Gloria Loring is mourning the loss of her ex-husband Alan Thicke, who died of a heart attack at age 69 on Tuesday, December 13. In a new interview with Us Weekly, the Days of Our Lives alum, 70, reflects on her life with the late actor, with whom she shared sons Robin and Brennan Thicke.
"It's deep and it's a profoundly sad wound to our family," Loring tells Us of the Growing Pains star's death. "Anytime you lose one of the major father-mother figures in a family, it's very hard. And Alan was definitely a big presence in our family. If he entered the room, the party started. He just had a great sense of humor and a wonderful energy. We all loved him."
The former couple were legally married from 1970 to 1986, although they separated in 1984. In the years following, they stayed close and often got together at family holiday parties, most recently at Robin's Thanksgiving party last month.
"He was entertaining the people," Loring recalls of the festive gathering. "He was talking and visiting and quipping and throwing the funny lines around and just being the host. He was always the host. When we were married, I was in the kitchen and he was the host. And he had a very funny line. In fact, I told him, I said, 'I swear, I stayed married [to you] a lot longer than I would have because you were so darn funny.' And at one point, he said to somebody, 'No, Gloria and I have a great marriage. It's a 50/50 marriage. She cleans and I dirty.'"
According to the singer and actress, Alan was a "very devoted" dad to his three children. (He also shared son Carter with ex-wife Gina Tolleson.) "He was a good dad. He really was," she says.
Like many of the Growing Pains alum's fans, Loring was shocked by the news of his untimely death. "I think it's so hard when someone goes all of a sudden," she tells Us. "No preparation, no time to say anything that needs to be said or smooth something over. It's really hard. But I think Alan was very happy with his life. He was having fun."
The showbiz veteran died at the Providence Saint Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, California, on Tuesday after he collapsed while playing ice hockey with son Carter, 19. "He was really proud of Carter," Loring adds. "Carter's just a wonderful kid. He's a terrific kid."
As the family prepares for a memorial service set for this Sunday and the upcoming funeral, a source says Robin, 39, is being hands-on. "Robin is being incredible. He is focused on making everything work," the insider tells Us of the "Blurred Lines" singer. "He's been flying in all of his family and putting them up at his house and arranging everything for this weekend. He is the pillar of the family right now."
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