Charo Talks Overcoming Grief in First Interview Since Her Husband's Death: 'You Must Live!'
In the wake of her husband’s death, Charo is encouraging others to continue to live their lives.
The star, 68, gave her first interview since husband Kjell Rasten died by suicide at age 78 in February, and revealed she’s now dedicated to spending her time helping others find joy.
“You must live! And you must watch out for the people you love!” she told the New York Times. “I have a plan. I want to change the world. I know what I want, what I want is what people want.”
It was Charo who found her husband’s body the morning of Feb. 18, with the actress telling the Times how she had been searching for him in their home while singing, “Good morning, good morning.”
“My husband put a bullet in his head. I have an invisible bullet in my heart,” she said.
The former Love Boat star said after Rasten’s death, she spent 30 days isolated in her bedroom feeling “empty” before finally re-emerging with the knowledge that her time “as a woman has ended,” meaning she will no longer experience romantic love.
“I love life. I will continue entertaining, and I will continue praying,” she said.
In a statement issued the day after his death, Charo explained that Rasten had developed a “rare and horrible skin disease” called bullous pemphigoid, as well as depression.
Still, she told the Times, he never spoke of suicide.
“One day, if I behave good and I go up, I’m going to look for him and I’m going to say, ‘I’m still looking for that note,’ ” she said.
The couple married in August 1978 after first meeting at the Golden Globes, and welcomed son Shel in 1981.
In her initial statement, Charo wrote, “Yesterday, Kjell, My husband of forty years and the love of my life killed himself. There are no words to describe what we are feeling now. He was an amazing man, a great husband and the best father I could imagine to our son. He dedicated his life to loving and supporting his family.”
Charo added that he had been taking medication to treat his skin condition, but, when combined with his depression, it “became too much for him, and he ended his suffering.”
“None of us had any idea this could happen to such a wonderful, kind and generous man,” she concluded. “Please, if anyone you know and love is suffering from depression or illness, hold them close, tell them you love them with all your heart and that the world is better because they are in it. Get any help you can. Suicide is not the answer. Thank you all so much for you love and concern. Thank you.”
One month later, Charo shared an emotional video to Instagram thanking fans for their ongoing support.
“It’s been a month since my husband died. It’s very, very hard,” she admitted. “I want to thank you with all my heart for your help, your prayers, your support. That keeps me going. Thank you, thank you, thank you very much.”
Charo added in the video that she’d spent the month meditating, and would continue to perform because her husband enjoyed her performances so much.
“In his honor, I want to share with you that I will continue for his legacy and for the love that I have for entertaining to make people happy,” she said. “Thank you with all my heart, and God bless you all.”
If you or someone you know is considering suicide, please contact the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255), text “home” to the Crisis Text Line at 741-741 or go to suicidepreventionlifeline.org.