‘The Love Boat’ Star Gavin MacLeod on Life After Alcoholism — “I’ve Learned to Forgive Myself”

Gavin MacLeod is getting candid about turning 86!

The Love Boat star opened up in an exclusive interview with Closer Weekly about his rough life filled with divorce, depression, and drinking — and revealed he’s taken a lot away from it. “I’ve learned to forgive myself,” he confessed. “I’m grateful for every day I’m here.”

He talked in-depth about his scary battle with alcoholism and even shared it almost ended his life. “I was friends with Ted Knight when I was doing McHale’s Navy [from 1962 to 1964], and he said, ‘Why are you doing this show? You’re a glorified extra.’ I heard that over and over in my head and started drinking. I thought I wasn’t worth anything, that my wife and kids would be better off without me,” Gavin confessed.

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Gavin on The Love Boat in 1997.

“One day I was up on [the cliffs of] Mulholland Drive and thought, ‘I’m going to end it all.’ I started driving down this huge embankment when my foot somehow wound up on the brake,” he added. “Robert Blake lived nearby, and the next thing I know, I’m at his house telling him what I just attempted to do. He said, ‘You better go to my shrink’ and got me into therapy. Then I got myself into a support group. I am here today because of Robert Blake!”

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Gavin was married to Joan Devore from 1954 until 1972 (they had four kids together), but he later divorced her for his second wife, Patty MacLeod. The two were a pair from 1974 until their split in 1982, which happened to be the same time Gavin got sober.

So why did they break up exactly? “The Love Boat happened. It was the first time I was the big gun for a show, and I wanted to be alone to work [more],” he shared.

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Gavin and Patti in 2011.

However, the couple later remarried in 1985 and have been together ever since! Gavin credits their reconciliation to himself finally figuring out what he was missing. “Three years later, I saw a play with _Bernie Kopell** and his wife and got to thinking about [Patti]. I was living in this big house in Beverly Hills and thought I had it all. Oh, how wrong I was!”

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“When I saw her, she said, ‘Here’s your dinner. It’s a bit cold, but it has been waiting for three years!'” So sweet!

For more from Gavin, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now!

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Click through the gallery below to see the cast of Loveboat then and now!