Lorraine Bracco talks about her depression & 'The Sopranos'
by HBC Protocols
Melfi may have all the answers when she's counseling Tony Soprano on
the hit HBO series "The Sopranos," but actress Lorraine Bracco admits
she was actually depressed when she debuted in the role of the
a loser," she said. "A big fat loser!"
exactly what you'd expect to hear from someone who became a movie star
playing gutsy, in-your-face women.
writes about her tumultuous life in her new book, "On the Couch,"
detailing how her career began as a fantasy at age 18 when the Brooklyn
beauty became a fashion model in Paris.
fairy tale took a turn at 23 when she fell for a charming hair salon
owner, Daniel Guerard, and discovered she was pregnant.
he said, 'Well, what do you want to do?' And I said, 'Well, where I
come from you get married and you have the child.' And he very happily
said, 'OK. Let's do it," Bracco said.
years later, she met actor Harvey Keitel. "He was very intense," Bracco
said. "I was seduced." Within months they were living together in New
never married, but in 1985 their daughter, Stella, was born. Two years
later Keitel helped Bracco land a starring role opposite Tom Berenger
in the movie "Someone to Watch Over Me."
her career grew, she says her relationship with the often moody Keitel
began to unravel. He would disappear for days at a time, and she says
she learned his old drug habit had returned.
begged, I pleaded. He promised, he cried. It would be over, it would be
over … and there were months where it was fine," Bracco said.
Oscar nomination put her at the top of the married-to-the-mob list as
her relationship with Keitel hit bottom. While on location for "A
Talent for the Game," she had an affair with leading man Edward James
Olmos, and would later confess the affair to Keitel.
hated me for it. I disgusted him," she said. "That was the beginning of
the end. And I knew that. And maybe it was my way, my very immature
un-Dr. Melfi-ish way to end that relationship."
Tomei got the role, and an Oscar. Bracco was becoming increasingly
preoccupied by a bitter custody battle with Keitel over their daughter,
Stella, that would last through most of the 1990s.
became more complicated when Olmos, back in Lorraine's life, was
accused of child molestation by the teenage daughter of one of her
strongly denied the charges, and he and Bracco wed. In the end, she
retained custody of Stella, but the marriage to Olmos fell apart.
lowest point, she nearly ignored one of the few scripts that came her
way, saying she was frustrated to be offered another mob story. "That's
all they see me for," Bracco said.
rejected the part of Carmella on "The Sopranos" but was drawn to a
smaller role, the educated, professional woman. The bold choice would
finally make her a household name, yet even the role of Dr. Melfi was
not enough to lift her mood.
should have been dancing in the streets, because I'd worked so hard to
get there. And I looked at myself in the mirror, and I went 'why are
you not just jumping for joy?'" Bracco said.
new project is the Italian wine label, Bracco Wines, and she's braving
romance again with a much younger man, 32-year-old Jason Cippolla, a
driver for "The Sopranos" cast.
more intimidated than Jason because of the age difference," Bracco
said. "I was like 'Oh my God! What am I doing?'" She joked that as long
as he's older than her children, it's OK.
for Bracco, life is now "fun." "The kids are good, things are good,"
she said. "I've paid off all my bills. And I feel like a kid."
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