Suzanne Somers’s Husband Was There for Her in a Major Way After She Got Fired From ‘Three’s Company’

The actress explains in detail what went down in 1980.

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Apart from her ever-growing collection of self-help books, Suzanne Somers is perhaps best-known for playing Chrissy Snow on the late ’70s ABC sitcom Three’s Company. But what many fans don’t realize is that while Suzanne undoubtedly helped make the show a booming success, the then-34-year-old actress was fired from the sitcom in 1980, over a pay dispute.

As Suzanne tells GoodHousekeeping.com: “My contract was up [for] year six and [as I] renegotiated, it became aware that the men were making 10 to 15 times more than me, and I thought, ‘I’m on the number-one show, are the men on lesser shows worth 10 to 15 times more?’ So, I was fired for asking, ’cause they wanted to make an example.”

She added, “They couldn’t have done it today, but that was the climate back then.”

Suzanne had asked for a pay hike from $30,000 per episode to $150,000 — which, apparently, was what the network was paying Suzanne’s co-star John Ritter, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She also wanted 10% of the show’s profits.

ABC, however, only offered Suzanne a $5,000 raise. Meanwhile, it’s believed that MASH‘s Alan Alda and All in the Family’s Carroll O’Connor were being paid way more, despite being on shows with lower ratings. Eventually, Suzanne’s contract was terminated. The show ran for three more seasons without her.

But Suzanne tells us that her husband Alan Hamel supported her in a big way after the ordeal. The author describes Alan, whom she married in 1977, as “the Johnny Carson of Canada” at the time. The Canadian game show host appeared on several syndicated programs in the ’60s, including Anniversary Game. He even scored his own daytime show called The Alan Hamel Show. But on the day Suzanne needed him, he put all of that aside for her.

“My husband took me by the shoulders after that meeting, and I was very distraught and he said, ‘We’re going to make this work for us.’ And he gave up his career in Canada to take over my career and our business,” she says. “What is truly remarkable is, he’s never looked back.”

Reflecting on the experience now at 73, Suzanne chooses to view her dismissal as a blessing in disguise.

“Did I like being fired? No, but maybe that was a veiled gift, also,” she explains. “Maybe all the negatives in life are truly opportunities if you choose to look at it that way.”

Looking ahead, Suzanne is excited for 2020. On January 7, she will release her 27th book called A New Way to Age: The Most Cutting-Edge Advances in Anti-Aging. In it, she hopes to inspire women to look at the aging process differently, from overall health to sex — the latter of which Suzanne is particularly open about.

“I’m in my 70s, he [my husband]’s in his early 80s, we’re both very sexual with each other. I talk about it, and it makes some people mad,” she explains. “But I want other people to know, ‘No, it’s not over.’ Just ’cause you’re 80, it doesn’t mean it’s over.”

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