A person’s story is made up of the journey that brought them to where they are today. This rollercoaster of life means that in order to celebrate the joy in the highs, we have to cling tight to our faith in the lows.
That’s just what actor Kelsey Grammer has learned through his lifetime of tragedy.
As a child, the ’90s sitcom star had a “spiritual youth,” but a series of unfortunate events made it difficult to keep the faith at such a young age.
At the tender age of 12 years old, cancer took the life of Grammer’s 63-year-old grandfather. Just two years later, his father was shot and killed in a home invasion.
Losing the two most important men in his life in such a short amount of time was a lot to handle at just 14 years old. Still, he processed it by clinging tight to the faith he’d always known.
But the tragedy didn’t stop there.
In 1975, Grammer’s sister, Karen, was raped and murdered. Just five years later, two of his half-brothers died in a diving accident.
The constant heartbreak challenged Grammer’s faith, and at one point he admits, “I probably lost it.”
“There was a time when I abandoned the effort to find a reason to be alive,” he says.
While filming Cheers, Grammer turned to alcohol to numb the pain of his past. It was a destructive choice, and one that has plagued him for a solid chunk of his adult life.
“I was running away from the feelings that weren’t, you know, as comfortable as I wanted them to do be, and maybe I do have a self-destructive part of me.”
Though he spent some time in and out of rehab, the abuse only became worse. Once his time filming Cheers came to an end, Grammer turned to cocaine for his new escape.
Drunk driving charges landed him in jail before the actor made a conscious and committed effort to get clean and sober for good.
It was around this time when Grammer finally surrendered his life—and everything that was out of his human control—to God.
By the late ’90s, he had figured out how to manage his pain in a healthy way.
“I just put [that pain] where it is: in the past,” said Grammer. “But it’s a pain that you can always stumble into again—it’s with you 24/7, especially in the case of tragic death, and there have been a few of those. It’s just part of life. Maybe I learned a little earlier than most, but it’s just the way it goes.”
After three failed marriages, Grammer found love in his now fourth wife, British former flight attendant Kayte Walsh.
But in 2008, he suffered a heart attack, and the couple endured several heartbreaking miscarriages.
“Kayte and I had a couple of miscarriages before we had our first child,” he admitted. “That was devastating. These things are hard. But when it’s good, it’s magnificent.”
Today, by the grace of God, Grammer is alive and thriving. He’s called “dad” by his seven children: 33-year-old Spencer, 25-year-old Greer, 15-year-old Mason, 12-year-old Jude, 5-year-old Faith, 2-year-old Kelsey Jr. and 8-month-old Auden.
It’s taken a lot of years, and there’s been an enormous amount of heartache, but Grammer finally found his way back to the foundational rock that is Jesus Christ.
“As a Christian, we always fail because we can’t become Christ,” he said. “But I can try to at least emulate the best qualities, even if I may fall short.”