Charlotte Rae Opens Up About Body Shaming on 'Facts of Life' Set, Ex-Husband's Bisexuality

by Raphael Chestang 7:03 PM PDT, October 14, 2015
Playing Charlotte Rae Opens Up About Body Shaming on 'Facts of Life' Set, Ex-Husband's Bisexuality

The Facts of Life star Charlotte Rae opened up to ET about the dark side of the show and how she dealt with a shocking revelation in her 25-year marriage.

The 89-year-old actress may have seemed like she had it all while portraying her role as Mrs. Garrett, but she admitted to ET that her world was flipped upside down when her former husband, TV and film composer John Strauss, came clean to her about his sexual orientation.

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"He finally came out and told me that he was bisexual and it just blew me away," Rae told ET. "I was absolutely devastated."

The couple split in 1976 after having two children together, Larry and Andrew. Strauss passed away in 2011 after a long battle with Parkinson's disease.

Rae delves into the heartache that ended her marriage in her new memoir The Facts of My Life. In it, she claims that Strauss cheated on her with other men.

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"It made me feel like I was not much of a woman, but we were friends and supported each other until he died," Rae said.

Rae also opened up to ET about the alleged body shaming that actresses suffered behind the scenes of The Facts of Life at the hands of producers.

According to Rae, the show had a scale backstage to weigh the girls, but the pressure had the opposite effect that producers were hoping for.

"The more they tried to pressure them and weigh them and threaten them, the more they would eat," Rae said. "It's not the way you handle adolescence. You don't do that."

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Rae admitted that she didn't hear the weigh-in allegations until after the show was over.

Even with the darker elements of the show, Rae is able to call attention to the silver lining. Watch the video to see Rae's reaction to a flashback video of herself at the Emmys in 1982.