Fran Drescher Is in a Relationship With Herself—And Here's Why 'It’s Going Quite Well'

Courtesy of Parade

In life and work, Fran Drescher says she’s reached the realization that “life is just too short to spend time with people you don’t enjoy.” It’s why her new show, Indebted, which features a cast and crew she adores, was the right fit for her. And it’s how she recently has found love—with herself.

The star of The Nanny, Happily Divorced and now Indebted; producer; author; and survivor of cancer, violent crime and two divorces, says she’s learned to push herself—and be proud of being an independent woman. Now after considerable success, she’s celebrating her relationship with herself. “For me to find myself at a time in my life where I’m truly happy by myself, in my life, in my home, with my friends, my family, and my dog, and happy in my own skin, it’s a new dimension to this experience called life,” Drescher exclusively told

She wasn’t always this comfortable being alone. “At another point in my life, if I was home, I had to stay on the phone all the time because I really didn’t want to be alone,” she shared.

But today she relishes her own company. “I’m finally at peace,” the 62-year-old explained. “I am comfortable being by myself and I can totally appreciate days when I’ve had enough of being surrounded by people. Sometimes I just want to spend quiet time at home.”

She added that with meditation, therapy and the love of family and friends, she has done a great deal of work on herself. “I’ve faced my fears and I’ve really tried to fix what was broken. The more you are aware of being present, the more you can slow life down and it doesn’t phase you when the years go by because you weren’t in your head in the past or the future, you were there every minute,” she said.

With Valentine’s Day around the corner, Drescher is proud to say that she’s happily single. “I am a 62-year-old woman who for the first time is really an independent woman and very proud of myself,” she said. “I’m not in a relationship with someone right now because I really love the feeling of being by myself and enjoying it, without fear or feeling like I’ve got to meet someone. I don’t have to meet someone. I found myself.”

Her Indebted character, however, is a different story. Drescher plays one half of a couple in financial trouble, who turns the lives of their grown son and his family upside down.

When Debbie (Drescher) and her husband Stew (Steven Weber) show up broke out of the blue, their son Dave (Adam Pally) and his wife Rebecca (Abby Elliott) have no choice but to invite them to move into their home.

The new sitcom created by The Goldberg’s Dan Levy, about how family members can push our buttons one moment and have us hugging the next, premiered last night on NBC.

Drescher spoke to ahead of its premiere about her new character, how she’s spending Valentine’s Day and the plans for The Nanny musical.

How are Fran Fine from The Nanny and Deb from Indebted similar?

I think Deb has a lot of the qualities that we’ve come to love about Fran Fine. There’s a lot of similarities to them. So, I think the audience is going to enjoy that kind of synergy between my most beloved character and this new one.

Why was this show a good fit for your return to primetime TV?

Deb is a very vivacious character, an immature character and a Jewish character. In a million ways, this is something that I feel very comfortable doing. She’s very glamorous; is a clotheshorse; and is also very loving, tactile and nurturing. I love that the show is about family because that is key for me. I love Deb and everyone involved. If there was one bad apple I wouldn’t be there.

I also think that on behalf of a lot of ladies my age, that it’s nice to represented as a hot character that has a strong sexual relationship with her husband that she adores. You don’t really see that on multi-generational sitcoms. As soon as I became part of this project they tailored the character to be the kind of woman that I would want to play.

We love what you recently said about “dating yourself,” what did you mean by that exactly?

I believe that I’m on a journey of self-refinement. The ties that have bound me are the very things that I have to work through. The fears and everything that comes my way, good or bad, is my opportunity on my journey to self-refinement. I try not to be codependent like I was in the past.

In what way?

A lot of my decisions were informed by either being a people-pleaser, being afraid of being alone, or being a caregiver and at the same time, avoiding my problems by giving myself a false sense of having my stuff together because I’m so helpful to everybody else. But because I was the victim of a violent crime, and because I am a cancer survivor, I have been into some major psychotherapy, and because I am a Buddhist, I see everything as opportunities for me to become the best version of myself and to keep aspiring toward that with every turn of events. To say that I’m in a relationship with myself, and it’s going quite well, is really all of the above.

How do you usually spend Valentine’s Day?

Very often, my gay ex-husband Peter [Marc Jacobson] and I will plan to be together. We are still in many ways like a married couple. We are great friends and family and are still in love with each other. But there are other ways to celebrate this day of love. Sometimes I’ve gotten together with all my single girlfriends and the 10 of us fabulously dressed in something red and we went to a beautiful restaurant to celebrate our love for each other. I see Valentine’s Day as a lovely, happy, and joyful holiday and you don’t have to have a mate to celebrate it; you just have to spend time with someone you love.

If you had to downsize and move in with relatives like your character Deb and her husband Stew, how would you handle it?

I wish my parents would move in with me! I love having a family that is tightly knit together. I think that Deb and Stew are wonderful people. I think there’s a reason why our son is so willing to have us live with him and his family. Not that it’s always easy. But we were adoring parents, and we gave them everything that they could have ever wanted as kids

I think in that regard that’s where part of the indebtedness comes from. It’s not a one-way street, it’s both ways. I think they talk about this. Her son got everything that he ever wanted, and now that his parents are in need and in a financial crisis, although in many ways it’s inconvenient, it’s something that he is happy to do.

How would you react to being in Deb’s situation?

I know how to be happy—whether I am rich or poor. I’ve lived both ways and I truly think that the best things in life are free. I really have wrapped my mind around the fact that I might have to downsize one day, and I believe I can live very simply and that I don’t really need a lot of space.

This is one way I am not like Deb because I have high respect for money and for everything that I have earned. I come from very humble beginnings. When I was very young my dad worked two jobs growing up, so I definitely invest my money and I don’t blow it.

This couple is not that way, although I do have friends that are like that. Even at my age they are in a financial bind and it is something that all of their friends forewarned them about for years, but here they are in financial trouble because some people are not wired to think about the future, which includes saving money and investing it.

So, you have been able to adapt to the ebb and flow of your finances?

Exactly. I like to travel in style, but I always anticipate how much it’s going to cost and I make sure that I have just come off a lucrative job or something so I can take a big chunk of savings and splurge, but otherwise, we don’t go. I say “we” because Peter and I often go on holiday together. We’re also not the type of people that define ourselves by how much we can spend or show off to the world. I think it’s a credit to our growth and wisdom and where we are on this journey of life.

What is the one thing that you wouldn’t want to live without?

Good food.

What do you enjoy cooking?

Pasta, salad, homemade dressing, and everything is fresh. The pasta is always changing, but I like making pasta because it’s not a recipe, it’s just creative. I like throwing things in and using what’s in the refrigerator.

Related: 10 Celebrity Women Who Have Survived Cancer

When The Nanny became a hit, did you have any big splurges or go on a lavish vacation?

Well, it’s funny because splurge is the word that my friends who don’t save money always use. And we say it as characters on the show. It’s really a perfect word. Actually, my ex-husband Peter and I invested our money in real estate and art. Yes, we took vacations, but the couple I am part of in the show took out a second mortgage on their house to go on a safari. That’s crazy. But some people think the money’s never going to stop, while I’m always afraid that the money will stop—it’s a completely opposite sensibility.

What gave you the guts to go for The Nanny?

I was not happy being a gun for hire. I felt like I was done working for people that I thought were not as talented as I am, people who were making a lot of mistakes and I was not having any say in it. I promised myself that I had to get on the inside in a big way in like five years or I was going to get out of the business. Because it was too painful for me to be doing something that I had no control over. Once I got that in my head, I manifested it. When the opportunity knocked I recognized it and I went “carpe diem.”

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