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"There is a difference between being alone and being lonely," says Teri Hatcher

By Aili Nahas
December 18, 2019 11:00 AM
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She just celebrated her 55th birthday, and Teri Hatcher is feeling better than ever.

“I feel good, and I feel strong,” the actress, famous for roles on Desperate Housewives and Lois & Clark, tells PEOPLE.

“It’s liberating to care about the things that are important to you and not about the things that aren’t important to you. When you’re younger, you can get really hung up on things,” she says. “I have the opportunity to think about things differently.”

  • For more from Teri Hatcher, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday
teri hatcher
Teri Hatcher

That means Hatcher is well-equipped to deal with the occasional Internet bully.

“Somebody commented the other day how badly I’ve aged and how ugly I am,” Hatcher says. “I actually commented back and said something like, ‘I’m sure you’re as attractive on the outside as you are on the inside.’ It’s just nice to be in a place where you can let it roll off your back.”

And when it comes to her personal life, Hatcher is unequivocal about one thing.

“There is a difference between being lonely and being alone,” says the actress, who divorced actor Jon Tenney in 2003. “I have been single for a very long time but there is nothing lonely about my life. I want to remove the stigma of that.”

Continues Hatcher: “Many women who get divorced will not get remarried. That kind of sounds depressing but it doesn’t have to be. Many women are not just surviving alone, they’re thriving. They’re empowered, they’re making money, they’re being healthy, they’re traveling. You are allowed to be proud of your life when you’re not part of a couple.”

Teri Hatcher
Credit: Gisela Schober/Getty

And Hatcher has plenty to be proud of. The mother of 22-year-old Emerson has been deeply involved with The People Concern, a nonprofit social service agency fighting homelessness, and also hosts a YouTube channel, Hatching Change.

“Every year feels like it goes by faster and faster,” she says. “Positivity is really important to me. And I really try to enjoy where I am.”