Phylicia Rashad Talks Life After The Cosby Show: I’m Just Getting Started! (2024)

She played one of America’s favorite working moms, Clair Huxtable, on the 1984 to 1992 smash The Cosby Show, and in real life, Phylicia Rashad is equally devoted to her children. When her youngest, daughter Condola Rashad, now 31, left for college and Phylicia returned home, “there was silence, and then I lost it for about five minutes,” she exclusively reveals to Closer Weekly. “Thank heavens I had work to keep me together, because I really was a hands-on mother.” With time, she’s learned to embrace her new life. “I was used to making sure that the needs of my two children [including son William Bowles III, 44] were met. I enjoyed it, but I found all this free time for me. That was different!”

Lately, Phylicia’s thrown herself into many new roles — including a spy operative guiding Jean-Claude Van Damme in the recent Amazon series Jean-Claude Van Johnson and a devious matriarch on Fox’s Empire — and she’s making her NYC stage directing debut with the comedy Our Lady of 121st Street, running off-Broadway from May 1 to June 10. Now Phylicia, 69, opens up to Closer about her exciting third act, her family (including her Tony-nominated sister, Debbie Allen, 68) and how, despite three divorces, she feels “surrounded by love.” Scroll down to reaed our Q&A with Phylicia!

Phylicia Rashad Talks Life After The Cosby Show: I’m Just Getting Started! (1)

Phylicia as Clair on The Cosby Show.

You’ve been really busy showing new sides of yourself in your latest shows!

You see Jean-Claude Van Damme and me in ways you’ve never seen us before [in Jean- Claude Van Johnson]. Not since the days of Get Smart has there been such silly fun! And this summer I was working on the play Head of Passes in LA, then flying to Chicago to film Empire. It was a lot! It was also a blessing.

You’ve done many different roles since The Cosby Show, but do fans still call you Clair Huxtable?

A number of people do, so it’s very interesting to have people now refer to me as [Empire’s] Diana DuBois! The truth is, if I’d never worked past The Cosby Show, I could say I worked and worked well, so all of this is good for me.

Do you feel you broke a glass ceiling by playing a professional mom in the ’80s?

I was surprised with that. It was a nice bonus. The main thing was that it helped women laugh at things they normally might have been annoyed with — adolescent behavior particularly.

Phylicia Rashad Talks Life After The Cosby Show: I’m Just Getting Started! (2)

Phylicia on Empire.

Was it hard to see your kids leave home?

When my youngest, Condola, left for CalArts, I was in Boston and her father [ex-husband Ahmad Rashad] called to say his heart was a little broken and he wanted to give her everything he had in his pockets. It wasn’t until I came home that it hit me.

You’ve wed dentist William Lancelot Bowles Jr., singer Victor Willis, and ex–NFL star Ahmad Rashad, but recently said, “I don’t feel I’ve ever been married…. OK then, stop.”

[I meant] just what I said. Just what I said.

Do you still believe in love?

Absolutely. I am surrounded by love!

Was it tough being a single mom at times?

It was more difficult during my son’s early years when I was in the chorus of The Wiz. At age seven, he could say, “Mommy, you needed more energy in this part here,” and he’d be right! Then when I was in the chorus and an understudy in Dreamgirls, that was the most difficult period — I saw him in the morning and when he was asleep in bed. But we had to eat. When I moved on to my first soap, _One Life to Live _, I could enjoy evenings at home and Saturdays in the park with him.

Phylicia Rashad Talks Life After The Cosby Show: I’m Just Getting Started! (3)

Phylicia and her daughter Condola.

What did your kids teach you?

Patience. And that even though you’re the parent and what you say goes, you may not always be right.

How were you and your sister, Debbie, supportive of each other?

When she came to NYC from college, we took an apartment together and we’d hide money in each other’s pockets — but I didn’t realize she was doing it, too! That way we could still maintain a feeling of independence like we forgot we put it there.

What are the benefits of this stage of your life?

I wonder about that myself. Time is valued, so I don’t want to waste it. Relationships are greatly appreciated.

Anything left on your to-do list?

I’ve got stuff to do! I’ve optioned a book, and I’ll direct that project as well. I’ve got the world to see, and I’ve gotta see my [engaged] daughter married. Recently I’ve been invited to be the ambassador of the African American Cultural Heritage Action Fund to help save historic sites.

