Teri Hatcher Speaks Out
"I've never had repressed memories," Teri says. "There's nothing that I haven't lived with every single day."
Teri says she remembers feeling "a lot of shame" for knowing what would happen when she would get in the car with her uncle, and for choosing to get in anyway. "I guess I wanted that special attention. That's part of the horror and the blame of the victim," she says. "You're seduced to believe you are responsible for it."
Teri says her first reaction to Sarah's story was a feeling of empathy. "I relate to this girl's pain," she remembers thinking. "I relate to feeling the shame—like you are at fault, it's something you did, [and] you don't know how to get out of it."
Sarah's parents say their daughter was a cheerful, fun-loving girl, and her suicide came "out of the blue." Sarah's mother, Ingrid, admits that looking back, there were signs of abuse. She remembers a disturbing incident in which Stone "took a piece of chocolate out of [Sarah's] mouth with his mouth." Ingrid remembers her daughter also started avoiding Stone and "didn't want to be anywhere near him."
Ingrid says she felt guilty at the time for being suspicious. "I thought, 'You shouldn't be thinking something like this because he's a close family friend,'" she says.
Teri was surprised to learn that without Sarah's testimony, the prosecution did not have enough evidence to convict. In fact, the case was just two days from being dismissed!
Sarah's sister, Claudia, says that by speaking out Teri not only achieved justice for her sister but also helped the family better understand Sarah's state of mind. Ingrid says she is also grateful. In a special video message, she thanks Teri from the bottom of her heart.
Her mother's selfless nature inspired the title of Teri's book Burnt Toast. "It was an expression that came out of my mouth when I was doing a Barbara Walters special," Teri says. "I was explaining what I do, you know, that I eat the burnt toast. I take what is last, and I learned that from my mother."
When Teri celebrated her 40th birthday, she says she began to reevaluate her life and how she wanted to live it. "I thought, 'I don't want to do this anymore. There has to be a balance between taking everything for yourself or taking nothing...and in the middle is the golden buttery brown toast,'" she says.
While searching for that perfect piece of toast, Teri sat down and wrote her book, which Oprah describes as a "personal journey to self-acceptance." The book doesn't discuss Teri's sexual abuse, but it does tackle Hollywood rumors, her sex-starved marriage, single motherhood and a string of ill-fated romances.
Teri can even pinpoint the exact day she conceived her daughter, Emerson. "It was the only time we had sex that year—Valentine's Day," she says.
Looking back, Teri now understands why she stayed in a relationship that lacked intimacy. Sex wasn't the issue...Teri's problems could be traced back to the abuse she suffered as a child.
Since the divorce, Teri says she's done a lot of work on herself and now she's looking for love!
"[I] really want to have sex," she says. "[I] really want to find somebody that I can trust and go deep with and [have] crazy wild sex...did I say sex?"
"[There are] no catfights on the set [of Desperate Housewives]. I'm not anorexic. I don't make $285,000 an episode. I haven't renegotiated my contract. I'm not trying to get off the show because I want to do movies," she says.
Teri's love life has also attracted a lot of unwanted attention. In March 2006, she was photographed kissing American Idol host Ryan Seacrest on a secluded beach. Oprah wants to know...what's the deal with that?
"It's such a non-story" Teri says. "All the things you read in the tabloids about me and men are really non-stories."
Teri says she and Ryan were set up by a mutual friend, and after two group dinners, they met for a lunch date at an out-of-the-way location. "Interestingly enough, I haven't seen him since that day," she says. "We knew that the [pictures] had been taken, which must have bothered him enough. An hour after he dropped me off, he called to say, 'I don't think I can do this with you.'"
"That was really fabricated," she says. "We went to one dinner back in December, and that was it. No kissing."
Both Teri and George denied that they were an item, but reports about their relationship continued to appear in magazines. "Boy, they would not let go of that one! I read things about how he sent me a teddy bear and chocolates for Valentine's Day, and I'm in my mailbox going, 'Did he really? Because I didn't get them,'" she says. "Now they actually refer to him as my ex-boyfriend. It's hilarious."
"Then there's also the fake hair...everybody puts in the fake hair," she says. "It's all very fake—the whole thing."
Teri draws the line when it comes to Botox. "I just don't want to put weird things in my body," she says. "I'm not 25, and I would like to stop having to try to look like I'm 25. Being 41, maybe it's an age where I feel like I want to embrace my inner beauty more than what's going on out here."
Just one week before landing Desperate Housewives, Teri had a disastrous audition for another ABC sitcom. "Not only did I not get it, the feedback was sort of like, 'You had a chip on your shoulder,'" she remembers.
After hearing the negative reaction, Teri says she cried for about 18 hours. That same day her manager called to tell her about the Desperate Housewives audition. She desperately needed a job, but she says she knew she wouldn't get the part looking like "a wreck." She asked her manager to move the audition, and, a week later, Teri walked into the Desperate Housewives audition with a fresh attitude. "[I thought,] it's a new day. It's a new opportunity, and I'm just going to be me," she says. "It was one of those auditions that goes so well that you walk out and you go, 'I don't even care if I get this because that went as well as it could go.'"
After two seasons, Teri says she loves her job more than ever. "I love the role of Susan," she says. "I've never, ever had such a great role. I have more fun playing her today than I ever did when we started."
Since landing her role on Desperate Housewives, Teri says her life has been turned upside down, but the important things in life have remained the same. "In a way, [life] hasn't changed. I still have the same friends," she says. "I just have more opportunities, and one of the greatest things is what you're able to give back."
Teri says she hopes that she's setting a positive example for her daughter, Emerson. "I hope to eat less burnt toast than my mother did, and I hope [Emerson] never eats any," she says.
When looking back on her life, Teri says she doesn't want people to remember her only as a victim of sexual abuse. "I want to be defined as what I am," she says, "which is a woman, a mother, an actress, a friend and a molestation survivor."