Peter Marc Jacobson: The Gay Divorcee

The Nanny co-creator Peter Marc Jacobson reteams with ex-wife Fran Drescher for Happily Divorced, a TV Land sitcom loosely based on his coming-out after 21 years of marriage.

BY Brandon Voss

June 15 2011 12:20 PM ET

HAPPILY DIVORCED 4 X390 (TV LAND) | ADVOCATE.COMAnd that revelation led to you and Fran discussing your relationship and sex life on The Oprah Winfrey Show.
That was really interesting for me, who was so paranoid 20 years ago that anyone might know anything about me. Right before we went on, I remember thinking, Well, if anybody still doesn’t know, they certainly will now. But it’s kind of liberating. Now I feel like Supergay. I’ve gotten so many great letters from people who were in the same position that I was 20 years ago — men trying to figure out their lives, feeling that we are a nice example of two people who have managed to put things aside and who continue to love each other. When gay people finally have equal rights in this country, men won’t have to try to hide their sexuality when they’re young; at adolescence, they’ll be able to figure out and be who they are.

Has adapting the details of your divorce for Happily Divorced opened up any old wounds for you or Fran?
Well, the actual divorce part of our divorce was so simple — one lawyer, no fighting, take whatever you want. It was never about money, so we split everything 50-50. Yes, there were hard moments when we got divorced, but we’re doing a comedy here. It’s been a while now, so we look back at things and laugh. The two of us have been through a lot of stuff in our lives — Fran’s cancer, we were victims of violent crime — so we try not to take things too seriously. We did just film a heavier episode where Fran feels like she’s wasted her youth, but it’s done with humor. Fran realizes that there were great things in our marriage, and certain things in her life wouldn’t have happened if she hadn’t had our marriage.

Is it strange to watch John Michael Higgins essentially play you and reenact scenes from your life with Fran?
What’s strange is that he makes a much better me than me. He’s so funny and creative, so I’m so honored to have him do it. The two of them are magic together, so it’s fun to watch.

How similar are you and the sitcom version of you?
The biggest similarity is the deep love that he has for Fran. He didn’t want to hurt her, he didn’t want this to happen, but he had to finally face his truth. For jokes, we also use a lot of my interests — like going to the Sound of Music Sing-Along and other things that she wasn’t that interested in. You look back at those clues and think, Oh, I was blind as a bat. Her parents and everybody else knew but her, but you see what you want to see.

At 53, you’re a successful, handsome man. Single?
I am very single and looking. Fran’s fixed me up a few times — and very well, I might say. I came out late and had a late gay adolescence, but I’m at the point now where I’d like to settle down. So if Ricky Martin is available, I am too.

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