The Tragic Truth About Lauren Graham

The following article includes a discussion of unhealthy eating habits.

Lauren Graham has written her name in TV history, portraying some of America's favorite mothers. For her role as Lorelai Gilmore on "Gilmore Girls" and the role of Sarah Braverman on "Parenthood," Graham has been nominated for plenty of accolades — and won a few. But her life offscreen hasn't always been so shiny. One of Graham's hardest patches was lived publicly, at least partially. In June 2022, Graham announced she and Peter Krause had split the previous summer.

The news shocked everyone not only because they managed to keep it quiet for a year, but because no one had seen it coming. Lasting close to 12 years, Krause was Graham's most meaningful relationship, and its end hit her hard. "I'm in a better place, but it's still just a shame. It's just sad to me," she told People in 2022. Graham suggested there was a profound reason behind the split. 

"We had such a good time together that I didn't maybe ask some fundamental questions about 'What are your values and what do you envision?' and those more grown-up things," she said. "And then they just caught up with us." The end of the relationship coincided with COVID-19, so Graham retreated to a beach house where she turned to writing her 2022 memoir "Have I Told You This Already?" "I just was not going to let [the breakup] flatten me," she said. But the split was far from the only difficulty she's faced. In fact, Graham faced hardships from early on.

Lauren Graham's mother left when she was little

Lauren Graham had an unusual childhood — at least in light of societal expectations. Her mother Donna Grant left home when Lauren was 5 years old to pursue a career in music, leaving Lawrence Graham to care for their young daughter on his own. Lawrence often struggled with the whole cute-hair-and-outfit part of raising a girl. "My teacher called him from school and said, 'You know, you can't just brush the top layer; you've got to brush underneath it,'" Lauren told Ladies' Home Journal in 2011. "I had this giant knot!"

But he caused no permanent damage. And Lauren didn't care because Lawrence excelled in the areas that mattered. "My dad has an ease about him," she said. "He isn't super-demonstrative but he's very warm and has a great sense of humor." Her home was so peaceful that Lauren barely registered that her situation was different. "I just thought what I had was normal, " she told People in 2016. "Divorce was less common, and to have my dad be the single parent was unusual, but we had a lot of fun."

Lawrence also made sure not to demonstrate any animosity toward Lauren's mother. On the contrary, he often praised Grant's courage to go after her dreams and took Lauren, then 11, to London to visit her. Lauren and Lawrence have remained tight. Lawrence has accompanied Lauren on talk shows, and the two can sometimes be seen rooting for the New York Yankees together.

Lauren Graham grew up with little stability

Lauren Graham was born in Honolulu and was just 3 weeks old when her parents relocated to Japan. During those early years, she lived with her mother, Donna Grant, and her family, who was already established in Tokyo. Lawrence Graham, her father, was present, but he had to go to Vietnam frequently for work. "My mom had been a Baptist missionary kid who grew up in Tokyo, and her parents were still there," she penned in a 2017 essay for The Wall Street Journal

Lauren was 5 years old when Lawrence and Grant returned to the U.S. in 1972, a year that also marked their divorce. Grant agreed Lauren would have a more stable life in the care of Lawrence, but that didn't come right away. Before Lawrence and Lauren settled in Virginia when she was 9 years old, they experienced the opposite of stability. Lawrence worked for the Agency for International Development, a federal program that many believed was tied to the CIA, a fact that drew lots of interest from Lauren's peers.

"People always say, 'Ah, your dad was a spy,'" she told The Philadelphia Inquirer in 2010. He was not a spy, but he did eventually find a stable job in Washington, D.C., working as a lawyer and candy industry lobbyist. Until then, father and daughter moved around. "We lived at his parents' summer house in Southold, N.Y., on a Virgin Islands houseboat, in a five-story walk-up in Manhattan, and in a home in Southampton, N.Y.," she wrote in her memoir.

Lauren Graham lost her mother to cancer

Lauren Graham's yearly trips to London allowed her to develop a relationship with her mother. Like her father, Graham admired Donna Grant, even if not having her around at a young age was difficult. "She was incredibly beautiful and really smart, and she'd made all these independent choices," Graham said in the Ladies' Home Journal interview. Mother and daughter maintained a positive relationship until Grant died from cancer in 2005 at age 61. "I have a lot of sadness about her passing," Graham told More

Graham felt sorry that her mother hadn't been able to fulfill her dreams. Even though Grant carved out a career as a fashion buyer in London, her musical aspirations never paid off. "I always hoped for her that something would give," she said. But Graham also learned an important lesson from her mother's preoccupation with her looks. When Grant's cancer recurred after years of remission, her way of telling her daughter was: "Well, at least I won't have to get a facelift," Graham recalled in "Have I Told You This Already?"

Graham never forgot her mother's words. "This was her gallows humor, but also a thought I knew she'd genuinely had," she wrote. Graham's grief came out during "Gilmore Girls: A Year in the Life" in 2016, which had to write in the death of original cast member Edward Herrmann, who played Graham's onscreen father. "I felt her presence and I felt that loss," she said on 92Y

Lauren Graham fears for her relationship with Peter Krause's son

When Lauren Graham started dating Peter Krause in 2010, his son Roman was 8. When the couple split in 2021, Roman, whom Krause welcomed with ex-girlfriend Christine King in November 2001, was an adult. Through his late childhood and all of his teenage years, Roman had a parental figure in Graham, who's been open about her connection with him. "I've never been a mother, but I have loved a child who lived in my house for a long time," Graham wrote in "Have I Told You This Already?" 

Graham also suggested Roman was the main reason she and Krause were still in close contact following their breakup. "I was a contributor in the life of his child, and so we're connected," Graham said in the November 2022 People interview, about a year and a half after the split. In her book, Graham revealed she feared her relationship with Roman would be affected by her split from Krause. "I hope [Roman] will be a part of the rest of my life," she wrote.

To Graham, Roman is a part of her family, a unit that means a lot to her. "I have an amazing family, and they never don't benefit from more communication. And then I also have a family that I've created, which is my boyfriend and his son and our friends — our extended family," she told in 2015. Hopefully, Graham and Roman's relationship will continue to thrive.

Lauren Graham looks were praised when she was unhealthiest

It wasn't just her mother who struggled with society's expectations of what women should be like. Lauren Graham succumbed to the pressure, allowing herself to fall into unhealthy habits to maintain what others thought was her most beautiful version. "The me that looked my 'best' was a me that smoked, was underfed, ran high with anxiety, didn't get enough sleep, and still never felt good enough," she penned in "Have I Told You This Already?"

Graham knows this now, but that wasn't always the case. In 2011, she boasted about how little she ate. "I've pretty much always been on a diet since I was born. And the women in my family struggle, so I find the less I think about food, in a way, the happier I am," she told "In general, I think I eat less the less I think about it." Thankfully, it didn't take much long after the interview for her to realize she was way more than her thinness or youthful looks.

"I've spent a lot of time wondering, 'What's going to happen?'" she told More about aging. "I try not to allow myself to do that much anymore. I think I've gotten more comfortable with the unknown." Now, Graham is at a point where she's grateful for the opportunity to have lived as long as she has and the life experiences acquired. "Age is awesome," she said on The Kelly Clarkson Show in 2022.

If you need help with an eating disorder or know someone who does, help is available. Visit the National Eating Disorders Association website or contact NEDA's Live Helpline at 1-800-931-2237. You can also receive 24/7 Crisis Support via text (send NEDA to 741-741).