‘The Golden Girls’ Star Rue McClanahan Once Said She ‘Hurt’ Second Husband, Learned Lesson

by Katie Maloney
(Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)

While writing her 2007 book, My First Five Husbands…And the Ones Who Got Away, Rue McClanahan learned an important lesson.

Most of us know Rue McClanahan as the sexy Southern bell, Blanche Devereaux in The Golden Girls. Her effortless sex appeal and perfect comedic timing instantly captured the hearts of viewers around the world. But there is far more Rue than just sex appeal. She actually grew up in a small town in Oklahoma where she developed a passion for acting. Once she was old enough to leave her hometown, she moved to New York and started pursuing a career in acting. While she was working and studying with the legendary Uta Hagen, Rue met a handsome aspiring actor who quickly became her first husband. However, he left shortly after their son was born. Nevertheless, Rue stayed true to her career goals and continued working her way up the show-biz ladder. Not only did Rue land several iconic roles, but she also married four other men before meeting and marrying her soulmate (her 6th husband).

In 2007, Rue McClanahan published her book My First Five Husbands…And the Ones Who Got Away. But the book is about far more than just her romantic life. She talks about all aspects of her life including her battle with breast cancer, and her love of animal rights. During an interview in 2007, Rue opened up about what she learned while writing the book. She said there was one man in her life who was especially difficult to write about.

“Yes. Writing about how I hurt Norman Hartweg, my second husband and subsequent life-long friend, was almost unbearable,” said Rue. “I also learned to take time to think things over before rushing into a marriage.”

Rue McClanahan Learned to Be More Self Confident While Playing Blanche On The Golden Girls

Constantly being in the spotlight can be tough. The tabloids as well as jealous viewers frequently look for ways to tear celebrities down. So, it’s not a surprise to hear that Rue McClanahan struggled with insecurities sometimes. However, it’s also not surprising that Rue’s character in The Golden Girls gave her a boost in confidence. If anyone can teach someone to feel comfortable in their body and live life fully, it’s Blanche Devereaux. During an interview in 2008, Rue shared how portraying Blanche inspired more self-confidence.

‘It gave me a lot more self-confidence,” said Rue McClanahan. “I realized that she thinks she’s the cat’s meow, crazy about herself, very outgoing, thinks that she’s beautiful. And I figured, I’m playing the part – why don’t I start feeling that way, too. I became much less shy.”