Can a series of coincidences really change and affect the course of your life? That is what former soap star, singer and author Gloria Loring says played a key role in her amazing life, which is detailed in her autobiographical new book, Coincidence is God’s Way of Remaining Anonymous, in book stores everywhere today. While this is Gloria’s memoir, it also looks at a bigger perspective in all of our lives that one can apply to their own experiences.
Many know Gloria from her time as the beloved Liz Chandler Curtis on Days of our Lives, a role she played from 1980-1986. But Loring’s talents don’t stop there. She was, at first, an accomplished singer and entertainer! In fact, she had a number one hit, "Friends and Lovers" with Carl Anderson in 1985. And speaking of accomplished, Loring is also the mother of R&B/pop singing sensation Robin Thicke, along with her other amazing son, Brennan (both from her marriage to talk show host and performer Alan Thicke). Brennan, who was diagnosed at an early age with diabetes, put Gloria in the spotlight for a good cause as spokesperson for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation.
Now Loring is letting her fans, and those who might be interested in the principle role coincidence can play in one’s life, in on some of the most personal and dramatic events in her lifetime: from the ending of her longtime marriage to Thicke, her sexual abuse as a child, remembered late in life, and the twists and turns in her remarkable journey that are filled with noteworthy coincidences. Frontiers met Loring for Sunday brunch to learn some very intriguing concepts and life wisdom.
Your new book, Coincidence is God’s Way of Remaining Anonymous is being “officially” released today. How long was the process of putting this very personal account together?
I started jotting down the stories over 12 years ago because they had stayed with me. I thought sometime I would write a book about them because they were quite extraordinary! I was in the San Francisco airport and I was standing in front of their bookstore, and I saw the rack of the bestsellers. I got this little intuition that if I write this book that someday people would be buying it. It was like that zing of recognition that the time had come to stop thinking about it and to start to do it. I think it took me so long because the subject was so deep and rich … the subject of coincidence and how we contribute to it, and how we use that for ourselves. Now, in the book these are my stories, but I wanted it to be useful to the people who would read it. I realized I needed a lot of seasoning on the subject. And as the years unfolded, I put it aside a few times then I would come back to it in a fresh way. I would then have more experience, and more depth of perception, that you could see. I am happy with where the book is now.
Did the genesis of the whole idea and concept of “coincidence” for you start from a little card that you found one day in your dressing room at Days of Our Lives?
Chapter one begins with me promising my son Brennan that I would do something for him for his diabetes. Brennan was four and half when he was diagnosed with it. I put it together, and got the idea and the aspects for the Days of Our Lives Celebrity Cookbook. I was just cast on the show, and I noticed after several months people shared recipes in the makeup room. At that time, I knew we had 10 million fans, and I knew they would love that. I had gotten ready to print the book, but I didn’t have the money to do it. So I kept thinking, “Something has got to happen. We didn’t come this far to have it fail now!” Then, a little card showed up in my dressing room quite mysteriously—and it’s in the first chapter of the book—then within 24 hours I met a benefactor who helped me underwrite the Days of Our Lives Celebrity Cookbook, which ultimately, volume one and volume two raised over a million dollars for diabetes research. I was able to keep my promise to my son that I was working on … trying to end his shots. Now many, many years later, he still has his shots, but he now has a son of his own who is very healthy, and when Brennan was first diagnosed we were told he had a 50 percent chance of being gone after 25 years. He has well surpassed that. But what happened was this card said, “Expect a Miracle.” I had no framework within which to hold it, and I had no belief or philosophical system.
You were not spiritual at that point?
I never use the word “spiritual." We are all spiritual people, but I was not involved in a study of a system that would help me process a card like, “Expect a Miracle,” showing up 24 hours in my dressing room before this man, the benefactor, came into my life. But it was a couple of years later that I was doing an interview discussing what occurred where I said to the interviewer, “Isn’t that an amazing coincidence?” And the interviewer then said, “And you know, coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous!” For some reason, that really sparked something in me. I talk about this in the book—that if something gets your attention, maybe it needs your attention. So for some reason this phrase hit me like a mini-lightning bolt in a good way. I remembered it after that and when I told the story of “Expect a Miracle” and all that money, I would button it with, “Well, you know, coincidence is God’s way of remaining anonymous,” because I felt really smart about that. [Laughs] I did not know it was a quote by Albert Einstein! I also figured if you are going to borrow something from someone, borrow from someone who is really smart! [Laughs] So it took a long time for me to see it unfolding, which is chapters of my book, and the coinciding of meaningful events. It was coincidings again and again that were deeply personal and relevant to my life and my experience, and what I needed at that moment, and that is how this journey began for me, which is with that card and then that perspective! Now I started to see as other coincidings showed up, that it reinforced it. It was not until 12 years ago that I decided I needed to share this with people because it’s amazing, but I also knew I needed to research the subject. So I bought every book I could find on it. I made notes and I started to collect quotes. It was, and is, a thrilling subject because anytime we speak of something that is connecting and harmonious, and uplifting, we can feel ourselves expand.
But there is a flip side to this when something devastating happens in our lives.
