Sheryl Underwood is one of the Daytime Emmy award-winning hosts of CBS’s The Talk. The actress and comedian is also a superfan of daytime. But there is more to this dynamo than meets the eye and Maurice Benard delves into the trials and tribulations from her past that make her the survivor she is today on his latest State of Mind video podcast.
Maurice Benard Gives A Warm Welcome To Sheryl Underwood
General Hospital’s Benard (Sonny) began the podcast with his introduction, and he complimented her on her stint hosting the Daytime Emmys for the fifth time. “When I watched you, I said to myself, this is a combination of respectability and likeability. And this is what the daytime soaps need because we don’t get enough respect.”
“I’m so happy to be here.” Underwood made it clear she is a huge fan of the daytime genre. “And thank you for saying that,” she continued. “I want people to understand that daytime, for some it launches careers, and for others, it is where your dreams come true. They think it is where careers die. That is not it. It’s the work that you put in, the professionalism, and the family atmosphere.”
Comparing working in soap operas to working on The Talk, she explained, “Working steady five days a week affords you the opportunity to pick and choose your projects, not because you have to but because you want to. Sometimes, in this business, a ‘yes’ is not always great, and a ‘no’ is only not right now.”
Underwood shared her admiration for Benard and the character of Sonny. “I have so much respect for what you do, and you bring humanity into all of your work,” she enthused. “Sometimes it is not the dialogue. It’s a movement or it’s an inflection or something.
“Art imitates life,” Underwood said. She spoke of the community service of being truthful of the struggles artists endure and share. “But here’s the catch of this…there’s somebody watching the art and going ‘I have those same feelings,’ and they are watching the artist. Sometimes even the most successful artists, when you can say, ‘I don’t have it all together all the time and I need help.’”
Seeking help is something she knows something about, having had to reach out a few times herself after enduring multiple personal traumas, including the suicide of her husband. Underwood went back to the beginning.
The Flush of Love and Missing the Signs
*Trigger warning to those reading what comes next: Frank talk, language, suicide, rape, molestation.
“When we first got together, I remember seeing him at the rec center on Castle Air Force base. He was active duty Air Force.” The multi-talented lady elaborated, “So, I see this guy, and he looks so great in his uniform. And I just walk up to him and say, ‘I am going to marry you.’ That is just not what you say to people. We exchanged numbers. He had such a sweet spirit to him.”
She talked about how looking back at the signs, the extreme emotions that she had explained away as a young woman as moments of passion, of love — and now sees it was probably signs of depression, a chemical imbalance, or a bipolar disorder. “What I don’t understand is the ebb and flow of it, the chemical imbalance.”
Underwood revealed the time he failed to pick her up from work, and she found him at home, face down on the bed, unresponsive. And didn’t notice the 41 bottles of pills, emptied, lying on the floor on the other side of the bed. He survived and things seemed to improve.
The Loss And Healing
She recalled the day of his suicide. “I remember the night before,” she began. “Playful, we had a good time. We had our weekend planned. I had reserve duty, so I was going to come home, and we were going to watch videos. We were going to have a great weekend started.
“This was just a little time after he had taken all of these pills,” she points out. “I think he is getting help. I think he is getting better but he is not. And then he goes to work and jumps off a parking garage.”
Even before she got in the car to go to the hospital, Underwood began bargaining with God, but deep down — she knew he had died. The healing process took time.
“I went through all the therapy that you can go through,” she reveals. “One therapist finally said, ‘There was nothing you could do to stop it. He was that way long before he met you.’”
Benard responded, “She was right. Let me tell you why,” he said, and shared the story of how close he came to committing suicide.
Maurice Benard and Sheryl Underwood’s Must-See Episode
The two strong and victorious survivors shared a no-holds-barred discussion about going into the darkest of experiences and coming out on the other side. A powerful episode of State of Mind that is not to be missed.
Neither party was at a loss for words and could easily meet again for parts two or three. The episode lasted more than an hour and seven minutes and covered many topics sure to strike a chord with many viewers.
Subjects such as the importance of saying ‘No,’ missed opportunities, taking back her sexuality after being molested and raped as a child, her relationship with her family and extended family, a mutual Steve Harvey connection, her first interview with Sara Gilbert and Julie Chen, and meeting Benard’s parents.
Benard turned the tables on Underwood by letting her ask questions about General Hospital. She shared a story about her own brush with the ‘underworld.’ They discussed the importance of having men in your life who are strong, who embody strength, and integrity. Benard laughed and added, “Everybody wants a Sonny in their lives!”
Need some inspiration? Share the laughter and the tears by catching this episode of State of Mind. You can check out the full interview by clicking here. You can also watch a preview below.
If you know someone considering suicide or if you need to talk, contact NIMH or call National Suicide Prevention Hotline.
You can follow Sheryl Underwood at Sheryl Underwood Radio @UnderwoodRadio or on Twitter and The Talk here.
Follow Maurice Benard on Twitter, Instagram, and for more episodes of State Of Mind go to the main page of the video podcasts here.
General Hospital (GH) airs weekdays on ABC. Check your local listings for airtimes. For more about what’s coming up in Port Charles, check out all the latest that’s been posted on General Hospital spoilers, and for an in-depth look at the show’s history, click here.
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