Whatever Happened To The Star Of Grace Under Fire?

In 1993, Grace Under Fire joined ABC's stacked lineup of sitcoms starring popular comedians with unique voices, such as Roseanne and Home Improvement. On this low-key, blue collar sitcom created by Chuck Lorre (The Big Bang Theory, Two and a Half Men), sarcastic, quick-witted, Alabama-born stand-up Brett Butler portrayed Grace Kelly (no relation to the Hollywood legend), a divorced, recovering alcoholic single mother raising three kids in a small town in Missouri. An immediate smash hit, the show remained popular until it was abruptly canceled in 1998 amidst Butler's slew of personal and professional problems. Here's a bit of what Butler has been up to since.

The set of Grace Under Fire was constantly under fire

Butler was reportedly tough to be around on the Grace Under Fire set. She fought with show brass so much that the series employed five executive producers in five years. For a February Sweeps "crossover" stunt, ABC sent the casts of its Wednesday night sitcoms—Ellen, Coach, The Drew Carey Show, and Grace Under Fire—to Las Vegas. Butler refused to take the 45-minute flight from L.A. to Vegas with the other actors and demanded ABC charter her a jet. On one taping day in Sin City, she left cast and crew waiting for more than two hours.

In 1996, Butler publicly admitted that in addition to struggling with alcoholism, she also had an addiction to prescription painkillers. Those issues certainly didn't help life at Grace Under Fire. Butler went to rehab more than once during the show's run, with an August 1997 stint temporarily shutting down production. Shortly after Butler returned to the show in January 1998, she "blew up," as an ABC insider told E!. That was the last straw—the next day, ABC suspended production on Grace Under Fire in the middle of its fifth season, effectively canceling it. Butler later took full responsibility for the show's demise, blaming her "failure to address my active addiction, by that I mean taking drugs almost to the point of dying. That will end even the worst of shows."

She may have flashed a child star

In addition to all those other incidents, there's one time in particular when Butler apparently went too far. She reportedly had an on-the-set habit of exposing her breasts (and other body parts) to co-workers ... including 12-year-old actor Jon Paul Steuer, who played her TV son, Quentin. Steuer's parents pulled him off the show in 1996, with the role of Quentin recast with actor Sam Horrigan. The craziness of Grace Under Fire and Butler's behavior was Steuer's last acting gig. He left show business altogether, moved to Portland, joined a band, and opened a vegan restaurant. Sadly, he died in January 2018 at age 33.

After the show ended, she was briefly homeless

After Grace Under Fire was canceled suddenly and mired in scandal, Brett Butler got the heck out of town. Tired of living life in the fast lane, as well as her own bad habits, Butler left her Los Angeles mansion behind and wound up living on a farm in rural Georgia — with 15 pets. Unfortunately, before long, Butler ran out of money and she had to take refuge in a homeless shelter.

She's a risky talk show guest

As the star of a smash hit TV show, and with a history as a stand-up comedian, Brett Butler was a frequent and enjoyable guest on late-night talk shows in the '90s. Butler's appearances on those kinds of shows have grown more sporadic in the last decade or so, in part because she's not as prominent as she once was, but also perhaps because of an ugly incident that occurred when she was a guest on The Late Show with David Letterman in 1996. While discussing the late Walt Disney, beloved founder of the company that owns ABC, home of Grace Under Fire, Butler made a crass joke about Disney's rumored anti-semitism. Despite not containing any of the actual dirty words one can't say on television, CBS bleeped the offending joke out of the Late Show broadcast.

She had a big comeback TV series, until it disappeared

Today's TV landscape is all about revivals. Old shows are back with their old casts and new episodes — Will & Grace, The X-Files, and Twin Peaks have proven to be both profitable for the networks and comforting for viewers. USA tried to get a similar revival craze going in the early 2000s: The cable network aimed to bring back '70s-style detective shows. The gambit didn't work. A new Kojak starring Ving Rhames (Marcellus Wallace in Pulp Fiction) lasted just nine episodes. Then a remake of McCloud, the 1970-77 fish-out-of-water detective drama that starred Dennis Weaver as a very country New Mexico deputy marshal working for the NYPD, was set to star Brett Butler in her triumphant return to series television. McCloud was supposed to debut in 2003 or 2004, but it never made to the air, and neither did another, unnamed show Butler was producing for USA around the same time.

The sitcom star is doing very serious dramas now

Twenty years removed from the end of Grace Under Fire, Butler has been dabbling in series television again. Gone are the kinds of sitcoms that dominated the air during her heyday, so she's not doing those — but she's proved she's got some dramatic chops to go along with the comic ones. In recent years, Butler has had recurring roles on shows like the daytime soap The Young and the Restless, the nighttime soap How to Get Away with Murder, and HBO's mind-bending The Leftovers.

She can read your mind

Who knows what the future holds for Brett Butler? Well, she might. And she might know what's to come for the rest of us, too. Butler claims to have psychic abilities, which she says became prominent and undeniable after she quit using drugs and alcohol. Butler isn't keeping her gift to herself: Her website offers fans a "one on one personalized Spiritual Consultation." Via a private phone conversation, Butler provides "unique insights" and "messages from the other side" to those seeking answers from the other realms. (A 30-minute session costs $50; all major credit cards are accepted.)

She kicked drugs

While it may seem like Butler hit rock bottom when ABC suddenly cancelled Grace Under Fire in early 1998, she did, but that's not the half of it. "All in one day, like a bad country song, my husband left me, I got fired, and he even gave my dog to my sister," Butler told TV Guide. "And I knew for sure it was all over [when] I went to the lot to get my stuff and armed guards escorted me." Six months later, Butler says, she finally kicked her addiction to painkillers. As of 2013, she's still clean and sober.