The Real Reason Suzanne Somers Was Fired From 'Three's Company'

Suzanne Somers was fired from ABC sitcom 'Three's Company' back in 1980 for asking for equal pay.

It's been almost 40 years since the ABC sitcom Three's Company came to an end, but it's been even longer since Suzanne Somers surprisingly left the series. The actress portrayed Chrissy Snow, one of three single roommates that the series revolved around, for the first five seasons of the eight-season series until she was fired in 1980. But, there's a pretty good reason for her departure and it's eerily similar to what actors are currently striking for.

In 2022, Somers spoke to Fox News Digital about what happened way back when. She explained that she had asked for a pay raise, hoping to go from $30,000 an episode to $150,000. It wasn't necessarily too much of an ask, considering it would be matched with her co-star John Ritter, but the producers didn't see it that way.

"At that time, the men were making 10 to 15 times more than I was," Somers shared. "And I was on the No. 1 show. It just seemed wrong because I was clearly being underpaid. And it's not like I stopped the show. My contract was up. We had a meeting with the lawyers [at ABC]… But, by then, they had already decided."

The actress then recalled waiting for news, which "felt like an eternity," and when the door opened "in a way you knew bad news was coming," it was only confirmed by her husband and manager, Alan Hamel, who broke the news. "He looked at me, shook his head, and said, 'You're out. You were gone within the first five minutes when I walked into the meeting.' Now, I was out of work and labeled 'trouble' only because I wanted to be paid fairly for doing my job."

A big reason why Somers was denied the raise was because another successful series had already done just that, as Hamel told People in a 2020 interview, "Laverne & Shirley had just negotiated a monster deal, and afterwards, they decided they needed to make an example of female actresses so that no other woman would ask to be paid what men were making. And then [Suzanne] was fired."

The bad news did not stop there, unfortunately, as America's sweetheart was soon on the receiving end of some very bad and harsh press after word got out about what happened, and she fell into a depression. Luckily, her life was able to turn around, thanks to her husband, who secured her a Las Vegas residency, where she was able to get more money than she ever received on the sitcom. Her shows ended up selling out for 15 years, and in 1987, she was even named Female Entertainer of the Year, so maybe it was all fate that she was fired from Three's Company. However, that doesn't make the reason right.

She's been on a whirlwind since, only taking guest appearances or hosting duties on TV shows and small roles in movies. Perhaps her biggest success story is the Thighmaster, after becoming a spokeswoman for the exercise equipment in the early 1990s. In 2014, she was inducted into the Infomercial Hall of Fame, so I would hazard to guess that Suzanne Somers is doing just fine without Three's Company