Kim Fields may be a well-loved television figure who has delighted fans all over the world with her depiction of Regine Hunter on “Living Single,” but while her career was at an all-time high, her life wasn’t all smooth sailing.
In a recent interview with Bustle, Fields revealed how she made it through that tumultuous time, and learned how to thrive amid disappointment and change.
Though “Living Single” was a hit that became iconic in its own right, Fields said that initially she wasn’t on board with doing the show.
“I wasn’t checking to do another sitcom and I certainly wasn’t checking to be in a house with a bunch of people again since that’s been much of my career [with Facts of Life and Living Single],” she told Bustle.
However, there’s something that drew her to show that made her understand that portraying Regine would be the next phase of her career. “But the tone of the show and the character (Regine) felt like uncharted waters for me. At this stage of my career, it’s all about how I can stretch out as a director, or a producer, or an actor and overall artist.”
Even with the success of “Living Single,” Fields admits that she didn’t have much time to consider fame, because she was too busy assessing the character she was playing, in an effort to provide her best performance.
“With [the role of] Regine, I never really had that sense of “I’ve arrived” because I don’t know what it is I’m trying to arrive to,” she said. “If anything, I used to thank my sanity like, ‘Oh, I still have that, I must’ve made it,’ especially considering that I’m a former child star.
“With Living Single, I saw it as a great opportunity to be a character I’ve never done before. I look at my work as a craftsman — you do all the work that goes into creating something that’s beautiful, iconic, strong, or whatever it may be. That’s how I looked at Regine because she was so different from me,” she continued.
Fields acknowledged that the groundbreaking nature of the show wasn’t something she fully realized at the time.
“When you’re in it, you just think, ‘I’m going to work,’ ” she said. “After a while, you realize it’s successful, but you certainly don’t realize the impact. Even with “Facts of Life,” we knew that we were successful because we were on nine years, but the thing about it is you really don’t feel impact until the impact has happened. When we were doing Living Single, I had no idea of the impact or the imprint that it was going to make.”
However, when the show eventually ended in 1997, the actor confessed that her 28-year-old self felt “let down by the entertainment industry and in a marriage on its last legs,” and that her “life at that moment was not what you would expect.”
“I wasn’t angry at God, but I was severely disappointed, Fields explained. “I remember thinking, ‘What are y’all doing up there with me?’ I felt like I planted tomatoes and I got telephone poles in my vineyard. It felt so foreign.”
She added, “My life at that moment was not what you would expect. I left ‘Living Single’ a few episodes shy of completing the full season because the work, the process, and everything else didn’t feel the same for me. I was at the point either divorced, or about to be divorced. I started a production company, and we had all these great projects but no deals.”
Ultimately, she experienced what was a dark stage of her life, during which she “shut down” and blocked out the world.
”I went through a stage where I completely shut down. I had these black-out curtains in my house, and I closed the drapes and stayed in bed for about two weeks, maybe longer,” she shared.
“I kept running down my resume to God: I’m a tither, I’m a worshiper, I’m faithful, I’m a good person, I was a good kid — all the things that should not equal me being here. I didn’t claim depression, but if I’m being real with myself, I’m sure there was a little bit of that out there.”
Fields said she got through that trying period after seeing an interview with Liza Minelli where she talked about overcoming a challenging time.
Since her time on “Living Single,” Fields has directed and produced multiple projects and even had a short stint in the reality world as a cast member on “The Real Housewives of Atlanta.” Now, you can catch the well-respected actress on the Netflix family comedy “The Upshaws” where she stars alongside Mike Epps and Wanda Sykes.