Pretty much everyone in America knows who Drew Carey is. The entertainer and comedian has gone from the Marines to The Price Is Right. You’re familiar with his hit shows over the years, such as (my personal favorite) Whose Line Is It Anyway? The Drew Carey Show, and, of course, The Price Is Right. It’s safe to say that the man has become a household name. But how much do you really know about the man when the cameras are off?
For instance, did you know that he was engaged twice yet never married? Both engagements fell through, and while he managed to stay close to both women, one of them has left a hole in his heart forever. And that’s because she was found dead outside of her home in early 2020.
Landing the Gig of a Lifetime
In the summer of 2006, Drew Carey landed the gig of a lifetime. After three and a half decades and over 6,500 episodes, Bob Barker announced that he was retiring from his golden position as host of the longest-running game show, The Price Is Right. The show’s producers found themselves desperate to replace the T.V. icon, so they batted around several celebrity names.
Among those considered for the role were Rosie O’Donnell and Mario Lopez, but they ultimately told Carey to “come on down!” and host the popular show. Apparently, the producers cited Carey’s “empathy skills” as one of the reasons they picked him for the position that nearly every comedian in the country would kill to have.
Those “Empathy Skills” Come From His Childhood
“I have nothing but love for everybody that comes up on the stage,” Carey stated in the first year of his new gig. “And it makes me sad for them when they lose, happier for them when they win.” It sounds like the kind of thing anyone would say in his position, but the truth is Carey has been through a lot in his life.
When it comes to empathy, his tough childhood might be a factor. Growing up in a working-class neighborhood in Cleveland, Ohio, Carey was always the nerdy kid in school – a self-described “loser” who played in the school’s marching band. It didn’t help that his father died when he was eight years old.
He Battled Depression for Years
His early life was beset with feelings of self-doubt and unworthiness, which is why the young Carey never felt that he deserved happiness. By the time he reached his college years, he had been battling depression for years. He was expelled twice for poor grades and, as an 18-year-old freshman, he tried to take his own life.
“Back then, I was so full of a lot of self-hate,” Carey recalled in an interview. “Man, I just didn’t like myself.” He would go to fraternity parties and get angry at all those who were able to let go, enjoy themselves and have fun. “I wasn’t as good as they were,” Carey thought at the time.
Finding the One Job He Couldn’t Quit
He further explained that back then, he didn’t feel “as worthy” as them, which only made him hate and judge himself even more. “And it’s all negative, negative, negative.” After his suicide attempt, Carey dropped out of college. He found and started working a few dead-end jobs, eventually choosing a job he couldn’t quit: the Marine Corps Reserves.
Carey later credited his experience in the Marines with his personal transformation. The Marines gave him the confidence to feel as though he could accomplish anything. “If there was a fight, I would win it. If there was a problem, I could solve it,” he stated. “I could do it because I was a Marine, and Marines can do anything.”
His First-Ever Comedy Gig
Carey said the Marines made him feel he was one of “the baddest asses on the planet.” Yet, it didn’t cure his depression. Carey continued to suffer throughout most of his young adult years. However, things started to change around 1985, when he was having trouble making ends meet.
A friend of his, who worked as a D.J., offered to pay his buddy to come up with jokes for his radio show. Carey liked the idea of a $10-a-joke paycheck, so he went to his local library, took out a joke-writing book, and he basically never looked back. His comedy career had officially begun.
The Turning Point in His Career
It didn’t take long for Carey to become a regular in Cleveland’s stand-up comedy circuit. Soon enough, he came to a turning point in his career with a shot on The Tonight Show with Johnny Carson. After his performance, Carson invited Carey over to his couch, something every comedia of the time dreamed of.
In other words, Carey was “officially” approved. The studio even called him “funny as hell.” And just like that, the dorky, sad guy from Cleveland started making the big bucks. He got his own T.V. show, The Drew Carey Show, with many more to come.
Don’t Call Him a “Winner”
Still, the iconic comedian and established T.V. star doesn’t like to think of himself as a “winner.” The way he sees it, he’s overcome his depression with inspiration from the self-help books he reads. His logic is: If you call yourself a winner when things are going good, it makes you a loser when things aren’t going so well. (The man has a point.)
