Debra Messing: Splitting With Husband Daniel Zelman Was “Completely Traumatic”

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Writer/producer Daniel Zelman (L) and actress Debra Messing arrive at the 61st Primetime Emmy Awards held at the Nokia Theatre on September 20, 2009 in Los Angeles, California.  

Debra Messing‘s decision to end her marriage to Daniel Zelman wasn’t an easy one.

In the June issue of Ladies’ Home Journal, the Smash star opens up for the first time about why she chose to end her 10-year marriage and 20-year relationship with actor-TV producer Zelman, 44.

“Twenty years. It’s a very long time,” Messing, 43, tells the magazine. “I think the institute of marriage is a noble thing. I think the idea of a partner for life is incredibly romantic. But now we’re living to 100. A hundred years ago people were dying at age 37. Till death do us part was a much different deal.”

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Separating from her husband — and then relocating from L.A. to New York with him to co-parent their son Roman, 8 — has been “completely traumatic,” Messing adds.

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“I had to find a school for my second grader. We didn’t have a home, we didn’t have furniture. It was literally moving here with nothing but faith and hope,” Messing says. “It was traumatic because every aspect of my life was going through a huge change.”

Despite a difficult 2011, Messing — who is currently dating her Smash costar Will Chase, 41 — is hopeful that this year will be her best yet.

debra messing and will chase
Will Chase and girlfriend Debra Messing attend the Gore Vidal’s “The Best Man” Broadway Opening night party at Brasserie 81/2 on April 1, 2012 in New York, New York.

“It’s a new chapter in my personal life. I’m walking a path I’ve never walked before. But I’m optimistic,” she tells Ladies’ Home Journal. “Every thought is dictated by what’s best for our son. [Daniel and I] are completely on the same page in that regard. We are dear friends. And I am at peace with the journey we’ve had. I feel like the 20 years we had together has been a huge success. And despite the fact that everything is changing, I think everyone is thriving.”

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