Delta Burke looks back on 'Designing Women' exit, and using crystal meth to lose weight

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“Designing Women” alum Delta Burke says her “ugly” acquisition connected nan deed CBS sitcom drove her distant from Los Angeles, and her long-time struggle pinch her weight led her to usage crystal meth to support disconnected nan pounds.

Known for playing nan sassy erstwhile beauty queen Suzanne Sugarbaker connected nan 1980s comedy, Burke opened up for nan first clip successful years connected “Glamorous Trash,” a personage memoir podcast hosted by TV writer and comedian Chelsea Devantez, who revisited Burke’s 1998 book, “Delta Style: Eve Wasn’t a Size 6 and Neither Am I.”

The 67-year-old character told Devantez really she turned to crystal meth to slim down erstwhile she first arrived successful Hollywood. She explained that while she was successful play schoolhouse successful London, a expert gave her pills to thief her suffer weight, but erstwhile she came to nan United States, she didn’t recognize that nan “Black Beauties” that she had been prescribed were forbidden stateside.

“They were for illustration medicine to me: return them successful nan greeting truthful you won’t eat. It wasn’t a recreational thing. After you build up a tolerance to thing and it wasn’t moving anymore,” she said, explaining that nan Black Beauties yet stopped moving for her and that she had to commencement utilizing thing else.

“Nobody knew astir crystal meth astatine nan time,” she added, and a trader who had antecedently obtained nan Black Beauties for her introduced her to nan caller supplier and told her to chop it up and “snort” it. But she didn’t consciousness comfortable pinch that management of nan narcotic, truthful she put it successful her cranberry juice and drank it instead.

The “Women of nan House” and “What Women Want” prima said she would portion a solid earlier going to activity connected nan early 1980s sitcom “Filthy Rich,” and past she “wouldn’t eat for 5 days.”

“And they were still saying, ‘Your butt’s excessively big. Your legs are excessively big,’” Burke said. “And I now look backmost astatine those pictures and go, ‘I was a freaking goddess.’”

The erstwhile Miss America contestant explained that “the look” of nan clip was Diane Keaton successful “Annie Hall,” and she was encouraged to dress for illustration nan bladed Oscar victor for auditions. But, she said, she “had bosom and hips and awesome curves” that didn’t adhere to beauty standards of nan era, lamenting that nan property treated serial killers “kinder than if you put connected immoderate weight.”

The Emmy-nominated prima endured a media maelstrom complete her fig during her later tally connected “Designing Women.” She was besides hounded by fans who perpetually asked her if she was pregnant. At 1 point, she said a personification flung unfastened her overgarment and said, “Let’s see, really fat are ya?”

“I’m truthful bully astatine debased self-esteem and self-loathing — I’ve really sewage that down — truthful erstwhile I commencement getting down astir getting aged and ‘I’m excessively fat’ and whatever, [my husband] Mac will punctual maine — and I’ll effort to punctual maine — that successful different twelvemonth you’re going to look backmost astatine this and spell ‘whoa, I was looking beautiful good.’

“I did look backmost astatine that and I recognize I was beautiful, I was gorgeous, and cipher said that. All they said was what a pig I was and this that and nan other, which fed into my insecurities. I wish I had known — I wish that each young female could cognize — she is beautiful. She’s sewage powerfulness and she doesn’t cognize because they don’t want you to cognize it.”

Burke said she was “emotionally fragile” and ever struggled pinch her weight while doing nan show, which ran connected CBS from 1986 to 1993. Much of that was written into nan series, including successful nan touchstone section “They Shoot Fat Women, Don’t They?” Burke exited nan bid successful a tumult pinch producers and abuse allegations, and aft her action wasn’t picked up. She was trailed soon by co-star Jean Smart, who went connected to “Hacks” fame.

“I thought I was stronger. I tried very difficult to take sides myself against lies and each nan ugliness that was there, and I wasn’t gonna win. I’m conscionable an actress, you know. I don’t person immoderate power,” she said. “I retrieve connected nan set, erstwhile it sewage to beryllium really bad, and I wasn’t handling it good pinch a smiling face, my full assemblage connection changed. I would benignant of hunch complete ... and I conscionable tried to disappear.”

Burke said she had a breakdown and was hospitalized arsenic early arsenic nan 2nd play and said she didn’t want to spell backmost to activity connected nan series. So writer and co-creator Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, whom she worked pinch connected “Filthy Rich,” agreed to constitute her “light” and thief her characteristic grow.

“It sewage disfigured and very sad,” she said, and things grew contentious betwixt them (“basically we tried to termination each other,” she said) moreover though they reunited later successful different series.

“We do ‘Designing Women,’ and I’m truthful happy to beryllium there,” she said. “I emotion everything. But past things started to change, which I won’t spell into. But that mixed pinch becoming famous, that I simply couldn’t header with, and I wanted to time off and I wasn’t allowed to leave.”

Burke said she didn’t cognize what would person happened if she had been allowed to time off nan series, but staying came pinch a fewer benefits: She loved seeing Suzanne germinate during her five-season run, embodying “an astonishing characteristic to get to play, turn older and fatter with.” She besides wouldn’t person met her hubby of 35 years: “Simon and Simon,” “Major Dad” and “This is Us” prima Gerald McRaney, who appeared successful nan series.

“Sometimes I wonder, would I person been happier if I hadn’t done nan show, but nan point is, I don’t cognize if I would person had a profession aliases go good known for this fabulous character, but I wouldn’t person met Mac. So it was worthy anything, immoderate went down that was bad, it was worthy [it] and we’re truthful happy to beryllium here. “

“It conscionable sewage excessively overmuch for me, it sewage excessively ugly. The joyousness of acting near me. I was stunned, that’s what I am, I’m an actress, that’s what I identified [as] since 12 aliases 13. That really threw me, but it had been ruined by nan ugliness that goes unluckily pinch a batch of nan business. I had removed myself from nationalist life. “

That removal meant she wouldn’t travel her hubby to nationalist events because she couldn’t put up pinch nan “nonsense” that came on pinch it.

“I knew that I conscionable wanted to extremity truthful that’s what I did and [I] sewage retired of L.A.,” she said, moving to Florida pinch her hubby during nan COVID-19 pandemic. “In our 3rd act, I get to beryllium successful a spot that makes maine truthful happy. I don’t deliberation I’ve ever been this happy aliases content... I emotion my life genuinely for nan first clip and I emotion him desperately. I cognize that I americium safe and I’m loved. I didn’t consciousness that there.”

Unfortunately, she said, she ne'er recovered thing imaginative to switch acting.

“So I’m conscionable being maine and I’m stuck successful Hollywood. I was trying to beryllium supportive to Mac and he was truthful awesome and accepting that I can’t spell retired location pinch [him] anymore because that intends nan adjacent time there’s going to beryllium disfigured pictures each complete nan net pinch disfigured stories and I can’t grip it. He was good pinch that. And you’re getting older and you didn’t want to dice successful L.A. He’s from Mississippi and it’s benignant of for illustration salmon swimming upstream, and I retrieve getting successful nan car and I could smell nan world and I was home.”

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Source latimes
latimes