Patricia Heaton is celebrating a milestone in her life this month.
On Saturday, July 10, the 63-year-old actor shared in a personal video that she was commemorating three years of sobriety from alcohol. Heaton posted a short clip to Instagram, addressing her followers as she announced her accomplishment while she finished up a three and a half mile walk.
“Hello friends,” she said. “It’s July, where we celebrate our nation’s freedom… also celebrating three years of freedom from alcohol for me. So I just wanted to share that with you and message me if any of you are doing that, if any of you are doing that now and need some encouragement, or anything at all. Have a great day.”
The former “Everybody Loves Raymond” star revealed in an interview with Parade last summer that she had initially quit drinking alcohol two years prior when asked what she has changed about herself in the last decade.
“I miss it terribly, but at the end of the day, I feel better,” she said. “I noticed that I was looking forward every night to cocktails. And if I happened to go to lunch, I might have a glass of wine or Prosecco. There’s an actual statistic that women who were moderate drinkers in their 30s and 40s often become alcoholics in their 50s and 60s.”
Heaton went on to explain, “I think it’s something about your children leaving the house and the things that used to anchor you are no longer there. You’re a little bit at sea, and so you reach for the bottle to dull the uncertainty.”
It was something that she saw happening with herself after her four children, which she shares with her husband, David Hunt, moved out, leaving the couple alone as empty nesters.
“And as your hormones change, you can’t really process alcohol the same way you did when you were younger,” she explained, sharing the reason behind her decision. “I’ve stopped, and my life has improved significantly. My kids are in their mid-20s and I’ll probably be in my 70s by the time I have grandchildren. I want to be healthy for them.”
Hunt and Heaton have four sons together: Samuel David, 27, John Basil, 25, Joseph Charles, 24, and Daniel Patrick, 22.
Heaton’s active decision to lead a healthier life comes as part of her second act, which inspired her new book aptly titled “Your Second Act," a collection of stories and anecdotes about reinventing oneself later in life.
The book comes after Heaton spent almost two decades portraying TV moms on sitcoms including Debra Barone on “Everybody Loves Raymond” and Frankie Heck on “The Middle.” Around the same time that the ABC hit wrapped in 2018, Heaton became an empty nester more or less in her real life, giving her time to reflect on the things in her life that she put on pause to become a mother.
“So many of us have had to make sacrifices in order to be there for our kids and to raise our kids, and they’re sacrifices that most of us have happily made,” Heaton told TODAY Parents last July. “We didn't want to be anywhere else. We didn't want to miss those precious moments with our children.”
As for other moments of Heaton’s second act? In addition to her decision to quit drinking alcohol, she enrolled in an online screenwriting course, became the executive producer of her own show, “Carol’s Second Act,” began to produce movies with her husband, and was able to participate in more humanitarian work by becoming a World Vision ambassador.