“It’s all about love and kindness,” he stated. “Not about comparing yourself to anyone else.” These days, things have been going well for the guy, but not too long ago, he was shocked and devastated. This is a look into Carey’s love life…
Fiancé #1: Nicole Jaracz
2007 was a major year for Drew Carey. He not only replaced the irreplaceable host of The Price Is Right, Bob Barker, but he also got engaged. Carey proposed to chef Nicole Jaracz, whom he met a few years prior. The couple never made it down the aisle, but at least they ended things amicably in 2012.
At the time, Drew’s representatives told People Magazine that they “still have a great deal of love and affection for one another… He will still be very involved with their son’s life.” Conner is Jaracz’s son from a previous relationship and Carey remains close with him to this day.
The Boy He Calls His Son Helped Him Lose Weight
Drew is actually close with both Jaracz and Conner. In fact, he credits the boy whom he refers to as his own son with inspiring his life-changing weight loss. “I couldn’t keep up with him,” Carey explained to Parade. He said he would tell Connor, “I can’t,” and the kid would say, “C’mon, Dad!” To Carey, that was a terrible feeling.
“I thought, I’m never going to see him graduate high school,” Carey admitted to thinking at the time. But thanks to Connor, Drew started his weight-loss program, pushed through and shed over 100 pounds. Carey claims that because of his dramatic weight loss, he cured his Type 2 diabetes.
Fiancé #2: Amie Harwick
Six years after he and Jaracz split, Carey popped the question to another woman. Amie Harwick was a licensed marriage and family therapist, as well as a former model. During her years in L.A., Harwick dated several musicians and celebrities, but being with Carey was something special.
The pair hit it off in 2017 after meeting at a party that was set up by their mutual friend, Full House producer Jeff Franklin. Carey was unlike most of her exes – he was genuinely “a nice guy,” her best friend Robert Coshland admitted. “When she started dating Drew, we were like, ‘Oh finally.’” Within a matter of months, the couple was engaged.
A Matter of “Differing Communication Styles”
Carey and Harwick stepped out on the red carpet together a number of times during their relationship. They were often seen on social media in full PDA, but it looked like their union just wasn’t meant to be and the couple called off their engagement in November of 2018.
Although their friends declined to comment on the reason behind the split – other than simply saying they had “differing communication styles” – Harwick was devastated. “It was one of the few moments I’d seen her in pain and crumbling,” a friend of hers said.
A Sudden Tragedy
Carey and Harwick remained close friends up until her sudden death in February of 2020. The 38-year-old was found outside of her Hollywood Hills home after being attacked by her ex-boyfriend, Gareth Pursehouse.
When Drew heard the devastating news of her tragic death, he left the Price Is Right set for a week. He then took to Twitter to pay tribute to his late ex-fiancé. He shared a photo of the two of them and added the caption: “Hope you’re lucky enough to have someone in your life that loves as much as she did.”
“I Am Overcome With Grief”
In a statement to CNN, Carey stated that he and Harwick “had a love that people are lucky to have once in a lifetime.” He further described how she was a positive force in the world, “a tireless and unapologetic champion for women” who was passionate about her work as a therapist.
“I am overcome with grief,” he uttered. He then thanked everyone, in advance, for giving him and everyone who loved Harwick privacy while they “try to work through this tragic situation.”
Fans of Carey and The Price Is Right might be shocked to hear about this chapter in his life. So, here is the in-depth story…
On the Night of Valentine’s Day
Late into the night on Valentine’s Day 2020, Dr. Amie Harwick had just gotten home from a burlesque show she had attended. She was texting Coshland about an upcoming trip to the U.K.
Coshland sent her the website for a restaurant in Edinburgh that was highly recommended. At 1:01 a.m., she replied to him, saying the restaurant looked cool. Fifteen minutes later, at 1:16 a.m., police officers responded to a call of a woman screaming at Harwick’s home in Hollywood Hills.
Unresponsive and Under Her Balcony
The woman who called the police was Harwick’s roommate, and she jumped over the fence to meet them. That’s when they found Harwick unresponsive, collapsed under her own balcony. She had evidently been strangled and thrown out of the window of her third-floor apartment.
