Delta Burke’s Inspiring Journey: Overcoming Weight Shaming and Finding Love with a Supportive Partner at 66

Delta Burke, a former beauty queen, gained popularity in her twenties for her role as Suzanne Sugarbaker on the hit television comedy “Designing Women.” She received two Emmy nominations for her outstanding performance. Despite her success, she has faced body shaming and ridicule for her weight for a long time. However, her husband, Gerald McRaney, stood up for her publicly, describing her as “gorgeous” at the age of 66.

McRaney played the role of Sugarbaker’s ex-husband, Dash Goff, on the sitcom in 1987. They fell in love off-screen and tied the knot in an extravagant wedding ceremony in 1989, attended by 500 of their closest friends, including their “Designing Women” co-stars. Burke had also won a beauty pageant in real life, being crowned Miss Florida during her high school years at Orlando’s Colonial High School.

Despite her achievements, Burke has struggled with her weight, which has had an impact on her acting career. She has been subjected to cruel taunts and body shaming, causing her confidence to plummet. Her show’s ratings decreased, and she lost touch with her co-star, Dixie Carter. The stress of constant ridicule and criticism made it difficult for her to lose weight, and she lost hope and the will to live.

Burke decided to address her weight increase head-on by asking the show’s creator, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, to dedicate an episode of “Designing Women” to her struggles. The episode, titled “They Shoot Fat Women, Don’t They?” showed Burke’s character being teased by friends for her weight gain while attending her high school reunion. Despite the episode’s success, Burke continued to be mocked off-screen, leading to a decline in her career and worsening her relationship with Dixie Carter.

Delta Burke’s weight struggles have been a significant part of her life, and despite the cruel taunts, she has always maintained her dignity. Her husband’s support has been a source of strength for her, and her decision to confront her weight issues head-on through her television show was a brave move. Burke remains an inspiration to many, reminding us that we should celebrate our bodies and not let others define us based on our appearances.

Delta Burke, an actress who gained fame for her role as Suzanne Sugarbaker in the television series “Designing Women,” has had a tumultuous journey with her weight. Despite being a former beauty queen and having been nominated for an Emmy twice, Burke has had to deal with body shaming and ridicule for most of her life. Her struggles with weight eventually had a profound impact on her personal and professional life.

Burke was mocked by many for her growing weight, which took a toll on her acting career. Despite her struggles, she tried to lose weight, but the constant taunting and ridiculing made it challenging. Burke’s show ratings decreased, and her stress levels increased, causing her to lose the will to live.

In an effort to address the issue head-on, Burke urged the show’s creator to dedicate an episode to her weight gain. The episode titled “They Shoot Fat Women, Don’t They?” depicted Burke being teased by friends for her weight during her high school reunion. Despite the episode winning her an Emmy nomination, she continued to be mocked off-screen, and her profession suffered as a result.

Moreover, Burke’s relationship with her “Designing Women” co-star, Dixie Carter, worsened as her confidence plummeted more. While they were once close friends, they had a falling out due to issues with the show’s management.

Burke’s weight struggles also had a significant impact on her public image. She went from being a press darling to their favorite target, with disc jockeys writing a song titled “Delta Dawn, how many pounds have you put on?” Even the media published intimate details about Burke and her husband, McRaney, affecting their personal life.

On set, Burke couldn’t escape the maltreatment, as everyone spoke about her as if she wasn’t there. The bad media attention and constant ridicule caused Burke to develop depression, leading her to depend on medication and therapy to cope with it.

Burke’s husband, McRaney, publicly stood up for her, acknowledging her beauty despite her weight. Despite her struggles, Burke continues to be an inspiration for many, demonstrating the importance of self-love and acceptance.

Carter accompanied Burke to the hospital after she became physically and mentally exhausted during the fifth season of “Designing Women.” At the time, rumors circulated that Burke had been suspended and was causing issues on set. There were also reports that she would be terminated if she did not lose weight. However, co-executive producer Bloodworth-Thomason denied these claims and likened the situation to the idea that gaining weight meant one had no right to live in America. Despite this, tensions were high behind the scenes, and Burke was ultimately fired from the show in 1991.

After her departure, Burke struggled but attempted to revive her beloved Sugarbaker character in the series “Delta” in 1992. Unfortunately, the sitcom was canceled a year later in 1993. In 1995, CBS aired “Women of the House,” a sitcom based on Suzanne Sugarbaker and created by Thomason, but it only lasted three months on the air.

When Burke left “Designing Women” in 1991, she weighed 215 pounds and assumed that her Type 2 diabetes was a result of her weight. The media criticized her weight, and even her six-month marriage to McRaney was the subject of scrutiny. They implied that McRaney was unfaithful because his wife was overweight.

Burke revealed that she had pitched an idea to Thomason about incorporating her weight into the show. She wrote a moving script that made her husband cry. Despite the rumors and negative publicity surrounding their marriage, Burke and McRaney worked to save their relationship. McRaney stood by her side, regardless of her weight, and was always there to support her when she was feeling down. On the day of their wedding, Burke weighed 170 pounds, and her husband remained unfazed by her weight.

McRaney, an American actor, had some thoughts to share about love and marriage. He stated that if you want a wife, you must love that person, no matter what. There are cases where guys are only interested in having a “trophy” wife, but most of the time, things don’t work out for them. McRaney met his future wife, Delta Burke when she weighed 150 pounds. Burke struggled with her weight for years, but her husband always loved her regardless of her size. He described her as a lot smarter and tougher than he is.

Despite the difficulties Burke faced, her husband has always been there for her. In one instance, Burke tried to leave a meeting with the executive producer of her TV show, but he forcefully restrained her. However, when he found out that Burke’s husband was on his way, he stopped his abusive behavior. Through financial struggles and job losses, their marriage remained strong. In 1995, they sold their Pasadena house and moved to New Orleans, which helped their marriage.

Burke was able to reconstruct her life and started a plus-size clothing business. In 1997, she toured the nation with her book, “Delta Style.” Burke, now 66 years old, is described as “gorgeous” by admirers as she cherishes life with her husband and stepchildren. They even lived with Burke’s mother in the mid-2000s, and she praised McRaney for assisting her in overcoming adversity.

McRaney did not care about Burke’s weight gain over the years. He always paid close attention to her health and advised her on what to eat, even administering her insulin injections. Burke described her spouse as “amazing” and felt loved and cared for by him. Despite the challenges they faced, their love for each other remained strong.

Burke shared her happiness about being in good health, expressing her gratitude for it. She firmly believes that her health will continue to improve, and that period of her life will always hold a special place in her heart. Recently, Burke and her husband McRaney were spotted together in February 2023, leading people to notice that she looked different. Although they prefer a low-key lifestyle, admirers have taken to social media to comment on her exceptional beauty and talent. They applaud her for establishing her own clothing line, showcasing her excellent sense of fashion.

Burke has taken a step back from the spotlight, making minimal public appearances and having no online presence, while her husband continues to perform. The couple has been together for over three decades after tying the knot on May 28, 1989. McRaney has three kids from his previous marriages, including daughters Jessica and Kate and a son named Angus. Beverly Root was McRaney’s first wife, whom he married in 1966 but divorced in 1971. He later married Pat Moran in 1981, but the couple divorced in 1989.

The couple made their first public appearance in November 2014 in Studio City, California, after Burke collapsed on the set of her pilot “Counter Culture” in 2012, resulting in the termination of production. Burke stated that she was content despite a lack of work opportunities.

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