Kirstie Alley and Parker Stevenson – they proved that “opposites attract” but they don’t, “make for a good marriage.”
How Did Kirstie Alley and Parker Stevenson Meet?
According to Stevenson, it was all down to happenstance and perfect timing. “Kirstie picked me up in a bar. At the time, I was burned out–and she had this wonderful conviction and joy about what she was doing. I’d lost that. So being around her was great.”
On reflection, Stevenson said, “Kirstie and I are exact opposites. That’s what made it so interesting. Whether it was politics or diets or cars or music, we had such different opinions on everything.”
Despite the differences in taste, constitution, and religion – she was a rap loving, vegetable eating, nicotine smoking Scientologist and he was a classical music aficionado who, aside from being addicted to sugar, had a disdain for smoking and was a proud Episcopalian. Stevenson was sure that “this could really work. I won’t be bored with this person and she won’t be bored with me.”
After about two years of courting, the couple eloped on December 22, 1983. Subsequently, they tried in vain to start a family. Following a devastating miscarriage, Alley told the press that she and her husband intended to adopt and indeed they did. In 1992, the couple took in William True and he was followed by a sister, Lillie Price, in 1994.
Lap of Luxury
During the course of the duo’s 13-year marriage, they acquired three massive properties – one each in Encino, California, Oregon, and Maine – splurged on annual Halloween parties that cost in excess of $25,000 and indulged in after-hours shopping sprees at FAO Schwarz.
Contribution To Fatal Attraction
But the relationship was also fraught with possible danger. Stevenson acquired a female stalker who planted herself outside the Alley/Stevenson abode, harassed the occupants with incessant phone calls, and generally made “their lives hell.”
During her audition for the role of Alex Forrester, the psychotic obsessive who informs her married lover, “I won’t be ignored, Dan!” Alley brought along a tape of the woman’s calls and handed it over to the film’s director, Adrian Lyne.
Former Paramount CEO Sherry Lansing remembers that “you could hear the woman crying as she begged to be part of this man’s life. Adrian ended up using it verbatim.”
For most of their marriage, the spouses kept the details of their private lives – and their opinions on marriage – to themselves though Alley once told People magazine that, “I think there has to be a boss in every arrangement, and I prefer it being the man.
“If an intruder breaks in, I’m not going to say, ‘Honey, give me the gun.’ Parker and I have what I call the burglar relationship. I wouldn’t think of going down to see who broke into the house, and he wouldn’t think of letting me. I think it’s romantic.”
Still, it came as quite the surprise when Alley – who had been deemed the winner of the 1991 Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series – took to the stage and thanked Stevenson for being, “The man who has given me the Big One for the last eight years.”
In response, Stevenson demurred, “I think there are a lot worse things that can be said about you.”
But despite their contented appearances, there was trouble in paradise. In fact, Alley was ready, willing and able to, “break up my marriage,” if her North & South co-star, Patrick Swayze, had been willing to do the same.
Kirstie Alley and Parker Stevenson Call It Quits
In November of 1996, some 13 years after exchanging wedding vows, the couple separated. In short order, they filed separate petitions for divorce and both cited irreconcilable differences.
In a joint statement, the pair declared that “We intend to remain the best of friends and devoted parents to our two children.” A few months later, Alley assured Entertainment Weekly that “there was no infidelity in my marriage, on either side….There was nothing other than maybe different goals in life.”
Details of Stevenson’s initial filing reveal that the actor sought custody of their two children – then ages 3 and 5 – and $75,000 a month to aide in their upbringing.
After protracted negotiations, the official decree was granted in May of 1998 and it saw the couple divide their assets, which included their 21-bedroom mansion in Maine, and share extended periods of time with the William and Lillie.
Sixteen months later, Stevenson revealed to People magazine that, “Kirstie and I are not friends now, but we talk regularly about the kids. Will we be friends someday? I don’t know.”