Lisa Whelchel rose to fame in the 70s and 80s for her portrayal of Blair Warner, the preppy character on the popular sitcom “The Facts of Life.” Known for her constant stream of brilliant ideas on the show, Whelchel’s Christian morals played a pivotal role in an important decision she made when the show’s producers wanted to include a storyline about Blair losing her virginity.
In a recent interview, Lisa shared, “So, when I heard that was going to be one of the storylines for that year, I did come to the producers and say, ‘I don’t think I can be a part of that.’ Because for one thing, I really felt a big responsibility of knowing that there were young girls watching this show and that you can’t deal with that topic in 20 minutes with a couple of commercials.”
Although the writers eventually assigned the storyline to another character, Whelchel still felt uncomfortable being associated with the episode in any capacity. She even requested to be written out of the episode entirely, standing firm in her beliefs. However, this decision came at a cost, as she lost out on a paycheck of $50,000.
Fortunately, Lisa felt supported and understood by the show’s writers and creators. She said, “I’m sure there were some parts that I wasn’t offered, but that’s OK. I don’t feel like I had any backlash because of it.”
This was not the only instance where Whelchel had to choose between fame and faith. She famously turned down the role of Rachel on the hit show “Friends” because she believed it would frequently delve into sexual topics.
Reflecting on her decision, she mentioned, “I don’t regret not taking that opportunity. My kids, on the other hand… I remember my daughter once said, ‘Are you telling me that [Jennifer Aniston’s ex] Brad Pitt could have been my father?'”
Lisa has been known to be friends with other like-minded stars, including the late Erin Moran from “Happy Days.” Moran credited Whelchel with helping her find Jesus Christ after they worked together on the NBC made-for-TV movie “Twirl.”
Whelchel’s own faith journey began at the age of 10 when she stumbled upon a neighborhood church with a friend. Initially attracted by the promise of free donuts and orange juice at Sunday school, she soon discovered that attending church held a deeper significance for her. “Every time I walked through those church doors, it felt like my heart had found its home,” she shared.
Lisa’s career and family life have been guided by her unwavering faith. Alongside her fulfilling marriage to Pete, she finds immense joy in her children and three grandchildren. Her role as a parent holds paramount importance in her life, evident in the love and affection she shares through heartwarming moments of her grandchildren on Instagram.
Whelchel’s ability to openly express her faith from such a young age is truly commendable, leaving a lasting impact on her career and personal life.