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Isabel Gillies

Isabel Gillies, actress and author, chronicles the demise of her first marriage in the New York Times bestseller, Happens Every Day. She takes readers through the pain of finding out about her husband’s infidelity and candidly recounts a life experience that many women can unfortunately relate to. Despite the grief, she manages to inject humor into the memoir and makes it evident how much she loves her two young boys. However heartbreaking things were for Isabel, she proves that with inner strength, optimism and a strong support system, there is always a light on the end of the tunnel. She is now happily re-married and lives in New York City with her second husband, two sons and her stepdaughter.

She recently spoke with our contributor Jeana Lee Tahnk to discuss the process of writing the book, life lessons she learned and advice she has for women who have gone through a similar experience.




In your bestselling memoir, Happens Every Day, you very honestly take readers through the breakdown of your first marriage. What motivated you to document such a personal experience?


I think it was just the story I needed to tell, so I did.



Was it difficult for you to be so open about such a painful time in your life or was it cathartic to get all your emotions out on paper?


People ask me frequently if I found writing the book cathartic and I have to say that I don't think that it was. I found it interesting to sort out how I felt about that time in my life from a distance. It didn't feel like having a good cry, it felt like breaking something down. I am emotionally in-tuned with the story, but in a very different way than I was actually going through it and I had told my version of the story orally so many times (as one does) and so it felt very natural to write it.



What was the most challenging part about going that experience with two young kids?


Knowing that something is happening that ultimately will be very difficult for them to live with and feeling like there was very little I could do to block them from it.



Who and/or what had the most significant impact in getting you through to the other side?


Well, my family and friends were incredible. I needed their wisdom and kindness and ears and I had that support, but it I think what really gets people through anything difficult is just the sheer will to survive, to be happy and to be there for whoever needs you, in my case it was my children. It's an ongoing process.


Your MommyTracked interview inspired me to order your book, Isabel, and I am looking forward to reading your story. Another example of women empowering women and breaking isolation by linking arms and truth telling. When we tell each other our stories, we shatter the "outside looking in" illusion that somehow every other woman is getting it right while we, alone, are screwing it up (and then we blame ourselves, to boot). Muriel Rukeyser said it best: "What would happen if one woman told the truth about her life? The world would split open."
Debra Condren, fellow mom and author of
Ambition Is Not A Dirty Word: A Woman's Guide To Earning Her Worth and Achieving Her Dreams (Random House/Broadway)~


I'm actually reading this book right now! I'm blazing through it. Isabel, I'm so glad you chose to tell your story. I think it's an important one to hear.

Lisa Hazen Design & Editorial