Patricia Heaton Worked This Unique Musical Side Gig Before She Hit It Big on ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’

Before becoming a household name, actor Patricia Heaton did what most struggling artists do: work temp jobs, modeling shoes, and just about any legal work that would pay the bills.

Find out about the tuneful employment she relied on before becoming Debra Barone that kept a song in her heart and the collectors at bay.

Patricia Heaton
Patricia Heaton | John Shearer/WireImage

Patricia Heaton admits Debra Barone was ‘a horrible homemaker’

In speaking about her Everybody Loves Raymond character stay-at-home mom Debra Barone’s bad traits, the actor was blunt.

“Sneaky, manipulative, she had a lot of the traits that Marie [Debra’s mother-in-law, played by Doris Roberts] had. . . .,” Heaton said. “She was always a little bit angry that [Ray] couldn’t read her mind, that he wasn’t sensitive and everything he tried fell apart.”

As for Debra Barone as a cook and housekeeper?

“Debra was such a horrible homemaker! That was what was so wonderful about her, was that she couldn’t cook and a lot of time with the kids was like, whatever. I think she tried but she was just like every mom, she’d had it up to here with everything.”

Heaton sang for her supper

In a 2003 conversation with A&E’s Biography, Heaton’s brother, Michael, opened up about a musical job his sister undertook while waiting for her big acting break to come.

“She was a singing waitress,” he said, “at some Italian restaurant where between orders she was supposed to sing either Broadway show tunes or opera songs, I forget.”

Michael recalled having to come to his sister’s aid at one point when the manager of the restaurant was sexually harassing Patricia.

RELATED: Patricia Heaton Reveals How She Would Portray Debra Barone on ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ Today

“The manager of the restaurant was getting fresh with her,” Michael recalled. “I had to go down there and punch the guy out.”

Patricia told Biography that, out of work and out of options, she eventually caught herself doing something on the city streets that she had, until that point, looked down on.

“I remember walking down the street and I was talking to myself. Out loud. And I was saying, ‘What am I gonna do?'”

Horrified, she realized, “I’m one of those people walking down the street and talking to themselves in New York City! How low can you go?”

Patricia Heaton’s now working on her second act

It’s been decades since Heaton had to wonder where her next check might be coming from. Although her 2019 sitcom, Carol’s Second Act, was cancelled, she rebounded with a motivational book titled, Your Second Act.

The book features 14 encouraging accounts of different people from different backgrounds who took risks to start over with new beginnings.

Heaton told AARP in July, “I write about taking a painting class and the mental hoops I had to jump through to finish, because the other women were so great.

“The teacher came up to me and said, ‘Wow, you’re a messy painter.’ I had paint on my face and my clothes. But you can’t worry about what others think when you’re starting a second act.”