Portrait Posted Of Ricki Lake Unveils Her Previous Life Challenges

Jan 08, 2021 by apost team

Many know Ricki Lake as the beautiful, award-winning TV host, singer, and actress. In the 1990s, she was a household name, particularly owing to her successful television talk show, “Ricki Lake.” Actually, anyone who knows her could have sworn that her life was perfect. However, Ricki’s life is full of many heartbreaking tragedies, which, as it turns out, shaped her life as we know it and that of her family. Recently, Ricki Lake shared with the world the main issues she’s been through, how they caused her untold pain, and how they changed her life.

Ricki Lake (2017) (Paul Archuleta/FilmMagic/Getty Images)

Ricki was born on September 21, 1968, in a New York suburb called Hastings-on-Hudson to a middle-class Jewish family. She was very close to Sylvia, her paternal grandmother until she died in 1978. Before her grandmother passed away, Ricki had already experienced enough to drive her crazy. When she was 6 years old, she experienced a traumatic assault. For some reason, she decided not to discuss the incident with her parents, although the offender got fired.

Ricki might have successfully secreted the story, but she couldn’t control the impact the incident would have on her life. Before long, the girl started experiencing weight problems. According to her, she reached 270 pounds because of the incident. In her book, “Your Best Birth,” she mentioned that she did not want to be attractive at all. Through her weight, she says that she carried the “shame” around for years.


Ricki Lake 2002 (Evan Agostini/ImageDirect/Getty Images)

Thankfully, she recovered from childhood body issues at some point partly because she decided to speak out about it. “I was able to look at my body and see what it was able to do and embrace it,” she said while speaking with People Magazine in 2009. At the moment, Ricki encourages other mothers with a similar story to follow in her footsteps to heal completely. According to her, if women are in touch with the healing process, they can heal successfully.

After completing Farragut Middle School, Ricki Lake attended Hastings High School for two years. She then joined the Professional Children’s School located in New York to pursue her dream career. While in school, Ricki worked hard to develop and perfect her acting abilities. By the time she turned 9 years old, she had already joined several cabarets and clubs, where she has sung professionally. When she graduated from high school, she joined Ithaca College. After she completed her final exams during her first year, her career started accelerating.

She had been asked by her agent to audition for the lead role in a film known as “Hairspray” that was being directed by John Waters. Although Ricki Lake only had one professional role before “Hairspray,” she was exceptional. Ricki was a big girl, and it was clear that her role in the film broke down stereotypes. She influenced how people perceived the bigger girls, emphasizing that girls didn’t need to look a certain way to become beauty queens.

Ricki As A Famed Actress

Nikki Blonsky, Ricki Lake 2008 (DAVID X PRUTTING/Patrick McMullan/Getty Images)

Ricki has always recognized her director for offering her the role in “Hairspray.” She was actually nominated as Best Female Lead for the Film Independent Spirit Awards.“I totally did break the mold, and it’s with life experience that I have more reverence for what I was able to achieve…I have to give credit to John Waters for seeing in me the qualities he wanted for that character. And thank god he did, because I don’t know what I would be doing without having had that job as my entry into this business,” she told Interview Magazine.

As soon as she started working with John Waters, the good director, a great friendship started growing between them. Waters explained to the Baltimore Sun:

“Our relationship is way beyond a professional friendship…Ricki is one of the few who knows everything about me, and I know everything about her. I know her parents, I know her kids, I know her ex-husband."

Shortly after "Hairspray," Ricki Lake landed a number of other jobs in the film industry. She worked alongside the famed actor Johnny Depp and Iggy Pop — the music icon — in a film known as “Cry-Baby.” Things seemed to be going pretty well for her. However, in her private life, something wasn’t right. Ricki had gained 60 pounds from the time she was featured in “Hairspray” to the time she started working on “Cry-Baby.” After completing her performance in the “China Beach” show, she wasn’t receiving many job offerings.

Ricki On TV

Ricki Lake 2006 (Amy Graves/WireImage/Getty Images)

It didn’t take long before Ricki Lake found herself doing something entirely different. “I knew that in this business I needed to have a gimmick, something that set me apart, and I knew that being fat wasn’t really working for me anymore,” she said to Interview. “So I did the one thing I thought I could do for myself, which was to go on a starvation diet and lose weight. I lost 100 pounds before I got the talk show.”

Ricki Lake got her own television show known as “Ricki Lake.” The show covered different sensational topics and invited guests to speak in front of a live studio audience. Before long, the show became very popular, and Ricki Lake’s fame grew. “Ricki Lake” actually became the second biggest TV talk show behind “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” after only one year of being aired.

Ricki was definitely the star of the new, hit TV show, but she did not think about it much at the time. “I didn’t know. I didn’t really appreciate it…My whole career has been about me sort of jumping into something and not really thinking it through or thinking where this will lead me,” Lake told the Baltimore Sun.

