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Kirstie Alley 'Would Die' for Teen Idol Husband When They Met Yet Their Marriage Ended in an 'Awful' Divorce

Oyin Balogun
Jun 04, 2022
02:30 P.M.

When they first met at a bar, Kirstie Alley knew something would happen between her and Parker Stevenson. It seemed like they would last forever when they married, but unfortunately, the union ended in an acrimonious divorce. Here are the details.

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Teen idol Parker Stevenson, AKA Frank Hardy from "The Hardy Boys," first ran into "Cheers" actress Kirstie Alley in 1981 at a bar where she had been with her roommate.

Stevenson had gone to the bar with a date, yet, Alley still found a way to dance with him, which was the beginning of their romance.

Parker Stevenson, 1977. | Source: Getty Images

Parker Stevenson, 1977. | Source: Getty Images

According to the actress, the moment she set eyes on him, she was instantly besotted. Alley told her roommate that she could "die" for him. She said:

"I saw him and said to my roommate, 'For him, I would die."

They dated for a couple of years, during which they both realized exactly how contrasting their behaviors were.

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Actress Kirstie Alley and actor Parker Stevenson at the "Shoot to Kill" Westwood Premiere on February 4, 1988 at the Mann Westwood Theatre in Westwood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actress Kirstie Alley and actor Parker Stevenson at the "Shoot to Kill" Westwood Premiere on February 4, 1988 at the Mann Westwood Theatre in Westwood, California. | Source: Getty Images

After years of dating and living together, Stevenson and Alley decided to marry, and Alley left her mark in his life. One of the things she was credited with was encouraging Stevenson to shed his image as a preppy teen idol.

It took him three years to get out from under the shadow of his performance as Frank Hardy in the "The Hardy Boys Mysteries," with his breakout role being the villainous Aubrey James in "Stroker Ace."

Speaking about it, Stevenson once declared that his performance made people hiss at him during the previews, which made him happy because it signified a job well done.

Kirstie Alley role playing as Rebecca Howe. | Source: Getty Images

Kirstie Alley role playing as Rebecca Howe. | Source: Getty Images

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Alley and Stevenson made a great pair, but as earlier stated, there were many things they did not share in common.

For instance, Alley was a Scientologist, while Stevenson was a non-practicing Episcopalian. Alley enjoyed big Macs and pastries, but Stevenson preferred having breakfast cereals wet with orange juice.

She liked hard alcohol while he would rather have a beer, and the actor also didn't like smoking, so Alley had to smoke on the balcony where it wouldn't bother him.

Parker Stevenson and Kirstie Alley at the PRO-Peace Public Service Announcement for the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament on October 5, 1985. | Source: Getty Images

Parker Stevenson and Kirstie Alley at the PRO-Peace Public Service Announcement for the Great Peace March for Global Nuclear Disarmament on October 5, 1985. | Source: Getty Images

While they dated, she was the one who brightened up the room with her presence, but he was just a guy who kept to himself.

In retrospect, the differences they had were many, but it was pretty interesting for them, and Stevenson believed that with such contrasts, he would never have a dull moment in his life, which is why they chose to elope on December 22, 1983. Stevenson said:

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"I thought, 'This could really work. I won't be bored with this person, and she won't be bored with me.'"

Actress Kirstie Alley and actor Parker Stevenson at the Screening of ABC's Made-for-Television Movie "Divorce Wars: A Love Story" on February 12, 1982. | Source: Getty Images

Actress Kirstie Alley and actor Parker Stevenson at the Screening of ABC's Made-for-Television Movie "Divorce Wars: A Love Story" on February 12, 1982. | Source: Getty Images

According to Smith, a friend of theirs, the relationship was "beautiful at the beginning" because they enjoyed teasing and challenging each other.

One time, they even jumped into a pool fully clothed, and when he asked them if they were "crazy," their answer was yes.

Before her wedding to Stevenson, Alley had already been married once. Her first marriage was to Bob Alley in 1970, and it lasted seven years before they parted ways. After him, she remained single for years until she met Stevenson in 1981.

THE TROUBLES IN PARADISE

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Actress Kirstie Alley at the Centre Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre presents the "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" preview play performance on August 1, 1983 at the Mark Taper Forum, Music Center in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actress Kirstie Alley at the Centre Theatre Group/Ahmanson Theatre presents the "Cat on a Hot Tin Roof" preview play performance on August 1, 1983 at the Mark Taper Forum, Music Center in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

When Stevenson decided to take things further with Alley, he was prepared for the fun and excitement she would bring into his life, or so he thought.

But, among the pair, the actress was the most unconventional, and it was a glaring difference between them. She blamed her weight gain on her spontaneity as a person. Stevenson once recalled when he walked into their mansion in Encino, California, to meet a chicken in their bed.

She had argued that she had no idea he would be home that night, but as far as he was concerned, the animal had no business in their bed whether or not he would be using it that night.

Parker Stevenson And Kirstie Alley at The Great Coldwater Canyon Chili Cook-Off for the Benefit of St. Michael's School of Los Angeles, circa 1988 | Source: Getty Images

Parker Stevenson And Kirstie Alley at The Great Coldwater Canyon Chili Cook-Off for the Benefit of St. Michael's School of Los Angeles, circa 1988 | Source: Getty Images

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Their mansion in Encino had 32 bedrooms, and it also served as a haven for Alley's pet animals which included a lot of dogs, cats, possums, geese, and many more critters.

Then, one day, her husband returned home, and the chicken had been replaced by a chimp swinging around on their bedposts.

As their marriage matured, the pair started looking into having kids. When Alley eventually got pregnant, they lost the baby in a miscarriage.

