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Fame & Fortune
Delta Burke
She learned life's financial lessons the hard way
Celebrity interview

Fame & Fortune: Delta Burke

A lot of people think that's it and that's when the disappointment comes in to realize you've worked this hard and reached a certain level, but it's not really bringing you happiness and that it will not last that long, especially for women in show business.

The first time I had that kind of money and was madly in love, found someone I wanted to marry, which I never thought I would, we spent our money so foolishly. We lived really well though, and being we were pretty much a couple of hicks from the South, when I first saw our house we got in Pasadena, I said, 'Oh honey, it's just like Tara; we can't ever lose it.'

I was so happy there and put all my money into decorating it. It cost millions just to keep it up and I thought this is how life is going to be, which is stupid because you're not both going to be on hit sitcoms the rest of your life.

Bankrate: I know at one point, you two had homes in Telluride, New Orleans and L.A. Do you still?

Delta Burke: No, we sold Telluride really close to when we got married. We bought too many properties and it cost so much to keep up the houses -- it took a couple of million to keep up the house and grounds. Then you've got people -- assistants and all the others you're paying -- at $400,000 a year. We were both taking care of our families, too.

We only have the L.A. home now. And it was really hard because once you've had a taste of it, you want to keep that lifestyle. It's so bizarre at first -- I was so excited I could buy a house at the end of the first season of "Designing Women." Dixie Carter asked if I had servants and I said no, I don't like people in my house; I like my privacy. And she said oh you must have them ... she had always had money and servants. I got me a maid and, by golly, I liked that.

Finally you're at a point where you've got the maid, the cook, and you've got a lady who just irons your bed sheets. You could finally buy that car you always coveted, which my agent later crashed when I let him drive it. You could buy places for your parents and family and take care of them. I kept a lot of people going. I was doing all the savings and all that stuff and you have your corporations and all that but we bought too many properties. You can't keep it all up so piece by piece, it would go and that was hard.

I didn't want to leave Los Angeles, but Mac had been wanting to get out of L.A. for a long time. That's when my clothing line started and I figured I'd devote the next few years to that so I went with it. Later on, I thought I had to go back to L.A., but the business had changed so much. There weren't those TV movies anymore.

I don't know how anyone can feel financially secure enough in this business unless you have multimillions. Now I'm 51 and my husband is 60, so you're in these different categories and not getting so much work. But I'm looking forward to playing a lot of great old-lady parts once my vanity allows it.

Bankrate.com's corrections policy -- Posted: May 16, 2008
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