Suzanne Somers has had quite a life! A couple of years ago, she said she was interested in posing for Playboy again for her 75th birthday. It seems that the Queen of Thighmaster has put her hard feelings aside for the publication because she’d been in Playboy twice before. And it caused her a whole heap of trouble!
TBT Suzanne’s Nude Instagram Pics Led to a Trip Down Memory Lane
Suzanne Somers’s husband, Alan Hamel, took a photo of her topless for her 73rd birthday. That photo went viral. As Somers put it, the photo “ Kardashianed” on social media.
“Here I am at 73 in my Birthday Suit!!!” Somers captioned the picture. She was squatting behind some tall grass, in front of a yellow desert flower. Looking almost as if she came off a survival show, Somers is completely in the nude, holding her breasts to cover her nipples. Publications referred to the photo as “topless” but in actuality, she was completely naked.
People recreated the photo shoot about 6 months later. Once again, Somers went viral in her birthday suit.
While interviewed by Access Hollywood’s Kit Hoover during the COVID lockdown, Somers was asked if she’d do Playboy again.
“That would be interesting,” Somers responded. “Maybe on my 75th birthday… That would be really cool. I would like Annie Liebovitz to shoot me nude for Playboy for my 75th birthday. Okay? That’s now on record.”
The First Time Suzanne Somers Did Playboy, The Photos Weren’t Published
When Somers first posed for Playboy, she did it out of desperation. As a young teenage mom, her son, Bruce Jr., was run over by a car.
“He was given a 50/50 chance to live,” Somers told Adam Carolla. “The woman who hit him had no insurance. I had no child support, no insurance from the father. And I was broke and being harassed by bill collectors.”
In 1970, Somers was modeling, which she describes as a “small ‘m’” kind of thing. One of the photographers she was working with, Stan Malinowski, said he worked for Playboy. He told Somers that she could win $15,000 if she posed for the publication and was chosen as Playmate of the Month.
Thinking that the sum of money would be enough to get the debt collectors off her back, Somers gave it a shot. But she only did a test photo shoot. Somers then said that she didn’t want the nude images released.
Playboy Held Onto Her Photos for a Decade, Published Them Without Permission
Fast-forward a decade.
A few years after the unpublished Playboy test run, Somers landed the role of Chrissy Snow on Three’s Company. That role shot her to super fame, and she had a pretty good contract with ABC.
In 1980, an entire decade after the unpublished Playboy test run, Somers was then on The Tonight Show. She claimed that she’d never posed nude with the exception of a topless photo for High Society. But when Playboy caught wind of this fib, they set the record straight.
In February of 1980, Playboy went ahead and published Suzanne Somers’s 10-year-old Playboy photos. Somers has since said they weren’t very good photos. But they are actually quite beautiful. She’s out in nature and is looking carefree and wild, without trying to impress anyone. That in itself is quite sexy. Plus, she was rocking a massive bush. Can anyone say, WOMAN?
But the sudden attention was quite catastrophic for Somers. She was canceled from many contracts and ABC wanted to fire her for violating certain clauses. Although it was from a long time ago, the photos had come back to haunt her.
“Those pictures were taken of me when I was 18. I still had a lot of baby fat,” Somers told UPI Hollywood. “I’d just had a baby and the photographs were supposed to be a test. They were lousy pictures. I weighed 20 pounds more than I do now.
“I was hurt and furious when Playboy printed the pictures without my consent,” said Somers.
Somers Moved On But Playboy Wanted Her Back
Later that same year, Somers asked Three’s Company to up her salary and the network allegedly retaliated against her, writing her out of the show. Somers then moved on to Las Vegas and began a new career as an entertainer and the Thighmaster infomercial Queen. Thighmaster sold over 10 million units with Somers as the spokesperson!
The Death of a Salesman star then sued Playboy and won $50,000 (just over $180,000 by today’s standards). She donated it all to charity, though!
But then, Playboy asked Suzanne Somers if she’d work with them again. Somers, whose husband Alan is also her manager, spoke to Alan about it.
“I told them they had their nerve after what they did to me the first time,” Suzanne said of the request. “But Alan and I talked it over when we got home. There were nude pictures of me out there already and they were bad.
“Why should they keep circulating? Why not have some good ones that show me in the best shape I’ve ever been in after six years on the road, doing two shows a night, six nights a week?”
Somers Finally Set Her Own Terms with Playboy
Suzanne Somers agreed to pose again for Playboy in return for a really big paycheck and total control of the photos. They flew to Hawaii for a 4-day shoot.
“’I had to have 100 percent control,” Suzanne told UPI. “Any magazine would choose the most revealing rather than the best pictures. I made sure there were no gynecological shots.
“It killed the magazine to give me final approval of all photos because they were afraid it would set a precedent. But they were gents and lived up to the bargain. They redeemed themselves in my eyes.
“The 14 pictures they used were exactly what I wanted. They have a Bardot quality, stylish and classy.”
Those photos were published in the December 1984 Playboy issue.
While the roundabout story of Somers and Playboy may seem a little strange at first, there is one incredibly redeeming point I’d like to make. Somers refers to herself as the first woman to attempt to negotiate a higher salary (she just wanted equal pay) in Hollywood. And for that, she was practically martyred. That was with ABC network. Playboy kind of rectified that, in a way. She got to return to the limelight and finally set her own terms. That’s feminism for you.