She was immediately rushed to the hospital but soon died of blunt force injuries to her head and torso. The official cause of death would later be determined as a homicide. It begs the question: What the hell happened? Who did this to her, and why? Enter the ex-boyfriend…
Gareth Pursehouse, the Ex-Boyfriend
Four days later, 41-year-old Gareth Pursehouse, a photographer, software engineer, and (believe it or not) an aspiring comedian, was arrested. He was held on a $2 million bail and charged with one count of murder and first-degree residential burglary, as well as lying in wait.
Pursehouse faces the death penalty or life in prison without the possibility of parole if he’s found guilty. He pleaded not guilty, by the way. (His public defender, Robin Bernstein-Lev, gave a comment to Rolling Stone: “Mr. Pursehouse is presumed innocent, and it is the prosecution’s burden to prove otherwise in a court of law with competent evidence, not speculation, rumor nor innuendo, and to meet that burden beyond any and all reasonable doubt.”)
Three Months, Two Restraining Orders
Close friends of Harwick’s knew about Pursehouse, even though he and Harwick only dated for a few months in the 2010s. The relationship ended badly as he was abusive and controlling – so much so that Harwick filed two restraining orders against him in 2011 and 2012.
Afterward, Harwick referred to him in conversation as “my stalker,” but her friends weren’t fooled by her casual dismissal of him. They knew just how hard she worked to recover from the trauma of their brief relationship as he withdrew into the background of her busy and exciting life.
Like a “Grown-Up Wednesday Addams”
For a while there, she nearly forgot about him. But, according to the L.A. County District Attorney’s office, he clearly didn’t forget about her. It’s hard to forget her, after all. The woman with striking looks was always dressed to the nines.
She would go from burlesque clubs to go-go bars to art exhibitions to metal concerts. She frequented parties at Brookledge, a private club that also served as the hub of the city’s magic community. “She dressed elegant with a touch of goth,” a friend of hers once said. “Very grown-up Wednesday Addams.”
A Wild Side Hustle of Modeling and Fire-Eating
Harwick’s close friends knew her as a “brilliant and curious” woman who was self-sufficient and driven. She had paid her own way through a master’s degree and a doctorate from the Institute for the Advanced Study of Human Sexuality. All the while, she kept up her side hustle of modeling, bartending, fire-eating (!), and go-go dancing.
The woman did have another side to her, too; she was naturally drawn to darkness. For example, she was interested in the occult and once bought the bras Sharon Tate (who was murdered by the “Manson Family”) wore at an auction. (The Wednesday Addams reference makes more sense now, huh?)
A Rarity in Hollywood
She had a love of all things gruesome and unholy, according to Dr. Hernando Chaves, a sex therapist and longtime friend of Harwick’s. “The darkness made her feel alive and happy,” he asserts. “Even in the hardest times of her life, she was always enthusiastic.”
Above all, she was something of a rarity in Hollywood, an empathetic and caring person. “She took her natural way of connecting with people into her therapy world, and that’s what made her an effective therapist,” her friend Coshland said about her. This is why, following her unexpected death, her loved ones were baffled.
The Media Obsessed Over Her Famous Exes
What made her loved ones tick in the aftermath of her death was seeing the media obsess over her “proximity to celebrities” rather than her life’s work. “It was so frustrating to see the media focus on her celebrity ex,” model Emily Sears said, who had been Harwick’s patient for two years.
Harwick was adopted as a baby and grew up in Lansdale, Pennsylvania. She remained close with her family and would regularly fly home to attend their annual cookie parties. As a teenager, she worked at the local mall’s Wet Seal and Bavarian Pretzel. She idolized artists like Marilyn Manson (whom she later allegedly briefly dated) and Depeche Mode.
From Goth to Go-Go
The goth girl eventually fell in love with a musician of a heavy metal band and married young, moving to L.A. in 2001. With time, she reinvented herself and perfected the glamorous, vintage aesthetic she came to rock in red carpet photos.
She started out in L.A. as a personal trainer (she released a workout DVD called Fit to Rock) and modeled under the name Amie Nicole. It was in early 2010 that she met Pursehouse at a go-go dancing gig. At the time, he was an I.T. specialist who also worked as a photographer. The 6’4″ wholesome-looking man was a deviation from the metal types she usually dated.