Phylicia Rashad Talks Life After The Cosby Show: I’m Just Getting Started! (4)

Phylicia and her sister Debbie.

So no plans to slow down anytime soon?

Oh, no. I’m just getting started!

For more on Phylicia Rashad, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more exclusive news!

Phylicia Rashad Talks Life After The Cosby Show: I’m Just Getting Started! (2024)

FAQs

What does Phylicia Rashad say about Bill Cosby now? ›

"A miscarriage of justice is corrected," the actress wrote on social media Wednesday. While Rashad praised the news of Cosby's release, others took to social media to condemn the move. Cosby has served more than two years of a three- to 10-year sentence at a state prison near Philadelphia.

Did Phylicia Rashad ever talk about Bill Cosby? ›

Following the news of his release, Cosby Show alum Phylicia Rashad praised Cosby, writing on Instagram and Twitter, "FINALLY!!!! A terrible wrong is being righted - a miscarriage of justice is corrected!"

What did Phylicia Rashad say about Bill Cosby's conviction? ›

Phylicia Rashad On Bill Cosby's Overturned Conviction: 'A Terrible Wrong Is Being Righted' - CBS Los Angeles.

Who was Bill Cosby's wife in The Cosby Show? ›

Clair is portrayed by American actress Phylicia Rashad. In addition to appearances on both television and Broadway, Rashad had a recurring role as Courtney Wright on the soap opera One Life to Live before Cosby personally selected her to play his character's wife.

Are Bill Cosby and Phylicia Rashad still friends? ›

Personally, I know from friends and family that such abuse has lifelong residual effects. My heartfelt wish is for healing. Cosby and Rashad have been friends for decades; Rashad played his wife on TV twice — from 1984 to 1992 on The Cosby Show and from 1996 to 2000 on CBS sitcom Cosby.

What is Phylicia Rashad apologizing for? ›

Actress Phylicia Rashad sent a letter to Howard University students and parents on Friday, offering “[her] most sincere apology” for tweeting in celebration of Bill Cosby's sexual assault conviction being overturned.

How old was Bill Cosby during The Cosby Show? ›

Why did Bill Cosby seem like an old man in the Cosby Show if he was only in his 40s? He was 47 when the show started, doesn't look noticeably older to me. Cliff was an obstetrician, so often was supposed to have been without sleep for quite a while.

Who did we need to talk about Cosby? ›

We Need to Talk About Cosby is an American documentary miniseries directed and produced by W. Kamau Bell. It explores the life and career of Bill Cosby up to his sexual assault cases, through conversations with comedians, journalists, and survivors. It premiered on January 30, 2022, on Showtime.

How did Bill Cosby not get convicted? ›

Why did the court overturn the conviction? Because prosecutors violated Mr. Cosby's rights by reneging on an apparent promise not to charge him, the court majority ruled.

Who stood by Bill Cosby? ›

From Jill Scott to his former TV wife Phylicia Rashad, the television staple has had some strong advocates in his corner throughout. — By Moriba Cummings and BET Staff(Photos from left: Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for BET, Astrid Stawiarz/Getty Images)

Did Bill Cosby's wife leave? ›

Wrongdoing that egregious would be more than enough to break up any relationship, so many are wondering, is Bill Cosby still married? In fact, he is. Camille Cosby, Bill's wife of more than half a century and his longtime manager, has defended him for years and still stands by his side to this day.

Who is Phylicia Rashad's current partner? ›

Was Claire pregnant on The Cosby Show? ›

At the same time as Season 3, Phylicia Rashad (Claire Huxtable) was pregnant, and like in many episodes, hid her pregnancy.

Who supports Bill Cosby? ›

Cosby also found loyal supporters in his former costars. Keshia Knight Pullam — who played his onscreen daughter Rudy in The Cosby Show — spoke out in his defense in 2015 during an interview with Access Hollywood: "Whoever is involved, those are the people who were there.

What is Bill Cosby's tragic flaw? ›

He was beloved; nevertheless, he destroyed his life work, reputation, and family by sexually assaulting young women throughout his life.

Who wrote we need to talk about Cosby? ›

Writer/director W. Kamau Bell's exploration of Bill Cosby's descent from "America's Dad" to convicted sexual predator.

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