Will and Grace is a record-setting sitcom. It’s the only one to have all of its four central cast members win an Emmy since The Golden Girls.
It followed the everyday exploits of straight interior designer Grace and her gay lawyer roommate Will. It also featured the alcoholic, straight Karen Walker and the gay actor Jack McFarland.
It was shockingly progressive for its time, but there was also plenty of surprising news behind the scenes. One of the most noticeable was when Grace became a shell of her former self and dropped several sizes.
Keep watching as Debra Messing finally addresses her shocking weight loss.
Debra’s Early Life and Career
Debra Lynn Messing was born on August 15, 1968, in Brooklyn but moved with her family when she was three to East Greenwich, Rhode Island. She says that most of her friends never left the small town, but she was one of the lucky ones.
Her parents taught her the value of hard work and discipline. They took her to see Broadway shows and supported her. She fell in love with acting after being in a production of Annie when she was only 7. She continued to appear in other productions such as Fiddler on the Roof and took dance, singing, and acting lessons.
Becoming Rhode Island’s Junior Miss in 1986 earned her a scholarship. Her parents were supportive but encouraged her to get a liberal arts education before pursuing acting. She got a bachelor of Arts from Brandeis University. She was then admitted to the prestigious Tisch School of Arts at NYU.
One of her first workshop performances was as Harper in Angels in America. She continued to get major stage roles such as Cecily in The Importance of Being Ernest and off-Broadway plays such as Four Dogs and a Bone and The Naked Truth.
Ellaine Stritch came to see her in Collected Stories and said how wonderful she was. This was a major confidence booster for Debra who’d always admired the actress. Producers also took notice of her.
Her film debut was in A Walk in the Clouds in 1995. It gave her enough exposure to get the starring role in the 2-season show, Ned & Stacey, from 199-1997. She also co-starred in McHale’s Navy in 1997.
Will and Grace
Debra was offered the lead in Will and Grace and almost turned it down. She was exhausted by everything she’d already done and wanted to take a break. She took her agent’s advice and gave it a chance. Now it’s her most famous role.
The sitcom ran for eight seasons from 1998-2006. The reboot went back to primetime for three more seasons from 2017-2020.
The part seemed like a dream for anyone, but it did come with its problems. It gave Debra severe body image issues, and there were rumors of feuds and hidden animosity on set.
Debra finally addressed her shocking weight loss during Will and Grace on Jameela Jamil’s podcast I Weigh. She talked about how she felt pressured to look like all the other actresses and fit into every restrictive costume.
When Debra first went onto the show she began as a size 8. She couldn’t fit into 80% of the clothes at every fitting. The costume designers told her not to worry, but she felt that she was letting everyone down and had to lose weight.
She began a restrictive diet and exercise regime. She got compliments by the time she was down to a size 6, but that only made her want to get stricter.
Body image issues even ruined her first red-carpet experience at the Emmys. She was nominated for best actress in a TV show but felt ugly and fat compared to everyone else there.
Debra eventually went down to a size 2 but had no energy to spare by then. She wishes she’d been kinder to her younger self and realized she was beautiful all along.
There may have been one other factor that made working on Will and Grace a bit more difficult than it seemed. Megan Mullally played Karen Walker. When the revival began, rumors circulated that she and Debra never got along.
Entertainment Weekly claimed in October 2019 that tensions had been building for years and came to a head during the original show’s 11th season. Certain sources say they “can’t stand to be near each other.” Others say Megan was jealous that Debra was more popular, with two Emmys and status as the favorite of the cast and crew.
Social media did its job of adding even more fuel to the fire. Debra and Megan don’t follow each other on Instagram. Debra tagged other cast members in a post about the Emmys but left Megan out. She later removed the tags, but it still raised eyebrows. Megan also made a suspicious Instagram Story that read “one of the best feelings is finally losing your attachment to somebody who isn’t good for you!”
Megan spoke in a podcast In Bed with Nick and Megan that she hosts with her husband Nick Offerman. She said she’d been “bullied” on set and had a difficult situation recently but wouldn’t say who. She even said that the bully had “allies” who weren’t her allies anymore.
