Where Is ‘Designing Women’’s Delta Burke Now? Her Life Away from Fame with Man Who ’Never’ Judged Her

    Delta Burke’s ascent to stardom through her role in the beloved sitcom “Designing Women” was as unexpected as it was impactful. Although the heights her career reached were unforeseen, Burke recognizes the true value of her time on the show. She now lives a secluded and quiet life.

    Delta Burke at the 22nd Annual Academy of Country Music Awards on April 6, 1987. | Source: Getty Images

    Delta Burke rose to fame for her role as Suzanne Sugarbaker in “Designing Women.” However, she did not enjoy her time in Hollywood. Later she realized that the value of her role lay not in the accolades or fame, but in the personal connections she forged. The most notable connection was with her husband, Gerald McRaney.

    Reflecting on both the good and bad times, Burke shared, “Whatever went down that was bad, it was worth because I met him. [sic]” While on “Designing Women” Burke earned critical acclaim and a dedicated fanbase. Her character, strong, outspoken, and unapologetically feminine, became an iconic representation of Southern charm mixed with fierce independence.

    However, the glitz and glamour of television came with its own set of challenges. The competitive nature of show business, coupled with intense public scrutiny, gradually sapped her enthusiasm. Burke openly discussed these difficulties, describing the set as a “difficult, unpleasant workplace.”

    Meshach Taylor, Delta Burke, Dixie Carter, Annie Potts, and Jean Smart on "Designing Women" in 1987 | Source: Getty Images

    The personal conflicts Burke experienced were not just professional but deeply personal. She has spoken about feeling judged and undervalued, not only by industry peers but also by close family members. She revealed the lack of emotional support she endured from everyone other than her husband.

    She stated, “No one had ever loved me completely for me, not even my mother or grandmother. They would judge what I looked like. He never did.” As tensions escalated, Burke’s relationship with the show’s producers deteriorated. This led to her departure from “Designing Women” in 1991.

    The subsequent years saw her taking on fewer roles. By the late 1990s, she had largely retreated from acting. This withdrawal marked a significant shift from her previous public persona to a more introspective life. In this phase of her life, she was more focused on her mental well-being and personal happiness.

    Delta Burke at the 43rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on August 25, 1991 | Source: Getty Images

    Meeting McRaney was a pivotal turn in her personal life. Despite the challenges she faced in her career, finding McRaney was the silver lining that reshaped her perspective on life and love. Their relationship blossomed from a foundation of mutual respect and understanding. These were qualities starkly absent in many of Burke’s earlier experiences.

    The couple’s relationship was characterized by shared passions and parallel careers. Burke felt this helped them foster a nurturing environment free from jealousy. Burke explained that they both had the same career, which allowed them to celebrate one another’s successes.

    One of the unique aspects of their relationship is their approach to dealing with conflicts. Burke noted, that they were each crazy in their own way and made way for one another’s uniqueness. Their dynamic is built on acceptance and understanding rather than an expectation of perfection. Even when disagreements arise, their love and appreciation for each other overrides conflict.

    In 2021, the couple celebrated 35 years of marriage. Burke shared that after the couple met for the first time they “knew each other was the one.” They had always envisioned growing old together, and now they revel in the reality of their enduring companionship. “I love him desperately. I know that I am safe and I am loved,” Burke gushed, reflecting her contentment and profound love for McRaney.

    Gerald McRaney and Delta Burke at the 47th Annual Golden Apple Awards | Source: Getty Images

    Since stepping back from acting, Burke has embraced a simpler life, focusing on her passion for antiques. This is a hobby that connects her to her past and fulfills her creatively. She and McRaney enjoy a quiet life in Los Angeles, appreciating the peace far removed from Hollywood’s hustle. The couple bought their dream home during the COVID-19 pandemic.

    After finding the house online, Burke realized it was everything she had ever wanted in a home. She found a slip of paper that she had previously written to say what she wanted from her home. The new home represents everything Burke envisioned, fulfilling her childhood memories. “I don’t think I’ve ever been this happy,” she gushed.

    She expressed that she felt grateful to her husband for everything he had done for her and for providing a place for her to return to her roots. Their wedding was a grand affair at the Biltmore Hotel attended by 500 guests. The wedding reflected their prominence in the entertainment industry. Yet it was also filled with personal touches that highlighted Burke’s Southern roots and design skills.

    Gerald McRaney and Delta Burke at the 2020 Hollywood Show on February 1, 2020, in Burbank, California | Source: Getty Images

    Today, Burke relishes the simpler moments, from routine chores to managing her antiques business. Her public appearances are rare, but her life with McRaney is rich in shared values and mutual respect.

    Burke’s reflections on her journey emphasize the shift from public acclaim to private contentment. Her story is a testament to resilience and the power of introspection in achieving personal fulfillment. Burke’s legacy continues to inspire, defined not just by her public achievements but by her courage to live authentically and love deeply.

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