Look Who's Walking
That ride came to an end when, on Nov. 27, Alley, 45, and Stevenson, 44, confirmed a report by syndicated columnist Liz Smith that they were divorcing. "We intend to remain the best of friends and devoted parents to our two children," they said in a written statement. Alley's Cheers costar Ted Danson and his wife, Mary Steenburgen, declined comment but told friends they were amazed. Says Bill Barnett, who produced Alley's forthcoming family film Sticks and Stones: "I have no idea what happened. They seemed fine—happily married."
So they did. Alley even liked to tell the world about it—as she did in 1991, when she received a Best Actress Emmy award for her role as Rebecca Howe on Cheers and giddily thanked her husband "for giving me 'the big one.' " Even after a 1990 miscarriage, Alley remained optimistic, assuring PEOPLE that "there will be babies." Two years later the couple made good on her promise, adopting William True, now 4; they later adopted Lillie Price, who is 2. In 1991 they bought a 15-bedroom inn on the Maine island of Islesboro as a summer home while keeping a 32-room mansion in Encino, Calif., and a cluster of log cabins in Ashland, Ore.
But the family was rarely seen together publicly in the last several years, perhaps because their careers took Alley and Stevenson down different paths. In addition to six seasons on Cheers, Alley made three Look Who's Talking movies and won a second Emmy for the TV drama David's Mother. She will appear in the next film from Woody Allen and may star in a new sitcom for NBC. By comparison, after a brief appearance in Melrose Place, Stevenson found himself confined largely to directing episodic TV. An actress close to the couple says that Stevenson was "kind of overwhelmed by Kirstie."
He actually had a head start toward success. Raised in Rye, N.Y., the son of an investment adviser and an actress, he made his first film, 1972's A Separate Peace, while still in high school. After graduating from Princeton in 1976, he landed his two-year signature role opposite Shaun Cassidy on ABC's The Hardy Boys Mysteries.
Alley grew up in Wichita, Kans., the daughter of a lumber company owner. In 1977, she dropped out of Kansas State University, became an interior decorator and developed a fondness for cocaine—a habit she later kicked, she says, through a rehab program developed by the founder of the Church of Scientology. In 1981, the same week her mother died in a car accident, she landed her breakthrough role as Spock's protege in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan. Soon afterward she spotted Stevenson at an L.A. bar. "I saw him and said, 'For him, I would die,' " she told PEOPLE in 1983. They danced and dated, and in December 1983 they married.
As outspoken as Alley can be, she—like Stevenson—has so far declined to comment on their breakup. Something she told PEOPLE in 1990 may help explain why. Whenever she gets upset, she said at the time, "I cry in the bathroom. I've always been that way. I don't like public displays of grief."
JOHN HANNAH and VICKI SHEFF-CAHAN in Los Angeles and ANTHONY DUIGNAN-CABRERA on Islesboro
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