Suzanne Somers Apologizes for Joking Her Husband Has Sex with Her While She's Asleep

"Nonconsensual sex is a serious and far too common issue," Suzanne Somers tells PEOPLE

Suzanne Somers is apologizing after joking about marital rape.

The joke was made during an appearance the former Three’s Company star made with Alan Hamel, her husband of almost 40 years, Thursday on the Today show.

Host Megyn Kelly asked the couple about their active sex life and Somers, 71, called Hamel, 81, an “animal.”

“Sometimes I’m not awake for it, though,” the actress quipped.

Her comment was met with laughter from Kelly, Hamel and Somers herself.

“Alan’s like, ‘Those are some of the best times!’ ” Kelly joked, to which Alan replied, “Fine by me!”

Somers added that she’d recently been speaking to a Canadian lawyer friend who was working on a marital rape case. (In the U.S., marital rape is illegal in all 50 states.)

“I said, ‘You would be in jail,’ ” Somers joked of discussing the case with her husband, with whom she recently wrote the memoir Two’s Company: A Fifty-Year Romance with Lessons Learned in Love, Life & Business.

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But now, Somers is expressing regret for the comments.

“While out promoting my book, Two’s Company, I answered ‘yes’ when asked if my husband and I have sex every day, then joked that, ‘I’m not always awake for it.’ I then carried the joke too far. I am deeply sorry,” Somers tells PEOPLE. “Nonconsensual sex is a serious and far too common issue. I am fortunate to be in a deeply loving relationship with my husband, one built on mutual respect and trust. If the last few months have taught us anything, it’s that way too many women and men have seen the dark side of sex and I need to be more sensitive to this. I am sorry.”

  • For an exclusive excerpt from Two’s Company, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE — on newsstands now.

In Two’s Company, Somers and Hamel chronicle their 50-year romance and reveal what they believe is the secret to a successful relationship.

“Listen to one another, give each other a lot of attention, and date — keep the romance in it,” says Somers, who states in the book that she and Hamel have sex every day. “It’s just everything I wanted it to be. Everything.”

“At this point we are one,” adds Hamel. “I am very lucky.”

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