[on her on- and off-screen relationship with gospel singer, actress and evangelist Della Reese, who played Tess]: She has adopted me, and is my mother to this day. My mom died when I was a girl, and her daughter passed away toward the end of the run. She said she always knew God brought her into my life because I needed a mother. What she hadn't realized was that God brought me into her life because she was going to need a daughter. She asked me if I would be her daughter and I said I would, and she said, 'Then I am your mother.' I live here in Malibu and she's in Beverly Hills and we get together every few weeks. She comes to grandparents' days at the kids' school and it's a beautiful relationship, another legacy of love. I'm so grateful to the show for that. It gave me a beautiful mother in my life. My mom died when I was 10, and I was so impacted by that, as you can imagine. Often I would find myself in the company of older women fantasizing and longing, dreaming for that maternal nurturing. When Della and I met that first day on the set, it was like we'd known each other forever, yet we couldn't have been more different. I was raised a young white child in Northern Island, and here she was this sort of larger than life black woman from Detroit. Yet our souls connected and really, the joy we brought to each other has really been beautiful. When I see reruns of the series and that relationship, I realize there were many ingredients that were part of the show's success. And yet that relationship reflected on-screen what we felt off-screen, and was a great part of the chemistry.