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CONSTANCE (PART 1)

I met him that night, and he ended up staying late at the party. And we talked by the fire all night long. And he left. And I just thought, “Wow. That guy is really...Is that “the guy?” I kind of right away started having those questions. It took him 6 months to call me.

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HOW SHE FELL IN LOVE WITH ACTING

It was a very slow drive up a very steep hill, and I think I'm still climbing up there. Because I didn't figure it out that I wanted to be an actor until I was a senior in high school. And that was really just through doing a bunch of other things and not liking them very much--like being in track [and field], and being a gymnast. All of it had to do with being in shorts and working out. I just didn't like any of that.

Constance and husband, Russ Lamoureux

And then I was a cheerleader. And because I was a cheerleader, they were doing “Grease,” at my high school. And I thought, “Ooh! I'm gonna go audition to be the cheerleader.” And once I did that, it all kind of made sense. And then I thought, “Oh, this is what I like doing. I like entertaining people. I like making people laugh.”

It was a very slow drive up a very steep hill, and I think I'm still climbing up there.

At that time, I didn't know that I'd be able to make people cry, but I just liked that I could entertain people and make them not think about their lives and themselves for however amount of time. And that's just kind of where it started, was there.


I didn't go to college because I did not get into the college that I felt was good enough for the acting program. I ended up going to a "FAME" school. I went to the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Pasadena right out of high school.

RANDOM JOBS BEFORE SHE BECAME FAMOUS

[Video of Constance flipping through old headshots] OK, I just found my old headshots. Look. At. These. What is happening? Oh, my God. Insane!

I got the job because I went to go volunteer to be a “celebrity escort.” Not that kind of escort, hahaha, not that kind of escort.

I had very random jobs, like I was a barista inside a liquor store in Newport Beach when I was in high school--which is crazy--that I was 17 years old working in a liquor store, but because I was in the coffee doing the barista work, I guess it didn't matter.


Cover shoot for The Hollywood Reporter Magazine

But as far as older adult odd jobs--I was a benefit coordinator, and I got the job because I went to go volunteer to be a “celebrity escort.” Not that kind of escort, hahaha, not that kind of escort. [Laughs] Like when celebrities go to big events, like award shows and you are given, let's just say, I had Meryl Streep--so I would be in charge of taking Meryl Streep and showing her where her table was, and going and getting her to bring her backstage to give the award. And you were kind of responsible for keeping an eye on them throughout the evening.

I'm one of the lucky ones. I didn't have to do hard labor. Even though I had some celebrities that made me cry. So that was hard.

So I did that for a company called American Cinematheque, which is still around today. And I befriended the woman who kind of coordinated the entire event. I had asked her if I could just come and work with her. And she said, “Well, I don't have any money to pay you, but you can come and I'll pay you in tickets.”

It's the first piece of furniture I bought, and it was just funny because I was living alone at the time and I had bought a house by myself, I had been divorced.

And so the first job I did with her, she gave me two tickets to this huge charity event with “The Who” performing “Tommy.” And the tickets were $1,500, or something ridiculous. And I got to go. And I really was like, “Ooh, this is like a fun way to see behind the scenes, and do really good work.” So then I ended up working for her, and I worked for her for gosh, maybe like 3 or 4 years?


We ended up being partners in the company. It was just her and I, and it was really a fascinating view inside the business. Nobody knew I was an actor. Everybody just thought that this is what I did. And then I started working as an actor, and then I quit that job. So that was actually my one job I had being out of high school before then I started working as an actor.

I went from not being able to pay my rent and being kicked out of my apartment, to getting on “Good Morning, Miami,” and then buying a house on my own and having to furnish it.

[Video of Constance flipping through old photos] “Oh we have some Boston Legal, Spader, and Shatner. Oh Lord, yeah. That was me in “Stuff [Magazine]. Oh, look! “Good Morning, Miami…”


I'm one of the lucky ones. I didn't have to do hard labor. Even though I had some celebrities that made me cry. So that was hard. It's emotionally hard, it's emotionally hard.


