Delta Burke, a former beauty queen and television actress, faced a constant battle with her weight throughout her twenties. Despite her efforts to maintain a slim figure, she was subjected to body-shaming after gaining weight, nearly destroying her life. She suffered from rumors and criticism that affected her marriage, but she persevered and overcame these challenges with the support of her husband, Gerald McRaney. The couple, who fell in love on set, have been married for 33 years and continue to stand by each other’s side through thick and thin.

Burke’s career took off in her twenties, thanks to her role as Suzanne Sugarbaker on the popular television sitcom “Designing Women.” The Florida native’s outstanding performance in the show earned her two Emmy nominations. Despite harsh criticism for her weight gain, Burke remained resilient and continued to shine in her career and personal life.

Actress Delta Burke as Suzanne Sugarbaker in the CBS television series “Designing Women” on January 1, 1987

Source: Getty Images


Delta Burke, the famous actress, found true love on the set of “Designing Women” with her co-star, Gerald McRaney. After dating for a few years, they tied the knot in a grand ceremony in 1989, which their co-stars and over 500 guests attended.

Delta Burke as Suzanne Sugarbaker in the CBS television series “Designing Women” on January 1, 1990, | Source: Getty Images

Despite her successful acting career and beauty queen title, Burke has faced severe body shaming her entire life, which has affected her mental health and acting career. People ridiculed her for gaining weight, causing her to lose her friendship with co-star Dixie Carter and negatively impacting her ratings on “Designing Women.”

Burke tried to manage her weight by going on diets, but the constant bullying and mocking led to increased stress levels. In a courageous move, Burke asked the show’s creator, Linda Bloodworth-Thomason, to create an episode focused on her weight gain during Season 4 of “Designing Women.”

The episode “They Shoot Fat Women, Don’t They” showcased Burke’s character being ridiculed for her weight gain by her high school friends at a reunion. By confronting the issue head-on, Burke empowered herself to take control of her life and continue to succeed in her career and personal life.

Delta Burke as Suzanne Sugarbaker on “Designing Women” on January 1, 1990, in Los Angeles | Source: Getty Images

During the “Designing Women” episode titled “They Shoot Fat Women, Don’t They,” Burke’s co-stars mocked her weight gain, making hurtful comments like “I hear her former husbands left because they couldn’t get enough to eat.” Despite earning an Emmy nomination for the episode, the mockery continued off-screen, negatively affecting Burke’s confidence and career.

Sadly, Burke’s friendship with her “Designing Women” co-star, Dixie Carter, also suffered due to her struggles. The pair first met in 1982 while working on the comedy show “Filthy Rich,” and have been close friends ever since. However, the constant scrutiny and ridicule surrounding Burke’s weight led to tensions between them, ultimately straining their friendship.

(L-R) Delta Burke (as Suzanne Sugarbaker), Dixie Carter (as Julia Sugarbaker), Jean Smart (as Charlene Frazier Stillfield), and Annie Potts (as Mary Jo Shively) in the TV show “Designing Women” on August 1, 1986, in Los Angeles | Source: Getty Images

The long-standing friendship between Delta Burke and Dixie Carter hit a snag when Burke’s relationship with “Designing Women” management became strained. This caused a ripple effect, and their friendship suffered as well.

After a lengthy silence, Carter finally spoke out about their fractured relationship in June 2000. She emphasized their “close” bond and stated that she loves Burke and always will, but their friendship and when they reunite should not be a public spectacle.

During the interview, Carter expressed her support and well-wishes for her estranged friend and husband. She expressed her joy at all the good things happening in Burke’s life, even as their relationship remained strained.

Actors Delta Burke and Gerald McRaney at the Hollywood Women’s Press Club 47th Annual Golden Apple Awards at Beverly Wilshire Hotel on December 13, 1987, in Beverly Hills | Source: Getty Images

Delta Burke’s weight issues impacted her career, causing a complete transformation in how the public viewed her. According to Jean Smart, one of Burke’s former co-stars, she went from being the media’s favorite to become their favorite target. Even radio presenters joined in on the mocking and teasing, making a cruel song about her weight gain called “Delta Dawn, how many pounds have you put on?” Burke was heartbroken by the ridicule she faced, and it was a difficult time for her emotionally.

