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Actress Patricia Heaton and Stephen Colbert get personal about their Catholic faith


Heaton spent almost the entire segment discussing her faith. It helped that the ‘Late Show’ host is also a committed Catholic.

It’s rare that faith is discussed openly and in a positive way in the entertainment media, making actress Patricia Heaton’s appearance on The Late Show last Friday a breath of fresh air.  

Heaton, who is famous for her role on Everybody Loves Raymond, is also well-known for her commitment to her Catholic faith. Heaton spent almost the entire segment discussing her faith, including how God’s creativity inspires her as an actress, how she prays, and how faith should be at the center of one’s life. It helped that Late Show host Stephen Colbert is also a committed Catholic. Early in the segment, Colbert asked Heaton about how her acting is related to her faith. 

Colbert: You have said in interviews that acting for you is a spiritual experience, spiritual exercise.

Heaton: It is … just because I’ve always felt really at home on stage and I felt almost like I was in church. And I felt very connected to what I was doing.

Colbert: I had that feeling in theaters when I was a young man. …

Heaton: It’s because we’re creating. And I mean God is a creator, you know? And you read the whole first chapter of Genesis. He made the earth and the stars … and he made man and He blew life into … Adam.

Colbert and Heaton briefly shared a joke on God’s taking of a rib from Adam for Eve. Then Heaton concluded:

Heaton: When we’re doing characters we’re breathing life into these creatures. … We just get a soupçon of what it’s like to create a life. 

Colbert stuck with the faith theme, asking if it played a role in Heaton’s early career, noting that he had struggled with doubts in the early stages of his career. 

Colbert: And I would go to church and just like try to pray it out—to figure out, is this the right thing for me to do?

Heaton: All the time. And I got really frustrated because like I literally came out of the womb going ‘look at me, look at me, look at me,’ you know? And I had nothing to do with it; it’s the way I was made. And then I was here for nine years in New York. I couldn’t get arrested … I couldn’t make anything happen. And I was so angry at God. I was like, ‘You put this in me and you have shut every door. What is going on?’ 

And so I had like nine years and I got an opportunity to go to LA and the first month I was there I went to an orphanage in Mexico with a church and we like laid down a lawn and helped the kids. And when I came back I had this huge sense of peace that I’d never had before. I realized that I had been making the acting career the center of my life. And you know as a Catholic, there’s only one thing that can be the center of your life and that’s your faith. And I think I wasn’t doing that. And I think God was withholding everything until … He made sure that He was the center of my life and not the career. Because look, the career comes and goes. 

Heaton joked about her career success, then went on.

Heaton: You can’t rely on those things because they don’t last. And you have to know that the purpose of your life is glorifying God with your life, not glorifying yourself with your career.  

Heaton also disclosed her struggles with drinking and how she had brought the issue to God in prayer. 

View the entire segment here. 

Heaton was on the show to plug her new show debuting this fall, Carol’s Second Act on CBS. She has also starred in The Middle. 

Also, to view Heaton’s previous appearance on The Late Show—when Heaton faced off with Colbert over their knowledge of Catholic trivia—click here.  

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