The TVLand sitcom “Happily Divorced” revolves around a real-life couple—Fran Drescher, 56, and Peter Marc Jacobson, 48—who divorce when Peter acknowledges his homosexuality. The actress-actor couple met when they were 15 and were best friends throughout high school. They married in 1978 when they were both 21 and came into the spotlight with the debut of the show, “The Nanny,” which started in 1993 and ended in 1999. The couple co-created the show, with Fran Drescher being the executive producer, writer, director and star of the Emmy-winning series, and Jacobson appearing as a guest.
Years later, the “Happily Divorced” couple returns to the Hollywood scene, with their personal relationship experiences as inspiration. Near the season finale of “The Nanny,” Jacobson came out to his wife. “I think I’m bisexual but I’m making the choice—I love you, I love our life together and I want to spend my life with you.” Even though both Drescher and Jacobson wanted to make the marriage work, Drescher eventually filed for divorce. “He begged me not to leave him, and for me, it was the hardest thing because I’ve always been all about putting everybody else’s feelings above my own.” The day after “The Nanny” ended, Jacobson moved to New York and soon after started living life as a gay man. The couple didn’t speak for a year, until Jacobson was told that Drescher had been diagnosed with uterine cancer. “At that moment all of the anger melted away, and all that was left was love.”
The couple’s romantic relationship ended 14 years ago, but their friendship continues. As Jacobson says, “I’m blessed that she’s in my life. I mean, there are so few people—straight, gay, whatever—that have this—a friendship and a love for each other. I’m so lucky.” Their relationship inspired “Happily Divorced,” a sitcom series about a formerly married couple where the gay ex-husband continues to live with his ex-wife for economic reasons. Although the show was officially canceled this August, the couple worked together on the show to bring laughter to the idea of divorce and insight to their unique relationship. “Peter and I feel so blessed to have met each other and to still have a caring, loving relationship,” says Drescher. “Love is what we’re all about.”