Home Improvement Mom's Heartache
Issue: February 27, 1996
My real-life marriage was no sitcom -- it was a nightmare
By: Rosemarie Lennon
HOME IMPROVEMENT mom Pat Richardson's real-life marriage was nothing like her cozy, fun-filled home life on the hit sitcom.
Richardson, who plays Tim Allen's feisty but loving wife Jill on the hit sitcom, split with actor Ray Baker last summer after a marriage of 13 years. She now admits she and Baker spent more than half their years together hashing out their problems in therapy. "We tried everything possible to work things out," sighs Pat. But when it became clear that marriage counseling wasn't working, Pat and Ray -- who are parents of 11-year-old Henry and 5-year-old twins Roxanne and Joseph -- decided he should move out before the ended up hating each other. We chose to separate before it got ugly, and that probably took more courage," she says. "We hoped counseling would help us resolve our differences, but it slowly became apparent that separation was inevitable. We simply grew apart." Ray, 47, moved out of the family's Santa Monica, tudor-style home last June. Pat filed for divorce two months later. But the two are vowing to remain on friendly terms for the children's sakes. Ray moved into a new home just five blocks away so he could see their children "every three days," Pat says. "They stay with him and I want to nurture their relationship as best I can. Our marriage will never really be over because we are raising our children together."
Although counseling couldn't save their marriage, Pat and Ray put their faith into another kind of therapy when they decided to divorce.
They were worried about how the split would effect their young children, so they called in a therapist who specializes in helping kids in their situation. "We learned what to say and watch out for," says Pat. "So far, the kids are doing remarkably well." Pat says she and Ray have "told the children that even though Mommy and Daddy are living apart, we'll always be a family." Still, she admits, "there's no such thing as a painless divorce." Ray, who has had small parts in films such as Places in the Heart, Silkwood, and Total Recall, has admitted in the past that his wife's blockbuster TV success wasn't easy to swallow. "She's way beyond me and it is hard, " says Pat's ex. "And any man who tells you it's not hard is either incredibly evolved or a liar," he adds. And Pat says that the fame she has known since starring on Home Improvement, has put an enormous strain on the family. "My job is very demanding and has changed all our lives," she admits. "We can't go anywhere without people coming up to chat or ask for an autograph. It isn't easy on vacations either." Ray's continued involvement in the children's lives is a lifesaver to Pat, who keeps exhausting hours on the Home Improvement set. But she's hot complaining.
Thanks to Amber for giving this article.