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Fran Drescher appears in a still from her TV series, Happily Divorced. - Provided courtesy of TV Land

Fran Drescher on her gay ex-husband who inspired her new show 'Happily Divorced'

Get more: TV
06/13/2011 by Olivia Allin

Fran Drescher, who is best known for her role in the 1990s comedy series "The Nanny," is returning to television to star in the new TV Land series, "Happily Divorced."

The storyline was inspired by Drescher's real-life marriage of 21-years to Peter Marc Jacobson, who came out of the closet after their divorce in 1999. Jacobson and Drescher co-created the series.

"He had already been living a gay life away from me after we divorced, and he said, 'I don't want you to be shocked. I'm dating men,'" Drescher told People magazine.

In the show, which premieres on June 15 on TV Land, the 53-year-old actress will play a Los Angeles florist who is forced back into the dating pool after learning her husband of 18-years Peter (Michael Higgins) is gay. Since neither of them can afford to move out of their home, they're stuck living together which makes moving on with her new man Elliot (guest star D.W. Moffett) difficult. The show also stars Tichina Arnold as Fran's best friend and Rita Moreno and Robert Walden as her parents.

Drescher is a rape and cancer survivor, as detailed in her 2002 book "Cancer Schmancer" and admitted that she was ready to whether whatever came her way by the time her husband came out as gay.

"During our marriage he had told me he might be bisexual, but he wanted to stay married," Drescher continued. "By the time he told me, I had survived uterine cancer. Nothing could shake me."

The spirited actress now considers her ex-husband one of her best friends and doesn't hold any hard feelings.

"It's great that we had the ability and the wisdom to reinvent our relationship. All those years weren't for nothing," Drescher said. "We're very tight. We're best friends."

After "The Nanny" ended in 1999, the actress starred in shows such as "Living with Fran," "What I Like About You" and "Entourage." Charles Shaughnessy, who played her boss Maxwell Sheffield on "The Nanny," also starred in "Living With Fran." He also appeared in shows like "Mad Men" and "Days of Our Lives" and voices Land Rover commercials.

Drescher has worked to support homosexual rights since her ex-husband came out. She has also been a healthcare advocate and was appointed Public Diplomacy Envoy for Women's Health Issues by the U.S. State Department in 2008.

Watch a teaser for "Happily Divorced" below.

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