THE DINING TABLE

It's the first piece of furniture I bought, and it was just funny because I was living alone at the time and I had bought a house by myself, I had been divorced. I had gotten my first big job as a series regular on, “Good Morning, Miami.”


[Interview from 2012] And it was the creators of “Will and Grace.” So I was working with these people and they were right next door. Our stages were right next to “Will and Grace’s” stages. So we all became friends, and it was very surreal, like for that to be my first series regular job...

Former home before their current residence. Photo by Meeno Peluce @meeno_the_man

And my whole life turned around. I went from not being able to pay my rent and being kicked out of my apartment, to getting on “Good Morning, Miami,” and then buying a house on my own and having to furnish it. And I got so much furniture from my friends--the one thing I needed was a dining room table, and I bought this massive [table], and it was from [something] like the 18th century. And by the way, that was when I was 30, and I just sold that table 3 years ago.

I just thought this boy was the be-all and end-all of my entire world and universe--I was in fourth grade, and he's who I had my first kiss with. Yes, my first kiss was in fourth grade, in a camper shell in a driveway.

It was sad to let it go because of the memory of it. But you know what? Sometimes you just gotta let shit go.

Critics Choice Best Supporting Actress In A Drama Series 2016 ("UnREAL")

FIRST LOVE

First love, I would probably say...If you looked at my journals from when I was a little girl--I think my first love was actually when I was in fourth grade. Now, I don't know if that's the kind of love you're talking about, or if you wanted to be a little bit more realistic?


But when I think of the first time, I just thought this boy was the be-all and end-all of my entire world and universe--I was in fourth grade, and he's who I had my first kiss with. Yes, my first kiss was in fourth grade, in a camper shell in a driveway. So... I'm classy, haha. And by the way, it was playing “Spin the Bottle.” Still, I can't…

It was sad to let it go because of the memory of it. But you know what? Sometimes you just gotta let shit go.

When I retell that story, I'm just like, “What was I? What?” I mean, 4th Grade! That was crazy! I still have a picture of him. And I had taken like, a pin, a safety pin, and I had carved a heart in the photo. You remember when we did that? I mean, I'm much older than you. But back in the day, you used to take pins, [laughs] and you used to carve into the picture.

Class of '88, Senior Year in High School

BIGGEST HEARTBREAK

I feel like the biggest heartbreak would have had to have been in high school. [Sighs] I mean, it's so interesting you're asking these questions, because I've been going through all of these old bins that have all my old journals in them, and I've been writing journals since I was in 6th grade, I believe.


And I mean, the love that I had for some of those boys is so intense. And reading it back, it just all floods back. And I'm like, “I totally forgot about that guy!” And yet here I was [reading], pages and pages of this guy and like, everything--the way his hair was, and his eyes, and what he wore. I mean, it's so insane.

I still have a picture of him. And I had taken like, a pin, a safety pin, and I had carved a heart in the photo. You remember when we did that?

So that's why I feel like my heartbreak should have been something in high school. But hold on--because I'm one of those people that I bounce back very quickly. And I don't know that that's a good thing, honestly. I actually don't know, because it kind of doesn't force you to be in the moment and experience the pain and the suffering. And instead, you just go and you focus right back into somebody else. But let's see.

Photo by Meeno Peluce @meeno_the_man

THE DIVORCE

It was heartbreaking that that relationship didn't work out--but I don't know that it was my biggest heartbreak in my life because I think that looking back on it, I saw it coming a little bit. And because I was the one to walk away, it makes it not as heartbreaking as someone that's like, “Bye, I don't like you anymore. You're just not, it's not you. It's me.” You know, all that bullshit. Or maybe it's true, I don't know. It's weird that I can't even pinpoint one [heartbreak], that's terrifying. It means I either had way too many, or I've just blacked them all out.

