Celebrities Coping With Coronavirus Quarantine
6 stars share the ups, downs and insights they're gaining while staying home
En español | As America (and the world) continues to shelter in place to stem the spread of COVID-19, we are discovering that social media offer more glimpses than ever into the lives (and living rooms) of actors, musicians and journalists. Hear more on how some famed personalities are coping during the pandemic — and what they're learning about the world and themselves in the process.
Beau Bridges, 78, actor
Currently sheltering: At home with his wife, Wendy, and son Zeke, 26
"There's so much about regular old life I miss. Wendy and I have five children altogether and I miss our two grandkids so much. Every day we FaceTime with them. The 1½-year-old can't figure out why he can't hug his Packa and his Mimi, you know? But I'll juggle for them or play music — I'm taking online slack-key guitar lessons from a friend of mine in Hawaii. Every weekday at noon, I read children's stories on Instagram from a storybook I wrote that's combined with my mother's journals.
"We also try to get out into nature to remind ourselves of the wonders all around us. We'll take our two little French bulldogs and go listen to the birds. There seem to be more birds around than ever. I'll go gather flowers for the table for lunch. My father [actor Lloyd Bridges] raised orchids that we have, and they're coming into bloom right now."
Yo-Yo Ma, 64, cellist
Currently sheltering: At home with his wife, Jill Hornor
"We are members of AARP, my wife and I, and a lot of people who are our age or older are cooped up at home. What is our sense of independence? You still have your mind, and through art, your mind can go all kinds of places. Maybe you escape by reading a book, or maybe there's a wonderful film that you can watch that reminds you of a different time. A piece of music can do that, too. It can actually keep you company and momentarily take you away. Music reaches deep into our soul and lifts us. If we need consolation but can't get a hug, well, music can give us a hug.
"I was talking to colleagues about what we could do to help, and we thought we should put some live music online. We wanted to call them ‘songs of comfort and hope,’ but shortened the name to a social media hashtag: #SongsOfComfort. The next day I came back with a cello and one of my colleagues took out an iPhone, and I just played a whole bunch of songs and started posting them on Instagram and Facebook. I invited everyone out there to join me, and I was thrilled to see the idea catch on. We've had thousands of people post videos of themselves playing or singing songs of comfort, from students to health care workers to artists like the Indigo Girls. It just shows how much people want to help."
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Valerie Bertinelli, 60, star of One Day at a Time and Food Network's Valerie's Home Cooking
Currently sheltering: At home with her husband, Tom Vitale, six cats and a dog
"I hope people are watching out for their mental health as much as their physical health. It really tests a person's faith to be facing this thing. How it keeps us all apart. How it's hurting people who really want to work but can't. Wearing masks and gloves all the time, just to pick up the mail or talk to a neighbor from a distance. What impact is this having on us? My own son couldn't come inside the house when he visited because we're really being diligent about beating COVID-19.
"Stopping negative thoughts is hard, I gotta tell you. I'll feel angry or sad. Sometimes I'll cry. Sometimes I feel terrified — because there's lots of terror. This is the first time I haven't worked since I was 12 and it's hard to create structure for your days. In the beginning I thought, I'm going to go through every drawer and closet and so far, I haven't touched one.
"The thing that works best for me is physical activity. Going for a bike ride or a vigorous walk is good. We've been listening to more music, too, which is always a relief. How can you not feel better dancing around the house to Elton John? The other night my husband put up a screen outside so we could pretend we were going out to a real movie. You grab your fun where you can get it."
Savannah Guthrie, 48, cohost of NBC's Today show
Currently sheltering: At home with her husband, Michael, and children Vale, 5, and Charles, 3
"In early March, NBC reached out and said, ‘In the event you need to broadcast from home, could we set up a camera in your basement?’ I said, ‘Sure.’ It seemed like this far-fetched doomsday scenario but then I got a sore throat and a cold, and we did it as a precaution. I have two young kids, so I had to duct-tape the door closed.
"We lost a beloved member of our staff, audio technician Larry Edgeworth, to the virus early on. That hit everyone really hard. When he passed away, I just looked at everything differently. My mom is 78 and lives alone in Arizona. She's asthmatic — the very person you don't want to get coronavirus. She's super active, with her book club and mahjong and having her friends over, and social distancing has been hard for her. I pleaded with her to stay home. She and I now attend church services together via Zoom every Sunday. She took my challenge to try at-home yoga using Yoga With Adriene on YouTube. In some ways, we're closer because of this terrible situation. Now I just need her to be patient and safe until regular life resumes. I remind her, ‘Don't go over to Sally's and sit on the porch. The pharmacy can deliver what you need. Mom, don't take a chance. Because we need you.’ "
Aaron Neville, 79, soul and R&B vocalist and musician
Currently sheltering: At home with his wife, Sarah Ann Friedman
"They said that being almost 80, I would be a prime candidate to get the virus. Plus, I have asthma. I don't want to get sick. So, I canceled my tour dates and we've been home and isolated on our farm in New York. Sarah runs the farm. I do the watering in the greenhouse and whatever else I can. We have about 100 chickens, plus strawberries, tomatoes and honeybees. We have enough food in our freezer thanks to two cows we used to have. Their names were T-Bone and Ribeye. Being from New Orleans, I make a lot of red beans.
"Our living room is now a recording studio. I have my piano plugged into the computer and I play free concerts on Sunday on Facebook. I'm drawn back, almost in a reverie in my mind, to playing the stuff I heard when I was a kid. I play spiritual music. I play doo-wop. It's what I'm connecting with the most, and it's bringing so much comfort right now.
"The rest of the time I'm doing what everybody else is doing. I'm staying in. Playing solitaire sometimes. Playing dominoes. Walking out in the yard with my dog, Apache. He's a shih tzu Pomeranian. About 15 pounds, but he thinks he's 100 pounds. In the afternoons, I watch my soaps. The Young and the Restless and The Bold and the Beautiful.
"We have a plethora of trees here. I call them my cathedraI. I'll sit out there and I'll pray. I pray all the time lately. I pray for my family. I pray for New Orleans. It's sad what's going on in my city. So many people sick. I feel for them. I feel for the whole world, wherever people are suffering. I pray and I sing. That's getting me through. They say he that sings prays twice. What else can you really do?"
Suzanne Somers, 73, actress, author, health advocate, entrepreneur
Currently sheltering: At home with her husband, Alan Hamel, and their cat, Gloria
"I fractured my hip several months ago, so I was already stuck at home when everybody had to quarantine. I'm married to a great guy. Alan and I have been together 50 years and he is full of energy; he's making the best of the situation. We can't see our family, but we'll still make a big deal of it when we get together on Skype. We'll glam it up. I feel better when we do. I'll put on a feather jacket and diamond earrings. He puts on his tuxedo jacket and Roger Moore 007 tuxedo shirt with the tie hanging, and we have a really good time.
"I never had a drink of hard liquor in my life until about five years ago, but as the situation has continued, we've started hosting virtual cocktail parties on Facebook Live and inviting everyone to join us. We'll sit ourselves at our bar, which we call Big Al's Bar, and have tequila with some caviar that we order from Costco. Last week, people showed up from New Zealand, Australia, the Middle East, all over Europe as well as the U.S. It seems like everybody enjoys ending the day with a cocktail."