After four decades of acting, dancing, choreographing and directing in showbiz, Debbie Allen is still as busy as ever. The Fame star just helmed the 300th episode of Grey’s Anatomy, is rehearsing her holiday stage musical Hot Chocolate Nutcracker and is raising money to take her multimedia show Freeze Frame…Stop the Madness around the country and (with help from Grey’s creator Shonda Rhimes and the Annenberg Foundation) give her Debbie Allen Dance Academy a home.
“The one thing I don’t do very well is sleep!” says the star, 67, who also was a producer of the groundbreaking sitcom A Different World and Steven Spielberg’s Amistad. Yet with all her achievements, she says, “One of the most important things I’ve ever done was to be a mom.”
She’s fiercely proud of her two kids, Vivian, 33, and Norman Jr., 30. Now Debbie opens up to Closer about her relationship with her sister, actress Phylicia Rashad; the secret to her 33-year-marriage with husband and retired NBA player Norm Nixon, 62; and how she “finds joy every day.”
“Last night was so cute. After my husband and I finished dinner, I was so sleepy. He said, ‘That’s it! You’re not going to take off your clothes. We’re going to bed just like we are,'” she shared. “It was fun to just cuddle up and pass out together. We slept so well.” However, Debbie added she would use the word “energy” to describe herself.
When it comes to her son and daughter, Debbie couldn’t help but gush over how much she loves parenting. “One of the most important things I’ve ever done was to bring these human beings into the world,” she said. “They are good people — Norman Jr. is a comedian and a great composer who wrote most of the music for Freeze Frame, and Vivian [dances] in it. She is my muse!”
And don’t worry, fans — it doesn’t sound like this star is losing its shine anytime soon. “When you are aging, you are living. I’m still learning things and loving life. I’m even grateful for challenges — they help you get out of bed. And I’m happy every morning that I wake up!” she shared.
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