Ricki Leaves The Show

Ricki Lake, Milo Sussman Lake 1997 (Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images)

In television, ratings determine everything. One simply cannot continue doing a show without viewers. "Ricki Lake" soon started targeting teenagers and young adults, and her show’s ratings went up. Unfortunately, the show deviated from being a serious talk show, but that didn’t stop it from going on. In 1994, she was nominated for an Emmy Award. Nine years later, as her show resurfaced, she won the Outstanding Talk Show Host award.

Ten years later, in 2004, Ricki decided to leave the show and made her exit when her contract was up. That move changed nearly everything in her life. At that time, Ricki was still living in New York, but not alone. She had two sons. When 9/11 happened, she thought that her life was ending.  

“I saw the plane go into the building from my apartment downtown,” Ricki told the Baltimore Sun.

“I just had my son there, I had given birth two months before, so I was really traumatized. And I felt like I needed to make some changes — and one of them was leaving my show. I didn’t go off the air until 2004, because I had a contract I had to fulfill. But that day in 2001 is when it started.”

Ricki’s Family

Ricki Lake, Rob Sussman 2001 (Vinnie Zuffante/Archive Photos/Getty Images)

While Ricki Lake was doing her famed television show, she began her own family. In 1994, she married Rob Sussman. Three years later, her son, Milo Sebastian Sussman, was born. Owen Tyler, her second son, was born in 2001. After being together for about one decade, Ricki divorced Rob. She later married Christian Evans, a jewelry designer. Unfortunately, Christian decided to end his life in a rather tragic way in 2017.

In a very sentimental Instagram post, Ricki Lake wrote:

“It is with a heavy heart that I share that my beloved soulmate, Christian Evans has passed…The world didn’t understand this man, but I did. He succumbed to his lifelong struggle with bipolar disorder.”

Ricki mentioned later on that she would honor Christian Evans by leading a full and joyous life. She had previously adopted a legal therapy dog called “Mama,” and to date, it has done a lot to help her overcome the pain. “I rescued her and then she rescued me…When I drive my car she sits on my lap and it’s like this calming presence and it’s palpable. She’s like medicine,” Ricki said on The Dan Wootton podcast. Ricki decided to start a new life in Los Angeles. That shift led to the rebirth of her show, “The Ricky Lake Show,” and in 2013, she earned an Emmy Award.

Ricki Loses Her Hair

When you are a celebrity, you’ll often display your best sides. You’ll often have to dress elegantly, take amazing photos, wear makeup and do all you can to look as happy as possible. Perhaps Ricki Lake had had enough of it, or not, but she proved to the world that she’s different, having displayed a side of her life that very few in her position would display. It’s not just her job, her divorce, or even the death of her ex-husband that troubled Ricki.

For more than three decades, she had been struggling with hair loss. She took to Instagram on January 1, 2020, to share with the world this secret, her aim being to help other people experiencing the same problem to overcome its stigma and insecurity. She wrote a long post that got her message across pretty clearly: 

"It has been debilitating, embarrassing, painful, scary, depressing, lonely, all the things…Almost no one in my life knew the level of deep pain and trauma I was experiencing. Not even my therapist/s over the years knew my truth." 

In the post, Ricki made it clear that she was intending to help other people while at the same time getting the attention of both women and men on the issue of hair loss.

The Response She Didn’t Expect

According to Ricki, she used different types of wigs and extensions to conceal her hair loss. It was amazing that she had decided to speak out candidly and bravely. She continued her post:

“In my case, I believe my hair loss was due to many factors, yo-yo dieting, hormonal birth control, radical weight fluctuations over the years, my pregnancies, genetics, stress, and hair dyes and extensions.”

Many people read her post, and their responses were overwhelming. Tens of thousands of people liked the post and even went ahead to share their personal hair loss experiences in the comments section.

Right from the start, Ricki understood her dream; she knew that she wanted to be part of the show business. The mother of two worked hard, and she did achieve that dream. However, as you’ve seen, her journey to success was quite unusual and tragic. It’s not easy to move from being an actress to having your own demanding TV show. It’s even more difficult to do it while facing challenges as serious as Ricki Lake’s.

Given the many problems Ricki Lake has been through as a child and throughout her adult life, it’s amazing that she has always emerged a stronger woman. Through the support of her family, fans, sons, and dog, she continues to stay strong and lead a better life. Her resilience and inner strength are admirable, and that’s why she is a role model to many people.

Isn't Ricki Lake's story inspiring? If you think so, please talk about it in the comments below. Also, ensure your friends enjoy this incredible story!

If you or anybody you know is struggling with depression or suicidal thoughts, please call Lifeline at 1-800-273-8255. The Lifeline provides 24/7, free, and confidential support for you or your loved ones, and best practices for professionals.

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