Patricia Heaton is best known for her iconic character Debra Barone in “Everybody Loves Raymond,” the enormously popular TV sitcom that ran for nine seasons and, via its widespread syndication, has become one of the most watched television series in the world.
Unlike so many other celebrities who make it big on the little screen, Heaton managed to strike ratings gold for a second time with the hit television series “The Middle,” in which she plays the lovably quirky wife and mother Frances “Frankie” Heck.
She currently has three shiny Emmy Awards on her trophy shelf, one of which is a surprising daytime Emmy for hosting a cooking series on the Food Network, aptly titled “Patricia Heaton Parties.”
Branching out from television, Heaton has taken on big screen projects as well, which include roles in “Memoirs of an Invisible Man,” “Beethoven,” “The New Age,” and “Space Jam.”
Additionally, she is a World Vision ambassador and was also one of the producers of the film, “Amazing Grace,” a 2006 drama about William Wilberforce, who dedicated his life to the abolition of slavery in 18th-century Britain.
While Heaton has experienced continued success within the entertainment business, she has nevertheless not shied away from expressing her viewpoints. She has even been willing to go against the grain on multiple occasions.
In the wokest of woke worlds, this makes her truly unique. It is especially true when it comes to her willingness to share her deeply held religious beliefs.
Heaton recently used her Instagram account to relay a touching story via video. The caption attached to the footage reads: “[There is] A lot to celebrate this month,” and she included the hashtag reference “#3years.”
While finishing a 3.5 mile hike in the hills surrounding Lake Hollywood, she tells (in a video “selfie”) of celebrating “three years of freedom from alcohol.”
Like others who have fought the addiction battle and lived to tell the tale, Heaton extends a helping hand to those dealing with similar issues.
“Message me if you are thinking about doing that, and if you are doing that now, and you need some encouragement or anything at all,” Heaton implores.
Sounds like a celebrity who really is a friend to her fans.
There is another issue that is dear to her heart, one that is not easy to champion when you live and work in Hollywood: The protection of the unborn.
Heaton is the honorary chair of Feminists for Life, a group that supports pro-life causes from a feminist perspective.
She recently posted a statement on her Twitter account that underscores her belief in the sanctity of life.
“I don’t understand why pro-life people want to know if they are ‘welcome’ to join the democrat party,” she writes, adding, “Why would any civilized person want to support a barbaric platform that champions abortion for any reason through all nine months funded by taxpayers?”
Her values appear to have been shaped by her faith upbringing, having been raised as a devout Catholic Christian. Her sister Sharon is a Dominican nun.
In 2011 Heaton revealed details about her family’s faith in an article that she wrote for Guideposts.
“We went to church as a family every Sunday.” Heaton writes. “We said grace before meals and read stories from our collection of books on the lives of the saints. God was in everything that we did and we soaked it in.”
She describes the impact of losing her mother when she was just 12 years of age, when her mother tragically suffered a brain aneurysm. As is often the case when people have to deal with enormous challenges, faith not only helps to get us through, it strengthens our innermost being in the process.
“Losing her was the hardest thing I’d ever gone through, but at the same time it cemented my belief in everything I’d been taught,” Heaton explains. “Especially that life is a journey, and it’s short, so we should live for God and do the best we can.”
The actress reminisces about a portion of her life, during which she was still struggling with her career. She went on a church mission trip to a Mexican orphanage, where she worked with other volunteers to directly assist the needy. Being part of the loving acts of charity moved her deeply.
After she returned home, she knelt down and prayed aloud. While in prayer, she explains how she experienced a realization of the real meaning of transcendent fulfillment.
“As I spoke it hit me that in all my years of praying and going to church, this was the first time that I had relinquished complete control of my life to God,” she writes.
As searchers before her, as well as those who are to come, Heaton left the faith of her childhood for a while and went off looking for other kinds of Christian worship. But her journey would lead her back home.She describes her return to the place where she first got her start with superlative phrases, “…a great joy” and “…a beautiful thing.”
Heaton once posted details on her Twitter account of an otherworldly encounter with God.
“Spent Mass internally grumbling about lame sermon; received Eucharist, knelt down, burst into tears. #NoOneExpectstheHolySpirit,” Heaton shares.
In 2019, in an appearance on the “Late Show with Stephen Colbert,” she took the opportunity to share aspects of her faith.
From Heaton’s perspective, we all have a purpose for our lives, and it has little to do with self.
“…there’s only one thing that can be the center of your life and that’s your faith. And I think I wasn’t doing that. And I think God was withholding everything until … He made sure that He was the center of my life and not the career,” Heaton says.
In January of 2021, when a whole lot of people of faith were feeling a sense of disorientation and despondency, Heaton posted words that were comforting then, and still apply all these months later.
“If you’re a common sense person, you probably don’t feel you have a home in this world right now,” she wrote.
Then she was quick to note, “If you’re a Christian, you know you were never meant to.”