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Fran Drescher and her friend were raped at gunpoint in 1985

By Eric Todisco
February 10, 2020 03:39 PM
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Fran Drescher is opening up about being raped at age 28 in 1985.

Prior to landing her iconic role on The Nanny in 1993, Drescher and her friend were raped at gunpoint while Peter Marc Jacobsen, her husband at the time, was tied up and forced to watch.

“By a man we didn’t know and his brother and he was on parole,” Drescher, now 62, recently told CNN. “So it’s very disheartening to think he was incarcerated and then he was let go and then he went on a rampage. And I was not the only woman that he had raped. My girlfriend was raped too while Peter was tied up and blindfolded.”

Drescher explained that in the aftermath of the terrifying incident, she managed to help police identify and eventually capture her rapist.

“I ended up, because I have a photographic memory, helping police do the artist sketch of what he looked like,” she shared. “Based off of that, they were able to apprehend him.”

Fran Drescher
Credit: Maarten de Boer/NBCUniversal via Getty

“I at least have the closure, which a lot of women sadly do not have,” the actress added. “But I do, that he’s locked away now for good and will never do that again and I don’t have to worry that I see him every time I turn a corner.”

In last week’s issue of PEOPLE, Drescher explained that after she was raped, she found it too difficult to tell her parents about the trauma.

“After the rape, my friends knew, but I couldn’t even call my parents and tell them,” she explained, adding that she didn’t want to be the cause of any “additional stress” for her parents.

fran-drescher
Credit: Christian Witkin

Over a decade after the rape, Drescher was diagnosed with uterine cancer — which she has said helped her go public with the harrowing incident for the first time in her 1996 autobiography Enter Whining.

That, I think, is a poetic correlation, because I really didn’t deal with my pain for many, many, many years with the rape,” she said on the Australian talk show Studio 10 in 2017. “So when you don’t do that … I mean, I ended up with a gynecological cancer. So it kind of ends up being very poetic in where the body decides to break down and create disease.”

“It’s been a colossal learning experience,” she added. “I’m not glad I had cancer and I don’t wish it on anyone, but I am better for it. Sometimes the best gifts come in the ugliest packages.”

If you or someone you know has been sexually assaulted, please contact the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 1-800-656-HOPE (4673) or go to online.rainn.org.