On December 23, Susan Lucci celebrated her milestone 75th birthday. Unfortunately, the party felt a little bittersweet because of the absence of her mother, Jeanette, who passed away last summer at age 104. “I miss her tremendously,” Susan confides.

The actress attributes her own vibrant health to good genes and lessons she learned from her mother. “She was a registered nurse who believed in prevention,” says Susan, who encourages everyone to do “the best with what you’ve got. Get up off the couch, take it day by day, and do what works for you.”

For the former All My Children star, that means frequent Pilates workouts, adhering to a Mediterranean-style diet based around fresh vegetables, fruit and fish, and making wellness a priority. “Over the past few years, I’ve gotten more in touch with my spiritual side,” Susan exclusively tells Closer Weekly, on newsstands now. “I think keeping an open heart and open mind has been very helpful to me.”

Of course, you can’t control everything. In 2018, Susan underwent heart surgery after a large blockage in her main artery almost caused a massive heart attack.

Susan Lucci Today
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“Mine was caused by a calcium buildup,” a genetic predisposition Susan says she inherited from her father. “I learned with my heart incident that stress plays a very real role in our health,” she explains. “Physical exercise, in addition to keeping you physically healthier, is a great way to de-stress.”

Susan is grateful to have discovered Pilates, a body-toning regimen she practices six times a week. “I
do several forms. I love my Pilates Pro Chair because it gives me cardio at the same time, but I also work out with a mat and a vinyl ball,” she says. “I intend to keep it up this year, and I am looking for ways of stepping it up, too.”

Susan admits that turning 75 “takes my breath away,” but she’s not afraid of getting older. “I hope there is some wisdom that comes from life experience that is settling in,” she says. “We shall see!”

— Reporting by Katie Bruno

For more on this story, pick up the latest issue of Closer magazine, on newsstands now.