He Gave Off Ted Bundy Vibes
He was different, but her friends weren’t impressed. “To me, Gareth was just another L.A. Ken doll failing to become an actor or comedian,” a friend of hers said. Another friend of Harwick’s said Pursehouse reminded her of another “blandly handsome, outwardly pleasant man”: Ted Bundy.
While her friends remember Pursehouse as being overly attentive to Harwick – to the point that it was creepy – Harwick didn’t feel that way, at least not in the beginning. Tommy Vext, a friend of hers, believes that Harwick was struggling with a fear of abandonment, which could be traced back to being adopted.
An Unhealthy Obsession
“Sometimes with people with abandonment issues, it’s better to feel needed rather than wanted,” Vext explained. “I could see how someone like Gareth having an unhealthy obsession could [have made her] feel safe.” By 2011, though, she filed her first restraining order against him.
In court documents, she claimed that on multiple occasions, he “choked me, suffocated me, pushed me against walls, kicked me, dropped me to the ground with force, force-restrained me, slammed my head into the ground and punched me with a closed fist.” Her request was dismissed for lack of prosecution.
He Warned Her “Things Will Get Worse”
A year later, she was granted another restraining order, after she alleged that he pulled her out of the car, giving her a bloody nose, and left her there on the freeway. Harwick also claimed that he broke into her apartment several times and smashed her picture frames and threatened her via text that “things will get worse.”
After California’s standard five-year expiry, Harwick never renewed the restraining order against Pursehouse. It’s likely that she was terrified to appear in court with him again. Ever since she was terrorized by an anonymous person, every few years, cruel posts would pop up about her by an unknown author on an infamous gossip website.
It Was Either Him or a Former Female Friend
Harwick suspected Pursehouse, but she also thought it might be a former female friend who had previously harassed her with text messages and emails. (Harwick filed a restraining order against her in 2015.) In a way, it was all this harassment that led Harwick to her most fulfilling role: a sex and relationship therapist.
At first, she was hoping to specialize in family counseling but lost her job working with juvenile offenders when someone sent nude photos of her from her modeling days to her employer. “She felt like it was unnecessary and stupid that she’d lose jobs over nude photos she’d done,” Coshland recalled.
About a Decade After Seeing Each Other…
Harwick started to focus on relationships and sex therapy, particularly treating people with marginalized sexual identities, i.e., sex workers, deviant, or non-monogamous people. As a former goth kid with connections to people in the BDSM and kink communities, she felt uniquely equipped. She even had her own practice in West Hollywood.
In January 2020, she was set to appear on a panel about mental health and counseling at Xbiz and was about to walk the red carpet with Dr. Chaves when she saw Pursehouse, who was attending as a photographer for the event. After about a decade of seeing each other, Pursehouse grew agitated and shouted at her: “You’re a hypocrite,” and, “You broke my heart.”
Weeks Before He Killed Her…
Following his outburst, Harwick went into “therapist mode” and de-escalated the situation by sitting with him on a bench and talking with him. Later, during the ceremony, Pursehouse approached Harwick’s table to talk to Harwick again, so she excused herself again to talk with him outside.
After the ceremony, a very distressed Harwick sat with Chaves at a diner and unraveled all the events of that evening. According to Chaves, they spoke about her buying mace or pepper spray and changing the locks on her doors. They also considered going to the police. This was less than a month before he killed her…
She Knew She Needed to Protect Herself
Chaves offered to stay at her house, but Harwick declined, saying that she had a new roommate and thus felt safe. Harwick went ahead and bought the mace and pepper spray and had the locks changed. “I felt she was doing everything she needed to do to protect herself,” Chaves recalled.
“I couldn’t envision anyone would go this far.” But Valentine’s Day came, and it happened to be Harwick’s last. What happened that night is still not entirely clear. But according to the LAPD, the home “revealed possible evidence of a struggle in the upstairs as well as forced entry to the residence.”
An Alleged Affair With Dave Navarro?
