Patricia Heaton’s Surprising Job Choice If She’d Failed As An Actress

It’s hard to imagine Patricia Heaton in any other line of work other than ‘actress.’ Heaton has been working as an actress since 1989 and hasn’t stopped.

Patricia Heaton
Patricia Heaton | John Shearer/WireImage

We’ve known her most famously in the role of Debra, stay-at-home wife and mom to three young children on CBS’ Everybody Loves Raymond, after which she played Frankie Heck, hard-working wife and mother with three jobs and kids to match on ABC’s The Middle, and now she has returned to CBS in the title role on Carol’s Second Act. In her latest role, she’s an empty-nester mom finally following her dream to be a doctor, as a 50-plus-year-old.

Recently, Heaton shared the profession she imagines she would be in had her attempts at becoming an actress failed. Find out what that is, as well as what the actress has been up to lately.

Heaton has acted from personal experience

As the mother of four boys, Heaton has borrowed from her personal experience in her acting. She told Entertainment Weekly more about it.

“I’ve had the privilege of playing a mother in different stages of life. Carol is an empty nester who’s creating a second act for herself and discovering her true passion. That’s really exciting.”

She jokingly told Today in 2018, When you’re playing a mom on TV, people think you’re funny and smart. They bring you water and they bring you food and if you don’t like the food, they take it back and they change it for you.”

Patricia Heaton with her son, Joseph

“When you’re a mom in real life it’s the exact opposite of that. You bring everybody else food. If they don’t like it you make you something else. You drive everybody else around. And, yeah, nobody thinks you’re smart or funny at home, even if you’ve won Emmys for your incredible humor, they don’t think so.”

Her work with World Vision

Heaton has been partnering with the charity World Vision. The organization focuses on feeding hungry children around the world.

“I love that 85 percent of donations go directly to helping people,” she told Entertainment Weekly recently. “We want to know that our dollars are really making a difference and not just going to run an office. These funds are actually going to help build schools and clean-water pumps.”

“Because they go into these areas for 12-15 years, when a crisis happens, they are most likely already there on the ground able to immediately start impacting and affecting any crisis that comes along,” she said.

The job Heaton would be doing if she’d tanked as an actress

It’s clear that Heaton has given this situation a great deal of thought. What would have been her back-up plan if she hadn’t become Debra Barone, the role that set her career in motion? She opened up to World Vision earlier this year, revealing her heart for helping out others.

“When I first moved to California from New York around 1990, I wasn’t getting many acting auditions. So, one of the first things I did was go to Mexico to help out in an orphanage outside of Tijuana. We spent a weekend repairing a sewage system, laying down a lawn, and throwing a party for the kids there.”

“Before that time, I’d been completely focused on acting and success, but after spending time at the orphanage, I came back completely changed.”

Patricia Heaton with her former castmates from ‘The Middle’ raising money for her work with World Vision

Heaton considered a career in missions work, that’s how moved she was by working with the children at the orphanage.

She continued, “On my trip to Rwanda, I realized that God, in his goodness, hadn’t asked me to choose between those two doors. He’d opened the missionary door after all. He allowed me to have my acting career, which I love, but also to use it to help people.”

Read more: Will There Be An ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’ Reboot?