'Happily Divorced's' Fran Drescher: How I Turned Real-Life Divorce Into TV Land Comedy

Fran Drescher Happily Divorced Portrait 2011
TV Land

Fran Drescher Happily Divorced Portrait 2011

The sitcom, which debuts Wednesday, is inspired by the split and her ex-husband's revelation that he is gay.


Fran Drescher's role in the new TV Land sitcom Happily Divorced is a very personal one for her: The show is inspired by her real-life divorce.

Drescher was married to her high school sweetheart, Peter Marc Jacobson -- together they were behind her hit comedy The Nanny -- for several years before the two divorced. Afterward, Jacobson -- an exec producer on Happily Divorced -- revealed to her that he was gay.

VIDEO: 'Happily Divorced' Preview: Fran Drescher 'Excited' by New Project 

Happily Divorced takes those real-life events and tweaks them: For example, in the show, Fran's husband (John Michael Higgins) reveals that he's gay whie they are in bed, just after having sex. They agree to keep living together because he can't afford to move out. She then begins dating, while he explores life as a newly out gay man.

"It's not totally our story," Drescher told the Los Angeles Times. "There's a lot of creative license here because we want to create situations and a comedy that will last for at least five years. We're always referring to our personal lives, and we write about what we know."

Still, Drescher acknowledges that the real-life events were an inspiration, and she loves that she's playing a character she obviously can relate to so well.

"I really love the fact that this show is about something, that it's purposeful and contemporary and speaks to the true meaning of love," Drescher said. "I love The Nanny, but it's very exciting to be playing someone a little closer to myself."

Happily Divorced premieres at 10:30 p.m. Wednesday.