Sometimes terrible things happen. My sister, who I lost five months ago said, “Why do these bad, terrible things happen?” She had cancer. I said, “We can’t know that. That is not for us to know in this life and in this body. But what we can do is see what it is asking of us, and say, what is this challenge presenting me with?” For Peggy, it was for her to finally put herself in at least the important position. She had put other people in her life first. She had always done so much for everyone else. When she was diagnosed she decided to quit her job, and spent more time with her family and all the things she wanted to do for years. When she finally passed, she had a greater understanding of that which created her. She was really at peace. I don’t care how long you live, there is no greater gift you can give to your family than to leave this planet in peace. So the outer circumstances can lead us to look at the inner work that needs to be done. That is why coincidences are God’s way for a larger vision and understanding of the world. Even if we wouldn’t want to accept that theory, who wouldn’t want to have more patience, passion and understanding? It’s always a good thing, isn’t it?
And certainly tolerance and understanding is something this world could use a helluva a lot more of these days!
Look at right now—the riots and demonstrations in some of the so-called Muslim countries. It might be a country of 10 million people and 10,000 are on the streets. And yet, we look at the 10,000 and we say all 10 million hate us. Well, wait a minute—that is not appropriate. We can’t say that. That is what comes with bigotry and racism. Can we have a larger heart than that? There are some people that are very angry, and some people who want to look at it with as hard a vision as we look at them with. So that comes back to the Golden Rule—you give what you wish to receive. Remember, they are very extreme people who are everywhere. We have them here in America and everywhere. So what is this all saying? Maybe if someone had listened to some of those people and paid attention to it, it would not be so violent? We know Hitler and Stalin were abused by their fathers as young boys, and they took their rage out on the world. Look at the destruction that they accomplished, if that is an accomplishment?
Do you talk about the dissolution of your marriage to Alan Thicke in the book?
I don’t talk about the reasons, but what I do talk about is that it became clear that it was the end of our time together. He taught me so much. M. Scott Peck, who wrote The Road Less Traveled said you get married for one of two reasons: the friction or the procreation, and we got married for both. Alan was very organized and had great initiative, and he still has that. They are such great qualities to have. I was not like that. I waited for life to happen to me. So he would push me and I would resist. There came a point where it had played out. I knew for some reason that for me to go where I needed to go, and be who I needed to be, I needed to be free. However, I feel my marriage succeeded to Alan tremendously, and by the time the divorce was through, I learned so much from being with him. I learned who I was and who I wasn’t. I learned all of this to hold myself to, and to understand myself better. I have nothing but gratitude for my marriage to him. He is an incredible man. He has made a heck of a life for himself, and he is married to a very strong woman, who is fabulous and gorgeous. I could not be happier for him and her. They are the greatest pair together. I told her, “You are the best thing that ever happened to him. I wish I could have been half as strong.” But I was with him for the reasons I needed to be with him, and he was with me for those reasons. We had two incredible sons and two incredible grandsons, and life is good, but it is just that it changes sometimes. My husband now, Rene Lagler, and I have been together since 1994. You know, my book is about my individual journey and the lessons that I have learned, and how to start noticing the coinciding of outer events and the coinciding of inner events to discern what we might need to know.
You detail that you realized you were sexually molested as a child?
There was an occurrence. I was three years old, and my sense memory of it was very strong. My father fell on top of me in a state of arousal. I don’t know if anything more happened after that, but I was able to go back in time with the help of some really good therapists and re-experience it, and to process it, and understand it, and it then lost some of its power for me. It used to be a subconscious driver for me, in a way. It was under the surface. I didn’t realize why I felt certain things, or had certain rages that came up, or uncontrollable crying. When you think about it, a traumatic event for a child is really like a traumatic event for a solider. It is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. There are certain behaviors that can partially rule our lives, and we don’t know where they are coming from. So think of how hard it is for untreated soldiers who are coming back from trauma? When they get the right care, they are able to re-gather themselves and find their core again and diminish the power of the trauma. The same holds true for those who had traumatic events in their childhood. They are able to see if for what it is, and bring it into the light of consciousness, and it loses some of its power.
You had a relationship with The Bold and the Beautiful’s Don Diamont, when both of you were on Days of Our Lives together. At that time, it was much talked about!
Don and I were together for three years. He came from a family that was very respectful and schooled in the old ways. His mother and father were just the finest people, and they raised their children to be that way. I didn’t respect myself very much. I used to call myself names, and when my marriage ended, I felt guilty for breaking up the marriage to Alan. I felt all the powerlessness of my childhood come up. I was on Days at that point and earning a six-figure income. I was supposedly a celebrity and all of that, and I supposedly had all this talent, but I felt like a beaten-up child. So, all my powerlessness came up and Don came in and treated me with such kindness and respect, and paid attention to everything I was thinking or doing. He was so attentive. I had not been paying attention to what I need. So he taught me how to pay attention. Don is a really nice man, and family is number one with him. He has really great qualities. I have been very blessed to have him and others in my life. When we parted, because he knew he had to go off and have a family of his own, because family was so important to him after the passing of his own father, I said, “What is the most important thing he gave me?” I realized it was the respect and the attentiveness. I knew I had to start doing that for myself. It’s taken me a long time. I could still do better, but Don was an important person in that process.
