How ‘Cheers’ Star Shelley Long Overcame a Difficult Period Later in Her Career

by Liz Holland

When “Cheers” star Shelley Long landed her role as Diane Chambers, it had the potential to change her career. Portraying the bubbly blonde waitress won her several awards including a Primetime Emmy. Additionally, it also opened up new opportunities for the performer, who later appeared on sitcoms like “Good Advice” and “Frasier.”

However, she never quite saw the same success that “Cheers” gave her with other projects. 

Long made the decision to quit “Cheers” while it was at its peak, in order to focus on her family. This decision unfortunately was the first of many challenges she would face over the next several years. A few decades after landing “Cheers,” the actress faced difficulties revolving around her 22-year marriage ending that were so difficult it nearly cost her life. 

Shelley Long met her second husband, Bruce Tyson in 1979 on a blind date. Tyson was a certified securities broker and the President of Weston Capital Management, an investment company that managed millions for high net worth families and retirement plans. Long met Tyson after her marriage with her first husband, Ken Solomon, failed after just a few years. 

‘Cheers’ Star Shelley Long Married Bruce Tyson Two Years After They Met

Within two years of meeting, Tyson and Long tied the knot in 1981. A few years later, the pair started a family and welcomed their one and only daughter, Julianna Tyson, in 1985. Long’s decision to leave “Cheers” was because she wanted time to focus on her family, which of course included her daughter. However, motherhood is not the only reason the star left the show. Long says, “I didn’t wanna keep doing the same episodes over and over again, in the same story. It had been such a fresh and vital experience for me. I didn’t want to become old and stale.”

Despite her decision to leave the program, Long maintained how much her co-stars meant to her. Despite how difficult it was, the actress says she never regretted her decision. Her bold move to leave her successful role kept jobs coming for a while. However, her career hit a dead-end in 2004. The then 55-year-old performer was also experiencing a declining marriage on top of a declining career. Bruce Tyson served his wife with divorce papers, and according to AmoMama, the news not only shocked Long but led to her contemplating suicide. 

Long Faced the Lowest Of Lows

Close friends of hers commented on the fact that at the time, Long was hardly eating or leaving bed. “It is very sad to see this woman, who is only 55, looking like she’s turning 90,” one friend told the media. On November 16th of that year, Long was admitted to the hospital after she consumed an overdose amount of painkillers she had to alleviate her long-term back pain. Tyson didn’t talk much about the ordeal but did say he was confident that Long would survive the heartbreak and be okay. 

Luckily, she recovered and went on to pick up a few more roles here and there, including some appearances on the popular TV Show “Modern Family.” Long lives a quiet life these days and seems to enjoy not really being recognized in public.