Delta Burke at the 40th Annual Women’s Luncheon of the 500 Club at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on November 4, 1991, in Beverly Hills | Source: Getty Images

The negative media attention that Burke received turned into a full-blown crisis when they started airing private information about her and her husband, McRaney. This was completely new territory for her, and to make matters worse, they attacked her career with a viciousness that she found shocking. She had worked hard to build up a good reputation in the industry, and it was disheartening to see all her efforts being tarnished by their cruel remarks. Even on set, the mistreatment continued, with people talking about her in a derogatory manner, as if she wasn’t even there. Burke recalled one instance on the soundstage where they were discussing what to dress her in, and all they could focus on were her hips. She felt belittled and undervalued as if her worth was tied to her appearance.

Delta Burke at the taping of Bob Hope’s TV Special “Bob Hope’s Yellow Ribbon Party” at Bob Hope’s Palm Springs home on March 31, 1991, | Source: Getty Images

Delta Burke’s struggles with her weight severely affected her mental and emotional well-being. She battled with depression and leaned on medication and therapy to cope. However, when she returned to work for the third season, things spiraled out of control, and she began having panic attacks. Her exhaustion was both physical and mental, and her friend, Carter, took her to a doctor, where she was admitted. Burke recalled that she felt like a wounded animal during that time and wished she didn’t exist. She even revealed that when she was weighed, and the scale showed 170 pounds, she felt hopeless and wanted to die.

Delta Burke attends the 43rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on August 25, 1991, in Pasadena, California | Source: Getty Images

Despite co-executive producer Bloodworth-Thomason’s denial of reports that Suzanne Sugarbaker actress Delta Burke was causing disruptions on the set of “Designing Women” and would be fired if she didn’t lose weight, tensions still ran high, and Burke was let go in 1991. She attempted to revive her character in a new show called “Delta” in 1992, which lasted only one year. Thomason’s new show “Women of the House” in 1995, also based on Suzanne Sugarbaker, was canceled after less than three months.

When Burke left “Designing Women” in 1991, she weighed 215 pounds, and she believes that her weight may have contributed to her later diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes. The press constantly bullied her about her weight, and her six-month-old marriage to actor Gerald McRaney also became a target of media scrutiny, insinuating that he was cheating on her because of her weight. The actress recounted that the media claimed that McRaney was responsible for her weight gain and that they were having marital troubles.

Gerald McRaney and his wife, Delta Burke, during the 42nd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium on September 16, 1990, in Pasadena, California | Source: Getty Images

In a recent interview, Burke revealed that she had suggested to Thomason that she integrate her weight into the show. Thomason was impressed with the idea and created an amazing script that left Burke’s husband, McRaney, in tears.

Despite facing negative rumors and bad press that almost caused a strain in their marriage, Burke and McRaney worked hard to maintain their relationship. McRaney, affectionately known as “Mac,” had nothing but positive things to say about his wife. Their love and commitment to each other shine through, even in the face of adversity. It’s a true testament to the strength of their bond and serves as an inspiration to many.

McRaney’s Unwavering Support: How He Stood Up for Burke During Tough Times

Weight was never an issue for McRaney when it came to his wife, Burke. He remained a supportive partner throughout their marriage, even going out of his way to comfort her on set when she was upset. Despite Burke’s worries about her weight, McRaney’s love for her was never affected. He proved that true love sees beyond the look and remains steadfast through life’s challenges.

Delta Burke and Gerald McRaney at the taping of the TV special “Bob Hope’s Yellow Ribbon Party” on March 31, 1991, in Palm Springs | Source: Getty Images

McRaney boldly stated that some men are satisfied with having a “trophy” wife they don’t love. However, he believes that if someone truly wants a wife, they will love that person regardless of their flaws or challenges. When McRaney met his wife, she weighed 150 pounds, which did not matter to him. Despite her struggles with weight and other issues, McRaney loves and admires his wife for her wisdom and strength. This shows that true love is not based on superficial factors but on a deeper appreciation and respect for one’s partner.

Burke is grateful for her husband’s unconditional love, as he has always accepted and supported her through thick and thin. Even when she gained weight and changed her hair color, McRaney continued loving her. Despite her doubts about her body, McRaney still finds her attractive, which is a testament to the strength of their bond. Burke also values her husband’s protection and support, knowing he will always be there for her when she needs him. Their relationship is a great example of how love can endure life’s challenges and uncertainties.

