• July 19, 2024

WALTONS DAD SAVED ME FROM BOOZE HELL! – PressReader

Learned says Waite pushed her — and him­self — to get help
The fam­ily series was a TV staple for nine sea­sons

RALPH WAITE and Michael Learned played the rock­solid par­ents on the heart­warm­ing fam­ily series The Waltons — but on the 50th anniversary of the TV show’s debut, Learned reveals they were both drunks off cam­era until he got her clean and sober!

“More than once, Ralph and I would go out for lunch and we would drink,” the 83-yearold act­ress tells The National ENQUIRER in an exclus­ive inter­view.

“More than once, Ralph and I would go out for lunch and we would drink,” the 83-yearold act­ress tells The National ENQUIRER in an exclus­ive inter­view.

She recalls suf­fer­ing from a dev­ast­at­ing drink­ing prob­lem before and well into her years on the iconic series, which was a staple on TV for nine years, from 1972 to 1981.

“I was going through a divorce,” remem­bers Michael. “Drink­ing too much. And I came down to L.A. full of fear because I’d been mar­ried since I was 17!”

Now she admits it was Ralph — who had conquered his own drink­ing demons and passed away in 2014 at 85 — who first made her real­ize she was march­ing down a cer­tain path to self­de­struc­tion!

Now she admits it was Ralph — who had conquered his own drink­ing demons and passed away in 2014 at 85 — who first made her real­ize she was march­ing down a cer­tain path to self­de­struc­tion!

“One of his daugh­ters had died from leuk­emia when she was only nine, and his first mar­riage ended in divorce a couple of years before we launched the show, and it led him into some heavy drink­ing — which ran counter to his own respons­ible image,” says Michael.

“I was a caring, respons­ible father to all of these kids on the show, but I was a drunk on the side,” Ralph once admit­ted in an inter­view.

Learned says the nag­ging need to live up to his squeak­yclean TV image pushed Waite to get sober — and to help her do the same!

Learned says the nag­ging need to live up to his squeak­yclean TV image pushed Waite to get sober — and to help her do the same!

“He told me I needed to get away from the tempta­tions of booze and take myself out of that envir­on­ment until I knew I had it beat,” she remem­bers, adding that Ralph also told her she needed to get her­self to Alco­hol­ics Anonym­ous — WITH him — because she needed the sup­port!

“He told me I needed to get away from the tempta­tions of booze and take myself out of that envir­on­ment until I knew I had it beat,” she remem­bers, adding that Ralph also told her she needed to get her­self to Alco­hol­ics Anonym­ous — WITH him — because she needed the sup­port!

“He told me, ‘I’ll go and be sup­port­ive for you,’” she reveals. “He grabbed me by the shoulders and he said, ‘I think you should come!’”

The ven­er­ated act­ress said that was the moment that put her on the road to recov­ery — and she’s been sober since 1977!

“Ralph’s daugh­ter’s death really broke him, but The Waltons saved him — and he saved me!”

“Ralph’s daugh­ter’s death really broke him, but The Waltons saved him — and he saved me!”

National Enquirer

14 Nov 2022

16

Ralph Waite and Michael Learned played the upstand­ing par­ents on The Waltons

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