Here you are. In Kelsey's own words. Without Camille, he wouldn't have had anything. Also, you have no idea how much she contributed to his career in the background. Like other managers, agents. You don't see them, but they are there.
I'm a very lucky man
I’m an addictive personality,” Kelsey Grammer says. “I was addicted to danger and dangerous girls, and it took me to things that were very destructive for me.”
Kelsey Grammer, 52, battled substance abuse, failed marriages and other troubles during his rise to fame on the hit TV shows Cheers and Frasier. His new comedy series, Back to You, premieres Sept. 19 on Fox TV.
“I liked the addictions,” he tells me. “I’m not going to lie about it. But I got in too deep. I probably would’ve died if I hadn’t stopped.”
Kelsey Grammer and I sit in the sunroom of his elegant country house outside New York City, one of four luxurious homes that he owns with his third wife, Camille Donatacci, 38, a sometime Playboy model. They have a 2-year-old son, Jude, and a daughter, Mason, 5.
“I’ve been through my share of tough times,” says Grammer. “I’m a very different guy now.”
Family misfortunes occurred at a young age. When Kelsey was just 12, his grandfather suddenly died, and a year later, his dad, Allen, the owner of a small magazine on the island of St. Thomas, was shot to death.
“Those early losses took a big bite out of any joy,” he says. “But they helped me understand that we’ve only got a limited time, so you can’t yield to anxieties or even to tragedies. Giving up was not an option. You persevere.”
At 18, Grammer left his family’s home in Pompano Beach, Fla., to study drama at the prestigious Juilliard School in New York. But he was expelled for skipping too many classes.
And then another tragedy struck that would change his life. In the summer of 1975, his sister, Karen Grammer , was abducted in Colorado Springs, raped and slashed. Abandoned, she bled to death. She was 18.
Kelsey went to Colorado and brought his little sister’s body home to Pompano Beach for burial. Her death opened an emotional hole he found impossible to close. “I was young, 20. It was very hard,” he quietly tells me. “I was disconsolate. I tried to understand why people I loved died. Why did they have to suffer? There is no uplifting answer.
“Recently, I got news that the man who did this to Karen is now eligible for parole,” he continues. “There is a hearing sometime later this year that I will attend. I am angry about him. I never had the opportunity to speak for my sister before. I will now.”
The horror of his sister’s death led Grammer to heavy alcohol and drug abuse. “It was probably the catalyst that got me into a really big problem for at least the next 15 years,” he says.
Grammer returned to New York and supported himself by painting apartments until he began to land acting jobs in regional theater on both coasts. At 29, he was cast as the pompous but good-hearted psychiatrist Dr. Frasier Crane on Cheers. He stayed on TV for nine seasons. The popular show led to the 1993 spin-off Frasier, where he starred for an additional 11 seasons and ended up winning four Emmys.
Despite his professional success, his drinking worsened, and he experimented with a variety of drugs, including Ecstasy, Valium and cocaine. He was arrested twice and later served 90 days house arrest and three years probation as part of his sentencing.
The despair that drove his drug and alcohol use led Grammer into destructive relationships. “ I’m attracted to threshold experiences—to chaos, insanity, mayhem,” he says, “so I was drawn to women who were dramatic, emotional and unpredictable, with great sexual energy. I liked surprises. I liked women who could be demonstrative, demanding, socially unacceptable. While I was dealing with those desires, I was also trying to reconcile how I was actually living my life with how I thought my life should be lived—the traditional idea of a normal existence with a wife, a family.”
In 1982, he married dancer Doreen Alderman. They had a daughter, Spencer, now 23, who is starring in Greek, a series on the ABC Family channel about a college campus. The marriage lasted two years. “We tried therapy at one point, and the doctor just looked at us and said: ‘You guys don’t have a chance.’”
He went on to other partners—including makeup artist Barrie Buckner, with whom he had his second daughter, Greer, now 15. There also was a long love affair with former professional ice skater Cerlette Lamme, a tumultuous nine-month marriage to an exotic dancer and a two-year engagement to model Tammi Baliszewski.
“I have always been a monogamist,” he asserts without irony. “One woman at a time. I never went into a new relationship while I was in a marriage.”
His serial monogamy ended in 1996 when he fell in love with Camille Donatacci at a dinner with his agent in New York.
“It was love at first sight,” he says, “but I was scared. I’d been with girls before who I believed were right for me, and it turned out I was wrong. I was afraid of making another mistake, another failed marriage. But, corny as it sounds, I think Camille saw in me a great guy who needed love. It takes a lot of courage to love. Isn’t that why we’re here—to love, regardless of the cost? She decided to give me love.”
In 1996, with Camille’s support, Kelsey entered the Betty Ford Center in Rancho Mirage, Calif., and started straightening out his tangled life. He has been sober ever since. The next year, he and Camille wed. “We take care of each other equally. That’s something new for me.”
In 2004, Camille was treated for a painful, chronic gastrointestinal disorder. “She nearly died,” he tells me. “She picked up something while in Italy and was hospitalized for weeks. It was horrible. Camille was given last rites. I quit working for two years because she was so sick. But she is so much better now. Camille is everything to me.”
He smiles, adding, “I am a very lucky man. Somehow, love just came out of the world toward me, and with it, a sense of fulfillment and joy. ”
The Gov cannot give anything to anyone - that they have not first taken away from someone else.
Edited by 1966Gal (01/27/11 03:39 PM)