Maxwell Sheffield was often commenting on his nanny’s penchant for wearing tight mini skirts, but the truth behind Fran’s thin frame was far darker than viewers could have imagined.
During a chat with a women’s group last week, Fran Drescher – star of beloved 90s sitcom, The Nanny – said she was actually battling to cope after a traumatic experience, which resulted in significant weight loss.
The 60-year-old has previously spoken about the violent home invasion and rape she experienced in 1985. She, her ex-husband (The Nanny co-creator) Peter Marc Jacobson, and a female friend were at home when two men burst in, restrained Jacobson and sexually assaulted the two women at gunpoint.
“We were home, having dinner with a friend. They broke the door down — it was locked,” Fran told Studio Ten last year. “You try to live, you try to get through it alive. The police said, ‘Whatever you did, you did it right, because you’re alive’.”
Now, she’s told New York women’s club The Wing that she suffered with post-traumatic stress from the ordeal and that not looking after herself was the reason she became so thin.
“I’d been the victim of a violent crime about 10 years before ‘The Nanny,’ and I hadn’t really dealt with that,” the New York Post reports she said.
“I had to deal with it once I became famous and it came out, though — thank God I was in therapy!
“Honestly, I just loved going to work and being Fran Fine, because she was nothing but funny and light, and my life was kind of a mess. I think that was part of why I was so thin.”
Fran said that stress and working too hard caused her to continue to lose weight, and by the show’s fifth season her weight had dropped by about 25 per cent.
“I look back at some of those episodes, and I remember what was going on behind the scenes, and it wasn’t pretty.
“I was burning the candle at both ends.”
Now at a healthy weight, the actress says she doesn’t mind not being able to fit into her old outfits from the show.
Speaking of old outfits, Fran also clarified exactly what she meant when she teased with talk of a reboot.
The Hotel Transylvania 3 actress told Entertainment Tonight earlier this month that she and Peter Marc Jacobson were “working on a very big project”.
“It’s going to be very exciting for the fans, but I’m not at liberty to announce it yet. But it’s gonna be big.”
Many took that to mean it would be a reboot of The Nanny, but at The Wing Fran explained “it’s not true”.
“I mean, never say never, but what I said was: Peter and I are working on a very exciting project that I think the fans will be very happy with — when we’re ready to announce it.”
“I’m not looking to revisit Fran Fine because, first of all, it wouldn’t be the same show. It can’t be ‘The Nanny’ — I’m Mrs Sheffield now!”
If you would like support with body-related mental health issues, you can phone the Butterfly Foundation on 1800 33 4673. For crisis support please call Lifeline on 13 11 14 or Beyond Blue on 1300 22 4636. If you have been the victim of sexual assault or physical abuse, please phone 1800RESPECT on 1800 737 732.