Fran Drescher is probably best known for her role on The Nanny, but there is a lot more to her than that iconic laugh. Drescher's experiences in life have actually made her a strong role model for women everywhere, and her story is something everyone should know.
Before Drescher reached a new level of fame with the 1993 hit sitcom The Nanny, she experienced a traumatic event that would leave a lot of people scarred. She managed to make it through and make the best of a bad situation and wants to help other women do the same.
Drescher was the victim of a home invasion in 1985. Two men broke into her Los Angeles apartment, tying up Descher's now ex-husband Peter Marc Jacobson. Drescher and a female friend who was in the house at the time were raped at gun point by one of the attackers while Jacobson was forced to watch.
Jacobson said "we were home, having dinner with a friend. They broke the door down — it was locked. You try to live, you try to get through it alive. The police said, ‘Whatever you did, you did it right, because you’re alive."
Drescher didn't go public with her experiences until 1996, when she released her memoir "Enter Whining". She detailed the events and how she managed to survive and how she has been recovering.
She hadn't realized the impact that her sharing this experience would have...
After her book was released and people learned about what she went through, Drescher quickly realized that women everywhere were relating to her story.
“There were women that asked me to sign that particular chapter,” she said. “I thought if people could see where I went from that low point to where I am now, maybe it’ll help and inspire other women, and men for that matter, who have been sexually assaulted to move on — to feel your pain, and then try and pick up the pieces and put yourself back together.”
“You’ll never be the same, but whatever that is, then forge forward with that and turn your pain into purpose, which is what I always do,” she said.
Descher and Jacobson had a lot of healing to do after the events. Jacobson entered therapy and shortly after realized that he was actually gay. The couple separated in 1996, but have since reconnected as friends. “He thought he was [bisexual],” Drescher said. “But he was too controlling for me … and I just felt like a bird in a gilded cage. Then in hindsight he realized that he was controlling because he was controlling himself, and I gave him his freedom to explore his true orientation. Once he was able to do that, then he became more relaxed in his life.”
Descher believes that her experience had another impact in her life. She was diagnosed with uterine cancer over 10 years after the event. She feels like there is a "poetic correlation" between the attack and her disease.
"That, I think, is a poetic correlation, because I really didn’t deal with my pain for many, many, many years with the rape,” she said. “So when you don’t do that … I mean, I ended up with a gynecological cancer. So it kind of ends up being very poetic in where the body decides to break down and create disease.”
“That was one of the silver linings,” said Drescher. “There’s always silver linings to even the darkest clouds. And us becoming friends again and moving into a new relationship [was one of them].”
Descher has created an organization to try and help others find their silver linings. It is called Cancer Schmancer and helps raise awareness for early detection programs.
Descher is lucky to have survived the whole ordeal, and it's amazing that she has taken such positive steps moving forward.