Suzanne Somers’ husband, Alan Hamel, is opening up about her death — and how the couple thought he was going to die first, due to their age difference.
Somers, 76, died in the early morning hours of Oct. 15. A cause of death was not directly disclosed, but she lived with breast cancer for 23 years, Hay said in a statement to NBC News on behalf of the Somers family.
“My life is going to change,” Hamel, 87, shared on TODAY Oct. 17 while reflecting on Somers’ death. “I don’t care one way or another, and we had talked about this day coming, and we thought it was going to be me because I’m 10 years older.”
He continued that the “idea of her being alone” was a “terrible conundrum” for him.
Hamel wrote a letter to Somers about their “magical” 55 years together, which she read the night before she died, the actor’s publicist R. Couri Hay confirmed to NBC News Oct. 16.
In his letter, written in all-caps, Hamel said the many everyday uses of the word “love” can’t compare to what he feels for Somers.
“It’s not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction. Unconditional love does not do it. I’ll take a bullet for you doesn’t do it. I weep when I think about my feelings for you. Feelings … That’s getting close, but not all the way.”
Hamel closed his letter by saying “there are no words,” “actions,” “promises,” or “declarations” that are a sufficient description for his feelings.
“So I will call it, ‘Us,’ he said, “Uniquely, magically, indescribably wonderful ‘Us.'”
Keep reading for more about Somers and Hamel’s relationship.
Who is Alan Hamel, Suzanne Somers’ husband?
The “Three’s Company” actor was married to Hamel, a producer and actor from Toronto, for 46 years. The couple married in 1977 after nearly a decade of dating.
Both had been previously married. Somers has a son from her marriage to her first husband, Bruce Somers. Hamel also has children from his marriage to Marilyn Hamel, his first wife.
What did Suzanne Somers say about her marriage to Alan Hamel?
Somers told Us Weekly in 2021 that loving Hamel was “the most beautiful part” of her life.
“We give each other a lot of attention. That seems simple, but you’d be amazed at how many couples don’t remember to give one another a lot of attention,” she said. “It’s not, like, a chore for us. I love to hug him and rub his hair. He tells me I’m beautiful all the time and we hold hands while we sleep. It’s the most beautiful part of my life.”
On TODAY With Hoda & Jenna Oct. 16, Jenna Bush Hager shared her memory of the actor and her husband.
“A couple of years ago I got to go out and visit her, at her home, with her husband, and it was so much fun because in some ways, and this is crazy: They felt like the really young people. She was cracking me up talking about, you know, sex and things and how in love she was …. But the main thing about her was that she chose to be wildly in love with life,” Jenna said.
How did Suzanne Somers meet her husband?
Somers and Hamel met after she worked as a prize model on the game show he hosted, “The Anniversary Game,” which premiered in 1969.
Somers didn’t last long on the show: She was let go from the position at the end of her first day for not knowing which camera to look into, she said in an interview with the Television Academy posted to YouTube in 2010.
“And I went home so dejected,” she said. “But Alan Hamel, who was the host of that show, had found my phone number on the (paperwork). He shouldn’t have been reading it but he found it and called me. And here we are.”
Hamel eventually worked as Somers’ manager
Hamel became Somers’ manager during her “Three’s Company” days in the late ’70s and early ’80s.
“When Suzanne was doing ‘Three’s Company,’ I was doing a television series in Canada,” Hamel said in a 2006 interview with Inc. Magazine, as cited by People. “I noticed her manager was making a lot of short-term deals for her, not career-oriented, long-term deals. I wanted to stop doing the TV show in Canada, so we decided to terminate the manager and I’d take over. We’ve been doing it that way ever since.”
The couple also collaborated on a classic ThighMaster commercial in which the camera starts at Somers’ feet and pans up as Hamel’s voice says, “Great legs!”
Somers told Inc. Magazine that the idea for the commercial actually came from a genuine moment with her husband.
“I’d just bought a pair of Manolo Blahnik shoes for $560. Like any wife, I’m thinking, ‘How am I going to tell my husband I spent almost $600 on a pair of shoes?’ I was in my dressing room in my underwear, and I thought, this is the perfect time to show him,” Somers told Inc., as cited by People. “So I walked out in a bra and panties and my new high heels, and I watched my husband’s eyes go up from the shoes to my legs.
“And he said, ‘Great legs!’ And I thought — that’s the commercial. We’ll pan up, showing my legs, using my husband’s voice to narrate, ‘Great legs!’ We ended up selling over 10 million ThighMasters,” she said.
What did Alan Hamel write in his love letter to Suzanne Somers?
Below is the full text of the love letter Hamel penned to Somers, which she read the night before she died.
“Love I use it every day, sometimes several times a day. I use it at the end of emails to my loving family. I even use it in emails to close friends. I use it when I’m leaving the house.”
“There’s love, then love you and I love you!! Therein lies some of the different ways we use love. Sometimes I feel obliged to use love, responding to someone who signed love in their email, when I’m uncomfortable using lose but I use it anyway.”
“I also use love to describe a great meal. I use it to express how I feel about a show on Netflix. I often use love referring to my home, my cat Gloria, to things Gloria does, to the taste of a cantaloupe I grew in my garden. I love the taste of a freshly harvested organic royal jumbo medjool date. I love biting a fig off the tree. I love watching two giant blackbirds who live nearby swooping by my window in a power dive. My daily live encompasses things and people I love and things and people I am indifferent to.
“I could do on ad infinitum, but you get it. What brand of love do I feel for my wife Suzanne? Can I find it in any of the above? A Resounding no!!!! There is no version of the word that is applicable to Suzanne and I even use the word applicable advisedly.”
“The closest version in words isn’t even close. It’s not even a fraction of a fraction of a fraction. Unconditional love does not do it. I’ll take a bullet for you doesn’t do it. I weep when I think about my feelings for you. Feelings… That’s getting close, but not all the way.
“55 years together, 46 married and not even one hour apart for 42 of those years. Even that doesn’t do it. Even going to bed at 6:00 and holding hands while we sleep doesn’t do it. Staring at your beautiful face while you sleep doesn’t do it.
“I’m back to feelings. There are no words. There are no actions. No promises. No declarations. Even the green shaded scholars of the Oxford University Press have spent 150 years and still have failed to come up with that one word. So I will call it, ‘Us,’ uniquely, magically, indescribably wonderful ‘Us.'”
Alan Hamel recalled his final moments with Suzanne Somers before her death
Hamel told TODAY on Oct. 17 that he wasn’t “surprised” by Somers’ passing.
“I wouldn’t say I was surprised. She was heavy breathing at the very end and I gave her a pill to relax the breathing, but it didn’t work,” he said.
He said he’s tried to stay positive.
“And I was grateful that I was with her when she left us. And it was very peaceful and it was beautiful. And she was beautiful. And we had the whole family come and they’ve been here ever since. And we’ve been very upbeat about what’s going on. There hasn’t been a grim moment. Every time I feel it coming on, I leave the room so I can be alone. But that’s life, I don’t know what else to do.”
Hamel said in the weeks leading up to her death, “she was doing OK. Not great, but she was doing OK.”
“And we had conversations. We faced reality like who knows what’s going to happen down the road,” he added.
Hamel is remembering the “amazing” person his wife was.
“She was an amazing, amazing woman,” he said. “Aside from all her accomplishments, she was an amazing wife and an amazing mother, as well. She’s the one who pulled our family together. I didn’t do it. She did it. She really knew what she was doing. So I will miss her.”
Randi Richardson is a reporter for NBC News’ TODAY.com based in Brooklyn.