Eric McCormack, who plays Will, says that the rumors are crazy. He claims the four main cast members get along well. When the revival ended in April 2020, co-creator Max Mutchcnick said that everyone had to focus on it being all about the work. He says the show’s legacy is the most important thing.
Debra earned a star on the Walk of Fame on October 6, 2017. Will and Grace alone hs filled up her entire trophy case. and made all the pain to get there feel worth it.
She has seven Golden Globe nominations and five Primetime Emmy nominations, one of which she won. She’s also got seven Screen Actors Guild nominations for Female Actor in a Comedy Series and five for Oustanding Performance in an Ensemble Comedy Series.
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Her Life and Career After
Debra met Daniel Zelman while he was earning his Master’s in New York. They married in 2000 but split after 11 years of marriage in 2011. The split was amicable and they still raise their son together.
Debra’s son Roman Zelman was born on April 7, 2004. She realized she had to balance work and life and even brought him on set while filming. He fit into the atmosphere and even made a few casting suggestions.
Debra kept working after Will and Grace, starting with The Starter Wife. She became pickier after that but signed on to projects such as Smash, which she felt strongly about. The Mysteries of Laura came a year later. She also appeared in TV remakes of Dirty Dancing and is set to appear in the film version of the musical 13.
Debra made her Broadway debut in John Patrick Shanley’s play on January 3, 2014. It was nominated for a Tony for Best Play that year. She even returned to the stage in a 2020 production of Birthday Candles.
Will & Grace also got a reboot in 2017. It was supposed to be only 10 episodes but lasted for three seasons. She got to play her familiar role but convinced the showrunners to make her more of a feminist. She’d be willing to come back to the role if, in her own words, “it were like the Golden Girls in Boca Raton.”
Debra and Mandana Dayana now run a podcast together called The Dissenters. They interview “their heroes” every week. She’s also been active on social media, whether or not her followers appreciate it.
Staying Healthy and Feeling Young
Debra Messing was named one of People Magazine’s 50 Most Beautiful People in 2002.
She is one of only a few women in Hollywood who isn’t afraid to turn 50. She posted a picture on Instagram on her birthday saying “I feel pretty good about it.”
No celebrity will always have fans happy with the way they look, though. She posted a picture of herself at the 2019 Empower Players gala. It got comments assuming that she’d had plastic surgery. They said she looked “plastic” or “full of fillers.”
She quickly responded by telling a follower that she’d never had a facelift. She did get CoolSculpting to remove fat on her stomach in 2017, and she doesn’t care if anyone judges her for it
Debra wants to present a positive physical image for young girls. She stays feeling and looking young not by going under the knife but by changing her lifestyle.
Changing Her Diet
If you are what you eat, then it’s not difficult to find out what Debra is. She’s taken on a carefully curated diet.
She’s cut entire food groups fout, including sugar, alcohol, fried foods, coffee, dairy, gluten, and grain. She also drinks a healthy smoothie every morning.
Debra admits that the change was difficult at first but has already begun to notice the benefits. She’s avoided her allergies, has more energy, and heals more quickly.
Caring For Her Skin and Teeth
Debra knows that focusing on her skin and teeth are two of the best places to start if she wants to stay youthful. She chooses products with care and never strays from her routine.
Her youthful skin requires a careful regimen. She begins with Harper’s Bazaar products such as their spray-on moisteriser and copper-infused serum. She also does a deep cleaning at night to remove all the makeup she put on during filming. Other products she uses include daily hydrating cream and a restorative under-eye balm.
She also works to take care of her teeth, and that’s partially thanks to her partnership with Colgate Optic White.
Debra has a physical trainer named Gunnar Peterson. He’s helped her focus on strength training.
She does her best not to obsess over her workouts anymore. She works them into her schedule three times a week. They include practices such as using a stationary bike, lifting weights, strength training, yoga, and pilates.
They say if you love what you do, you’ll never work a day. That’s part of what keeps Debra happy and healthy. She also enjoys the mental health benefits of her work, and it also helps keep her feeling and looking young.
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