Gerald McRaney and Delta Burke during the after-party of her Broadway debut in “Thoroughly Modern Millie” at The Marquis Theater on September 30, 2003, in New York City | Source: Getty Images

Delta Burke and Gerald McRaney at the Mark Hotel on October 11, 1995, in New York City | Source: Getty Images

When the show’s executive producer, Harry Thomason, unleashed his anger on the cast and crew and even threw objects at them, Burke was not afraid to speak out against his mistreatment. She attempted to leave the room, but Thomason physically prevented her. His behavior only stopped when he discovered that Burke’s husband was going to the production office. Despite such difficult situations, the couple remained united and stood by each other’s side. When Burke lost her job and faced financial struggles in 1995, they decided to sell their home in Pasadena and move to New Orleans. This move ultimately proved to be beneficial for their relationship and strengthened their bond even further. It is a great example of how adversity can bring couples closer together and reinforce their commitment to each other.

Moving to New Orleans proved to be a turning point in Burke’s life, as she overcame her struggles and started anew. She used her experiences to inspire and empower others, launching a clothing line for plus-size women and embarking on a nationwide book tour for her work, “Delta Style,” in 1997. Through her hard work and determination, Burke rebuilt her life and pursued her passions. Her story serves as a reminder that even in the face of adversity, overcoming challenges and achieving success are possible.

Burke & Her Happier Life with Her Husband After Being Fired from ‘Designing Women

Delta Birke and Gerald McRaney pictured in the press room during the 2017 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 10, 2017, in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

At 66, Burke’s beauty still captivates her fans as she enjoys her life with her loving husband and stepchildren. During the mid-2000s, the couple lived with Burke’s mother, and McRaney proved to be a rock for his wife during trying times. Burke credits her husband for always being supportive and accepting of her, regardless of her weight gain. McRaney even took on the responsibility of caring for her health by giving her insulin shots and advising her on her diet. His actions showed Burke that he truly cared for her and her well-being. Their story is a testament to the power of love and the importance of supporting one another through thick and thin.

Delta Burke and Gerald McRaney at the NBC Summer TCA Press Tour at Jillian’s Hi-Life Lanes, Universal City on July 19, 2000, | Source: Getty Images

The Hollywood couple enjoys taking leisurely walks together to stay fit and healthy. According to Burke, they are both in good health and feeling great, which gives her confidence that she can continue improving her health. She looks forward to celebrating this time with her loving husband by her side.

In addition to feeling good, fans have noticed Burke’s stunning appearance. Even though she and McRaney have been leading a low-key life lately, they were recently spotted in February 2023, and Burke’s appearance was reportedly different. It’s clear that the actress is still taking care of herself and maintaining her beauty, despite the passage of time. Her story inspires many, proving that with hard work and dedication, we can all look and feel our best at any age.

Delta Burke and Gerald McRaney during the 2017 Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 10, 2017, in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

Despite being out of the public eye, Burke still has a strong fan base who admires her beauty and talent. On social media, fans often express their admiration for her stunning appearance, with one user commenting that she is “gorgeous,” while another said she looks “beautiful.” Moreover, fans also recognize her for her impressive entrepreneurial skills, developing her clothing line that showcases her excellent sense of fashion.

Gerald McRaney as Dash Goff and Delta Burke as Suzanne Sugarbaker in the television show “Women of the House” on January 4, 1995, | Source: Getty Images

Although Burke has withdrawn from the spotlight, her husband, McRaney, continues to act. The couple has been married for over three decades, having tied the knot on May 28, 1989. While Burke has no biological children, McRaney has three from his two previous marriages, namely daughters Jessica and Kate and son Angus.

Before marrying Burke, McRaney had two previous marriages that ended in divorce. His first wife was Beverly Root, whom he married in 1966 but divorced in 1971. He tied the knot with Pat Moran in 1981, but they went their separate ways in 1989.

Burke’s public appearances have become increasingly rare since her pilot show “Counter Culture” was canceled in 2012. Despite the lack of job opportunities, Burke remains content and happy with her life, stating that “everything is fine” and that she is “just not very excited right now.” Even though she is no longer in the public eye, her fans support and admire her.

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