Patricia Heaton Spills on Being An Empty Nester and Reinventing Herself in New Book
Patricia Heaton of the CBS sitcom Carol’s Second Act knows a lot about being a mom on and off camera. Playing a mother of three on two long-running series – CBS’ Everybody Loves Raymond and ABC’s The Middle – and mom of four sons in real life, art is once again imitating life where Heaton is playing an empty nester on a new series and also experiencing the same transition on the home front.
In a new book, Heaton shares stories of her own journey through a new phase of life as well as those of others now in their own ‘second acts.’
Her own second act
In Carol’s Second Act, Heaton is getting her own fresh start. For the first time, she is heading the show as both star and executive producer. Playing Carol Kenney, a 50-year-old divorced mom and former teacher who finally pursues her dream of becoming a doctor while working as an intern with peers half her age, Heaton can relate to her character’s phase of life where they are both taking on new roles while in the ’empty nester’ stage.
“What was perfect about it was my kids are pretty much out of the house and my second run in a long-running show was done and I was feeling a bit at sea not knowing what I was doing, not having a job and [wondering], who am I without these things?” she said, according to Entertainment Tonight. “This idea was so perfect. It was a while after The Middle had finished, maybe a year, so I had time to field those feelings that Carol was feeling. And, it’s been interesting to go on this journey with everyone and with Carol and explore that.”
Married to David Hunt since 1990, the couple has four adult sons – David, John, Joseph, and Daniel. Now that her kids are grown, she realizes the importance of sending a message to other women who have raised a family and are ready for a new challenge.
“Carol has gone through a divorce, so that’s different than my life, but it’s really fun not only to continue the journey of my life seeing it somewhat magically reflected in the shows I’m doing,” she told Parade in May. “I think what’s special about Carol’s Second Act is the idea that… after you’ve finished raising your family and maybe you’ve had a career, that you have new opportunity. Instead of spending it as it used to be for women as they got older and faded into insignificance, the fact that we actually have so much to offer because of our age and because of our experience.”
Writing it all down
Heaton recently announced that her new book “Your Second Act: Inspiring Stories of Reinvention,” set to be released in May, will detail many of her personal experiences from starting out in show business to dealing with an empty nest. The book will also tell the stories of many others who decided to pursue their dreams later in life.
“I’m embarking on what I call my second act,” Heaton told People. “I have lived a life beyond my wildest dreams and I’m so grateful. Life wasn’t handed to me on a silver platter by any stretch. I’ve worked hard, skinned my knees, cried my eyes out, regretted, doubted, and second-guessed myself along the way.”
The Everybody Loves Raymond alum shares her journey into her second act and how it has given her a renewed sense of purpose. “For me, handing everything over to God changed my life,” Heaton revealed. “I’ve gone up and down many different paths; looking back, I see how the seed for my second act was clearly planted in my first act. I think you’ll find the same is true for you, too.”
Pursuits outside of showbiz
Heaton also has a newfound purpose as an ambassador for World Vision, a Christian humanitarian organization that helps provide relief and aid for impoverished children, families, and their communities in nearly 100 countries.
“The world needs us, whether you become a volunteer or you join a non-profit or you start a non-profit, or you simply find the time to pursue a passion that you had to put on hold while you made your family,” she told Parade of this stage of life. “So, I think this is just a glorious opportunity to explore all those things, to explore the value of life as you get older, to explore taking chances, to explore pushing beyond your fears into the unknown, and especially as a woman to be able to embrace age and celebrate it.”
“Your Second Act: Inspiring Stories of Reinvention” hits book stands May 5!