You know what? I think my first biggest heartbreak would be when I was a freshman in high school. So that was 9th grade, and I was dating an older boy in my high school. He was Captain of the football team. And I think that I truly believed that he loved me and that we were going to be together, forever.

It was heartbreaking that that relationship didn't work out--but I don't know that it was my biggest heartbreak in my life because I think that looking back on it, I saw it coming a little bit.

And that was not the case, and I think that really broke my heart because I think, again, I look back and I read my journals. That could have been a situation where he was pretending that that was the deal, but that wasn't really true, you know, to maybe get me to do things that I wouldn't have done if I didn't think he was in love with me. Maybe that was, I think, such a big lesson for me because I thought, “Oh, my God, he loves me. This is it. This is forever!” And then just one day [he] just was like, “No, we're not going to date anymore.” And that was it.

MEETING HUSBAND, RUSS

Russ and I were set up through a mutual friend. The friend was working with Russ in San Francisco--this same friend I was living in her house in Los Angeles, because I had just gotten divorced. My sister and I, who were both divorced at the same time, moved into her house because she moved to San Francisco for this job.


She called me one day and she said, “I found your next husband.” And I said, “Relax, I'm in your house because I just got a divorce. I'm not interested in another husband.” For 6 years, she tried to get us together. [My friend will say] “He's coming into town, and he's coming to L.A. You should meet him.” I had a boyfriend or he had a girlfriend, and it just never worked.

She called me one day and she said, “I found your next husband.” And I said, “Relax, I'm in your house because I just got a divorce. I'm not interested in another husband.”

It never worked--until my 35th birthday. And she [my friend] said, “OK, this is my last try. Can I just bring him to your birthday party? You'll be distracted by other friends and you guys are either going to like each other, or you're not. But I just, I can't do it anymore. I just need you guys to meet.”

I said, “Fine, whatever. I don't care.” And he came. I'll never forget. She [my friend] came running up to me and she said, “Oh my God, oh my God, he's here. But he looks nothing like what I remember he looks like! He's got, I mean, he's got a moustache--and his hair's really long. And that is NOT, that is not the guy that I remember from a couple of years ago!” Because he [Russ] had moved to New York in the meantime, and they had lost touch and all. Anyway.


And I said, “Whatever, don't worry about it, it's fine.” And I met him that night, and he ended up staying late at the party. And we talked by the fire all night long. And he left. And I just thought, “Wow. That guy is really...Is that “the guy?” I kind of right away started having those questions. It took him 6 months to call me. [Puts arms on hips, and shakes her head]

I'll never forget. She [my friend] came running up to me and she said, “Oh my God, oh my God, he's here. But he looks nothing like what I remember he looks like! He's got, I mean, he's got a mustache--and his hair's really long.

He has a good excuse, he had a girlfriend and he had been traveling back and forth from South Africa to New York, and he did about four trips to South Africa from New York in two months. He wanted to break up with his girlfriend before he called me to chat again. But he was never in town. When he told me the story, I was like, “Oh OK, all right." I mean, that's a good guy. "You're a good guy. I appreciate that.”


And so when he did--he called me, and then we had dinner--and then that's it. The rest is history. And now it'll be 15 years [that] we've been together next year. I mean, I met him 15 years ago, but we didn't start dating until the next year. After that 6-month fiasco. [Laughs]

Wedding photos by Scott Chester @wscottschester and Andy Lee @andrewthomaslee. Dress by Karen Zambos @karenzambos and Nony Tochterman @pinknony. (On Instagram)
Photo by daughter, Coco
The rest is history. And now it'll be 15 years [that] we've been together next year...After that 6-month fiasco.

Story of Constance Zimmer, Emmy nominee for Outstanding Supporting Actress In A Drama Series, 2016 ("UnREAL") and Critics Choice Best Supporting Actress In A Drama Series 2016 ("UnREAL"); Entourage; House of Cards; Good Morning, Miami; Boston Legal, The X-Files; Agents of S.H.I.E.L.D.; Seinfeld; Grey's Anatomy

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