Rachael Ray Reflects on a Tough 3 Years of Losing Her Dog and Home (Exclusive)

ET spoke with the TV personality about the new season of her show, her home in Italy and more.

Rachael Ray is looking forward after a tough three years.

While the TV personality lost her home in a devastating fire and later, her family dog, Ray is gearing up for season 17 of her daytime talk show, the Rachael Ray Show. ET's Rachel Smith spoke with Ray ahead of the premiere of the new season, where she spoke about filming from her home in Tuscany, Italy.

"We purchased the land there over four years ago," Ray says of her Tuscan villa. "So much has happened since then, but it took all that time to build it out, because we had to do it on Zoom. Who builds a house on Zoom? And in a different language."

She continues, "And in the meantime, as everybody knows, we lost Isaboo, God rest her soul, and we lost our home, and our apartment flooded -- I mean, it was a weird three years."

Ray's been so busy between the show and her home in Italy, that she told ET she was almost sure that season 17 had already premiered.

"I don't even have any concept of time anymore," Ray admits. You just said the premiere's next week, and I'm like, 'It is? It isn't already up?' Because we shot the two-parter in Italy last week, I flew here the morning, like, we landed at night, the next morning we started the shows here."

"But that was only two days ago," she adds. "We're already like, six shows in. I'm like, 'What?' My head is mush, and today I roped seven shows before I came to these three shows."

With this upcoming season, Ray is letting the cameras into her life more than ever before, showcasing both her home in Italy and her day-to-day life there.

"I got over the fear -- we always try to keep a little slice of our life private to us, but it’s actually -- it's very cathartic and freeing to include people, and we always shot the show mostly unscripted," Ray explains. "And tried to be as real as possible with folks, from the earliest days at Food Network to everything certainly that we've tried to do here at this television production, but it became this strange thing. That first line, we talked about it, before when you cross the doorstep, 'Oh my god,' like, panic attack. We're gonna let people in here."

"And I'm gonna shoot TV with no makeup on," she adds. "And I'm gonna work in my own kitchen, and you’re going to see my house, and you're gonna see the delivery guy come and the buzzer go off and the dishwasher break -- people still love that. Even now, in season 17, it is so crazy that we're shooting -- from January on till the end of the season -- we're shooting from home."

Despite the vulnerability shooting from home brings with it, Ray said she loves sharing her life with people, and allowing them to see the world they live in.

"It's beautiful, and we love sharing it with people," Ray says. "And I think people are going to be excited to see that world. We live in a very small town. It's just like where we live Upstate. It's a really small community. We know everybody. We go to the same places over and over again, we see the same faces over and over again, and it's a very tiny, little community."

Despite the occasional celebrity house guest -- Kate Hudson, Cameron Diaz and a few musicians -- Ray said their life in Tuscany is not "extravagant" and is very much comparable to that of a farmer in the Italian countryside.

"We live in Santino, and the closest kinda big city that people would go to for tourism is Montalcino," she says. "It's about a half hour away, but it feels like three hours 'cause all of our roads there are like, 'Woo-hoo,' twisty dirt roads, but we wanted to show people that life there isn't extravagant, it's very much kind of a farmer's life or a country person’s life."

Get a look into Ray's life in Italy when season 17 of Rachael Ray premieres Sept. 12.



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