Actor Parker Stevenson and actress Kirstie Alley attend the Hollywood Walk of Fame Star Ceremony for Kirstie Alley on November 9, 1995 at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actor Parker Stevenson and actress Kirstie Alley attend the Hollywood Walk of Fame Star Ceremony for Kirstie Alley on November 9, 1995 at 7000 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images

After that, they opted for adoption even though the actress publicly stated that they would keep trying to have a child naturally. They adopted their first child, William, in 1992, and their second was a girl named Lillie.

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She joined the family two years after William, but their marriage had started to unravel by then. Dissent between them climaxed in late 1996, but even though it led to their separation, the two did not file for divorce until a few months had passed.

They filed separately, but they both cited irreconcilable differences, and while their legal representatives battled, Stevenson went radio silent, allowing the media to run wild with their speculations. There were even rumors that they were gay, but Stevenson denied the claims when he finally spoke up.

Kirstie Alley of "Fat Actress" with family during Showtime TCA Press Tour Party - Red Carpet at Universal Studios. | Source: Getty Images

Kirstie Alley of "Fat Actress" with family during Showtime TCA Press Tour Party - Red Carpet at Universal Studios. | Source: Getty Images

Contrary to the published rumors, not a lot had gone wrong between Stevenson and Alley except for the same contrast in their personality that first drew them to each other.

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Even Alley once admitted that there had been no infidelity in their marriage, and they had only chosen to end things because they had different goals. In her words:

"There was no infidelity in my marriage, on either side….There was nothing other than maybe different goals in life."

Actress Kirstie Alley with children William True and Lillie Price at the premiere of "The Runaways" at Landmark Sunshine Cinema in New York City on March 17, 2010. | Source: Getty Images

Actress Kirstie Alley with children William True and Lillie Price at the premiere of "The Runaways" at Landmark Sunshine Cinema in New York City on March 17, 2010. | Source: Getty Images

After they split up, the two moved on with their lives, and Stevenson continued to wish Alley well because he knew that her being happy was good for their kids.

When he broke his silence on the topic of their divorce, which stretched on for two years before it was finalized, the actor called it an "ugly" process.

Actress Kirstie Alley and her daughter, Lillie Price Stevenson, at the Duke Of Edinburgh's International Award and Young Americans' Challenge Benefit Gala at The Pierre Hotel on June 23, 2011 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

Actress Kirstie Alley and her daughter, Lillie Price Stevenson, at the Duke Of Edinburgh's International Award and Young Americans' Challenge Benefit Gala at The Pierre Hotel on June 23, 2011 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images

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It is not difficult to see why he thought so because it lasted more than a year and demanded complex negotiations over issues like who got custody and who was paying child support. Indeed, by the time it was all concluded, Stevenson and Alley had lost their friendship. He said:

"Kirstie and I are not friends now but we talk regularly about the kids. Will we be friends someday? I don't know."

Since their split, Stevenson and Alley have rarely been seen together publicly, even though they continue to co-parent their two kids. Some think this is because their careers took them down different parts, but only they will ever know.

LIFE AFTER DIVORCE

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After their marriage ended, Alley cemented her role as a top-notch entertainer in Hollywood, but Stevenson opted to further his career behind the camera directing TV series. He spent more time polishing his photography skills, a skill he was always passionate about.

On what he loves most about it, Stevenson once claimed that it was his mode of expression. He has since become an expert in the field and has been known to attend conventions and sell some of his pictures.

The actor is happy to be single and has made his peace with his divorce from Alley. On the other hand, Alley moved on with James Wilder in 1997, but even though they got as far as the engagement stage, the relationship was a flop, and it ended that same year.

 Kirstie Alley arrives at the Premiere Of Quiver Distribution's "The Fanatic" at the Egyptian Theatre on August 22, 2019 in Hollywood, California.| Source: Getty Images

Kirstie Alley arrives at the Premiere Of Quiver Distribution's "The Fanatic" at the Egyptian Theatre on August 22, 2019 in Hollywood, California.| Source: Getty Images

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She also once confessed how much she loved John Travolta and how long it took her to get over her romantic attraction to him. According to her, she would have married him had she not already been married.

Later on, Alley started dealing with weight issues, and she blamed her weight gain on her spontaneity as a person.

She once confessed that she indulged in a lot of eating because it was hard to make plans when she was being "wined and dined" at every turn.

Parker Stevenson at the 30th Anniversary of "Baywatch" at the Viceroy Hotel on September 24, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. | Source: Getty Images

Parker Stevenson at the 30th Anniversary of "Baywatch" at the Viceroy Hotel on September 24, 2019 in Santa Monica, California. | Source: Getty Images

Thanks to her lifestyle, her bad eating behavior was encouraged, and even though she knew it was not healthy, she believed it was a good thing to let herself enjoy what she referred to as "holidays." Eventually, she started working on getting it all under control, but the journey was not an easy one.

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She kept at it, but her weight fluctuated between plump and slim until 2018, when she was diagnosed with Lyme disease, which led to even more weight gain.

Fortunately, it did not make her give up because, according to her, she loves being on the thinner side, where she has more energy.

The talented actress and her ex-husband, Stevenson, may have chosen different paths in life, but one thing that will continue to unite them is their kids. In 2016, they became grandparents when their son, William, welcomed his first child, Waylon Tripp Parker.

Alley was very excited about the milestone and announced it on Twitter, where she triggered an outpour of good wishes from her well-meaning fans.

Her relationship with Stevenson may have ended terribly; however, they can both agree that what came out of it was not all bad.

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