After meeting in high school, Fran Drescher and Peter Marc Jacobson became a package deal. They went on to find joint success as sitcom creators. They were married from 1978 to 1999, and in their 50 years of knowing each other, they’ve endured the highest highs and the lowest lows. In a wholesome turn of events, Jacobson’s brave decision to come out as bisexual only brought them closer together.
Drescher And Her Husband Were High School Sweethearts
Fran Drescher and Peter Marc Jacobson both grew up in Queens, New York. Jacobson has described being drawn in by Drescher’s unique style and voice—the very same iconic combination that made the two of them famous. Jacobson says they’d later refer to her nasal tone and thick New York accent as “the cash cow” for how well it served them in the sitcom industry.
“We’ve made a career out of her voice… I write it and she says it,” Jacobson told AOL in 2012. “Fran and I started, basically, sitting in a basement watching sitcoms to writing sitcoms, and we created The Nanny. We’ve been working together since we were 15, basically.”
When they were 21, Drescher and Jacobson officially tied the knot. At the time, Drescher had found some mild success with small parts in film and TV. However, it was her and Jacobson’s decision to create their own sitcom that led to their crown jewel. In 1993, The Nanny was born, making Drescher a household name almost overnight.
They Endured Trauma Together
Seven years after they tied the knot, the unspeakable happened to the couple. In January 1985, two men invaded Drescher and Jacobson’s home. As one man ransacked their house, taking all of their valuables, the other tied Jacobson up and forced him to watch as he raped Drescher and her female friend at gunpoint. The traumatic event easily could have derailed any couple’s lives, but Drescher and Jacobson persevered.
“You know, at the time it didn’t seem to hurt the marriage, but I think we both became very frightened people after that, and very co-dependent people, very all clumped up with each other,” Drescher told Larry King 15 years after the attack. “We were very scared about things and we put bars on our house. And nothing was ever really the same again.”
Drescher recalled how she neglected her own pain because she didn’t want to burden others with it. However, she said it wasn’t until a decade later that she began to feel the repercussions of repressing the traumatic experience.
Jacobson Was Hiding A Big Secret
Two years after their divorce, Jacobson came out as bisexual. The writer has no qualms with being referred to as “Fran Drescher’s Gay Ex-Husband,” but that possibly leaves a false impression in people’s minds. Their marriage didn’t end because Jacobson was attracted to men. He was also attracted to Drescher, and they had a beautiful, loving marriage.
“I loved Fran, I was attracted to Fran. It wasn’t like I was living a double life, it was just that something always bugged me that I didn’t know why I was attracted to men, too,” Jacobson has admitted. “I would get very very controlling, and that’s sort of what drove the marriage apart. And once I faced my truth, then things became much easier for me because I knew that this was right.”
Growing up in the ’50s and ’60s, Jacobson never felt comfortable exploring that side of his sexuality, and it manifested itself in controlling behavior. It wasn’t until Drescher filed for divorce that he began coming to terms with his identity. Drescher has cited a need to escape their “suffocating” relationship as the reason for their divorce, and, while Jacobson initially protested, he came to understand why.
The Pair Reinvented Their Relationship After Drescher’s Cancer Diagnosis In 2000
Drescher and Jacobson were estranged for a year immediately following their divorce. Jacobson resented Drescher for ending their marriage, and it soured things between them. However, when Drescher called her ex-husband in 2000 to tell him she had been diagnosed with uterine cancer, they began rebuilding their friendship from the remnants of their marriage.
Drescher’s diagnosis came as a shock since, for two whole years, doctors insisted she didn’t have cancer and was just suffering early menopause. Seven doctors dismissed her symptoms and neglected to do any cancer screenings. However, when Drescher did finally get the diagnosis she both needed and dreaded, it brought Jacobson back into her life.
“One of the silver linings of the cancer was that we rekindled our friendship,” Drescher told InStyle. “He’s still my soul mate.” Thus began a beautiful friendship. They do everything together now. They vacation together and are still pillars in each other’s lives. Their unique friendship was the inspiration behind Happily Divorced, the sitcom they wrote together over a decade after their separation.
Both Drescher and Jacobson insist they are better off in each other’s lives, just not in a romantic relationship. Jacobson has enjoyed the freedom to explore his attraction to men, while Drescher has admitted to doing the very same following their divorce. She even opened up in a refreshing interview about enjoying a “friends with benefits” situation a couple of years ago.