause, but even then, Whelchel did not reveal the true nature of their troubles, saying:
"People can say whatever they want to say, but what happened in our family is between God and us."
Finally, in 2012, after 24 years of marriage, the couple got divorced, and Whelchel would later disclose what a difficult time it had been for her. Speaking to OWN, she shared that they only divorced because something "drastic" happened in the marriage. She said:
"I certainly believed with all my heart that we would be married forever, and it would have taken some pretty drastic to divorce."
Actress Lisa Whelchel as Blair Warner in "The Facts Of Life" | Source: Getty Images
Nevertheless, Whelchel's faith in the institution has never faltered, and she would tell People: "Of course, I still believe in marriage. I never thought divorce would happen to me. But Steve is still my best friend. We just couldn't be married."
"It was painful to realize that it wasn't going to work out." She admitted. But even though their marriage failed in the end, Whelchel and Cauble have remained friends for years now. They continued spending family time together long after their divorce.
Even though she initially had no plans to one day date again, Whelchel was lucky to find love with Pete Harris in 2019, and the two married on December 20 that same year.
Today, they are still in love, and in an Instagram post celebrating their anniversary, Whelchel doted over her husband, saying how much she loved being married to him.
MEET THE ACTRESS' CHILDREN AND GRANDCHILDREN
Her daughter Clancy is married to J.J Ornates and also followed in her mother's footsteps and became an actress. She debuted her career with her role as the free-spirited young Jill Tanner in "Butterflies Are Free."
She was so eager to launch her acting career that she earned her bachelor's degree from the University of North Texas in just two years. However, she had to wait until she was 22 to audition for her first role because, as Whelchel would later say:
"I wouldn't let her until she got a college education."
Whelchel also appeared in the film as a sometimes overbearing mother of a young blind man. And Clancy thought working with her mother was a wonderful experience, adding that it "feels like we've been doing it for years." Whelchel seconded the sentiments, saying:
"We get along really well. This is just another arena."
Clancy Cauble attends at 583 Park Avenue on October 30, 2017 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
Clancy would again appear alongside her mother on "Hearts of Spring" a year later, and their chemistry was undeniable, just like their resemblance. They learned plenty from each other, with Clancy heaping praises on Whelchel, saying:
"My mom taught me the technical stuff."
Whelchel also left with life lessons from her daughter as Clancy would "go to the deep places" emotionally, which was a new experience for Whelchel, who disclosed that acting in the 80s sitcoms was different. She shared:
"I feel very confident as a comedic actress, but I'm pretty insecure as a dramatic actress. Clancy could access the depth of emotion in real life."
Whelchel's oldest daughter, Haven, is a wife and a mother of two, and like her sister, she is the carbon copy of her mother, while Tucker inherited his father's looks.
Aside from her successful film career, Whelchel is also invested in her family life and has raised her beautiful children to become wonderful adults. But away from being a doting mother, Whelchel is also a proud grandma.
The numerous photos of her kids and grandkids on her Instagram account are undeniable evidence that she cherishes moments spent with family and cannot stop gushing over her beautiful grandchildren.