celebrity

Suzanne Somers Dishes On How She’s Kept Her Marriage Going Strong For 40 Years

by Angela Andaloro

Suzanne Somers may still be best known for her role as Chrissy Snow in Three’s Company. In her own life, however, she’s found that two is the magic number.

The two in question are Suzanne herself and her second husband, Alan Hamel. Suzanne met Alan on the set of a game show called Anniversary Game. Suzanne was a prize model, and Alan was the host.

Despite the 10-year age difference between them, they hit it off instantly. The couple dated for nearly a decade. Throughout that time, Suzanne navigated the new relationship and its intricacies, as well as the struggles she carried from earlier in her life. In 1977, they got married, as they remain today.

It’s no secret that a decades-long marriage is hard to come by in Hollywood. Suzanne and Alan are happy as ever and have no problem sharing how they got to that happy place. That’s part of the reason why Suzanne thought to compile her secrets to a long and happy marriage into a book. The result is Two’s Company: A Fifty-Year Romance With Lessons Learned in Love, Life & Business.

suzanne somers headshot

Suzanne Somers had a rough go of things early on in life. Suzanne grew up with an alcoholic father who was regularly verbally abusive toward her. He prophesized his daughter would do little more in life than become a mother.

At 19, Suzanne married Bruce Somers after finding out she was pregnant. In November 1965, she had son Bruce Jr. By 1968, her marriage was over. Suzanne found herself trying to get by as a single mother in dire circumstances.

suzanne somers alan hamel 1978

She was trying to make it as an actress and a poet when she scored a job as a prize model on Anniversary Game. There, she met the love of her life, Alan Hamel. The connection was instant despite the fact Alan was 10 years her senior.

suzanne somers alan hamel National Association of Television Program Executives 1978

The two dated for years as they navigated some difficult issues. Suzanne was still trying to work past the trauma she incurred from her father’s abuse. The two also worked to blend their families. Alan had two children from a previous marriage in addition to Suzanne’s son.

Suzanne and Alan married in 1977, just as her star began taking off. She was cast as Chrissy Snow in Three’s Company that January. Alan was by her side as she learned how to navigate her newfound fame. He also supported her when she decided to push to be paid on par with major male actors in 1980, which ultimately led to her departure from the show.

While Suzanne acknowledges that their first 10 years together were rough, she learned a lot along the way. Those lessons are what she discusses in Two’s Company: A Fifty-Year Romance With Lessons Learned in Love, Life & Business.

She shared some of her keys to success in marriage on Today. “Give each other a lot of attention,” Suzanne suggested. “And in a good marriage, you want to give the other a lot of attention. He takes care of me in the morning. He makes me coffee and it’s really, really great coffee.”

She also emphasized the importance of date night, which is practically every night for her and Alan. “And then at night, we often date. And we’ll share a tequila,” she explained. “Sometimes we dance. And then I make him a great dinner, and I always light candles, and I just keep the romance in our relationship.”

When arguments do happen, it’s best not to go in with guns blazing. Suzanne recalls how a therapist taught her a constructive way of arguing. “Many years ago, I had a therapist who taught me how to argue. So here’s what you do: You never start any sentence with ‘you always,’ ‘you never’ or ‘you should.’ That’s like backing the other person into the corner, and they have no choice but to strike,” she noted.

Changing your approach can make a big difference in the outcome. “So, here’s how you do it effectively. ‘When you do this, it makes me feel that,'” Suzanne suggests. “Try it — it works every time, and you just won’t fight, because then the other person says, ‘Well, I didn’t mean to make you feel like that.’ And then you get a real ‘I’m sorry.'”

As business partners and life partners, Suzanne and Alan spend a lot of time together. The actress claims they haven’t spent a night apart in 37 years. “Some people say ‘Oh my gosh, I’d go nuts. I’d feel smothered,'” she acknowledged. “But we’re business partners also, so it never begins, it never ends, whether it’s business or life or love or friends. I know it’s weird. I miss him if he’s in the other room, and vice versa. We’re probably like those birds that pair up forever.”

Then there’s intimacy, which is a bigger factor in some marriages than others. Following comments from Miley Cyrus about sex lives dying after 40, Suzanne spoke out about how that isn’t the case for her and Alan. She told The Talk that she and Alan still have sex multiple times a day.

“He’s on hormones and I’m on hormones,” she shyly explained. “I’m going to be so sorry I said that. What is it about men at four in the morning? And then I’m really awake around eight or so. We have busy mornings.”

It’s these little things that have helped Suzanne and Alan enjoy a wonderful and happy marriage. Through thick and thin, including her battle with cancer and her dive into the world of alternative medicine, he has supported her 100%.