Do you have fond memories of your time on Days as Liz? You and Joe Gallison were fan favorites as Liz and Neil Curtis!
Yes. I have a story in the book about Joe Gallison (Ex-Neil Curtis)! I got mad at him one time while I was going through my divorce because he was spiky, and I was spiky. I raised my voice to him, and you don’t raise your voice to a man like Joe Gallison. He is very proud, and rightfully so. He did not talk to me for weeks! [Laughs] We did not run lines, and we just showed up and did our scenes. We would have to do scenes in bed together, and we would enter the set from the opposite sides of the bed, turn and do the scene, and get out and then go our separate ways. And I did not know how to fix it! Finally, I wrote Joe a note and shoved it under his dressing room door saying that, “I do apologize for raising my voice to you; you so did not deserve that.” It took me all that time to realize that I need to be the one here to apologize. I respected him so much, and he is a wonderful actor. It was inappropriate anger that came up in the wrong way at the wrong time. Nothing more was ever said about it, and one day Joe walked up to me in the hallway and said, “Do you want to run lines?’ I said, “Yes.” We just started back again. Liz had a few love interests, though, on Days. She was married to Don Craig (Jed Allan) for like a minute and half. [Laughs] And there was Carlo (Don Diamont) and then Tony DiMera (Thaao Penghlis). I loved working with Thaao. He is fabulous, and all the men were great to work with. I got a great education.
Did you ever think you would end up on a soap after being so well-known as a singer?
No. I never thought that, but I had studied acting for 10 years and could not get an agent who would send me out on acting calls very often because everyone knew me as a singer. Finally, I had an agent who sent me out three times in one week, and so I got over my nervousness. I finally was all revved up and ready to go, and knew how to not talk to the other actresses in the waiting room, and put my attention where it needed to be! I just went in for the Days audition and did it. I did it strongly, and then they had me back to read with the producers, and then they had me back with three other actresses. Then I got the role.
Was the character of Liz Chandler always meant to be a singer, or did Days write that in for you?
That was incorporated in after. The producers just knew me as an actress, and from my screen test, and they wanted me for that role. So I stepped in. The fans of Days are so dear. It’s so fun to hear from them on my Facebook page and on Twitter @theglorialoring. I am enjoying interacting with them.
Speaking of music, is there a new CD that is another component of the book?
Every chapter of the book has a song associated with it that I wrote. When I first laid out the stories and the structure of the book, I was at a very creative time with my songwriting. I started to write songs connected with chapters of the book. I went ahead and produced that CD and it is really beautiful. The CD is available on my website and on iTunes. As people read the book, they can read the lyrics that go with each chapter. If they want, they can go order the CD and it will be a great experience, I hope, for them.
Your very famous son, R&B and pop sensation Robin Thicke, was recently on the ABC summer reality singing competition, Duets. On Duets, the singers (Thicke, Kelly Clarkson, Jennifer Nettles and John Legend) performed with contestants each week of their choosing. Did you watch religiously?
I watched that show every single week. I watched Robin start and even get better at every single level. He is such an incredible performer! I think he inspired his singing partners because he is such a performer, and he said that they inspired him, too. It seemed to be a great experience. Robin was smiling about it when I visited him at the studio. He is an incredibly productive, passionate and focused person about his music, his family, his wife, his child … everything he does. He puts himself a 100 percent into it. I think that is a great quality. Robin was so generous in teaching his duet partners, and he was so patient. I was impressed with how he found the right way to get them to step up to the next level. He used his creativity and intuition to know how to speak to them. He would be a great teacher!
Did you like the way the contestants were voted on? Many criticized Duets for it.
I did like the show. I thought it was right for the judges/singers to vote for the talent at first because that is how they do it on American Idol. Then, once they have gotten down to a certain core group, they let the audience step in. There was a whittling process that seemed like just what the other reality competition singing shows do.
So let me ask you, if there had been a reality singing competition when you had been at the top of the charts with "Friends and Lovers," would you have been interested in being one of the pro judges?
That would be interesting! I think with all my years and experience as a singer, performer and actress, etc., that I probably have some insight. I think I do duets pretty well! [Laughs] Look at "Friends and Lovers" with the late Carl Anderson! Oh, Carl. We lost him several years ago, and he was just an extraordinary singer.
When someone picks up and goes through your memoir, Coincidence is God’s Way of Remaining Anynomonous, what is the takeaway you want to leave your readers with?
I want them to know that there is a goodness in the world that they are always connected to. That it is theirs to have, if they look for it. Here is the deal: the more we look for the good, studies have shown the happier we are, and the more benefit we can be to the people around us. My book is a memoir with a message about coincidence. It is an autobiographical journey that incorporates coincidence—where it comes from, what it can be for us, what it can do for us and how we can use it for our good.
For more on Gloria Loring and to purchase God’s Way of Remaining Anonymous plus her new CD, go to glorialoring.com. For more on daytime and primetime television, visit michaelfairmansoaps.com.