Friends of hers immediately thought back to what had happened at the Xbiz event. “She’d even said, ‘If anything happens to me, it’s Pursehouse,’” recalled Coshland. After Pursehouse was arrested, he made bail a few days later, only to be arrested the following day again.
Two of Harwick’s friends told Rolling Stone that guitarist Dave Navarro, a friend of Harwick’s, had contacted the police once he learned from mutual friends of Pursehouse that he wrongly assumed Harwick had cheated on him with Navarro while they were in a relationship. Navarro believed himself to be in danger, too.
An Advocate for Domestic Abuse Survivors
On his Instagram story, Navarro told his followers that he called the police to re-arrest Pursehouse as “friends were alerted he meant to target another victim.” Yet when Navarro was contacted for comment, a spokesperson of his said he only called the cops as a “concerned friend” and as an advocate for domestic violence survivors.
He wanted to make sure the lunatic wouldn’t remain out on bail (apparently, Navarro’s mother was also killed by an abusive ex-boyfriend.) In the wake of Harwick’s death, a petition began which called for the expansion of legal protections for survivors of domestic violence.
Drew Carey Forgave Pursehouse
Carey appeared remotely on The Talk to talk about his journey in forgiving his ex-fiancé’s killer. He said he “couldn’t function” after the news of her murder and needed to take a week off of his show. On his first day back, the Price Is Right was hosting high school students for Kids Week.
“I took time during the break to talk to these kids,” Carey revealed. “I really wanted to do it because it was all high school kids, and I talked to them about how I forgave the guy who murdered Amie.”
The Reason for His Forgiveness
Why on earth would he forgive the man who took her life so viciously? Well, Carey explained what motivated him: “He’s mentally ill,” he stated. “The guy was abused when he was a kid, and, you know, you have to be able to forgive people like that.”
Forgiving people doesn’t mean you have to be around them or be their friend. He believes that his message of forgiveness is important for people to hear, especially young people.
How Old Is Drew Carey?
Carey is now 63 years old (born: May 23, 1958), which explains – at least partly – his words of wisdom. “It would be so easy to carry around, every day to think about revenge or whatever, which is not coming. There’s nothing that’ll make up for what he did,” Carey explained.
“I really try to practice instant forgiveness and unconditional love. The closest you can get to that, the better you are. And I fall short of that all the time.” While Carey is getting over his loss, he’s also doing what he does best – making people smile. In 2021, he participated in Celebrity Wheel of Fortune with Teri Hatcher and Chrissy Metz.
Some Things You May Not Know About Drew Carey
Did you know that Carey doesn’t really need the glasses that he wears – the spectacles that became part and parcel with his image? Those black horn-rimmed glasses, for the first half of his career, were what helped him create an identifiable presence on T.V.
In 2001, he got LASIK to correct his vision, and so he no longer needed the glasses to see. But since his persona was so closely connected with those glasses, Carey continued wearing the frames, only now with clear lenses. When he goes without them, fans don’t recognize him. One time, in a Cleveland nightclub, Carey told some people that he was on T.V. as the host of The Price Is Right. “I thought Drew Carey hosted The Price Is Right,” one replied.
Drew Carey, aka Brooks Parkenridge
Did you know that Drew Carey is part owner of the Seattle Sounders soccer team? And his involvement is beyond just financial. Carey has been shooting action photography of the team under the pseudonym Brooks Parkenridge. Who knew?
“If I wasn’t a comic or T.V. star, my other dream job was to be a photojournalist,” Carey told Sports Illustrated in 2005. “I envy photographer Carolyn Cole from the L.A. Times, and when I see Christiane Amanpour on T.V., I think, ‘Man, wouldn’t it be great to be her cameraman and be at these cool places where history is changing.’”
A&W Versus McDonald’s
Carey signed a deal in 1998 to endorse A&W, which led him to some trouble over his sitcom character’s preference for McDonald’s. Later that year, during an episode of The Drew Carey Show, Carey was seen lost in China and wandering into a McDonald’s location for a meal.
Because of this, A&W refused to pay the remainder of Carey’s endorsement fee. They also insisted that he return the $450,000 already paid to him. “I didn’t eat at the McDonald’s on the show,” Carey explained to Esquire in 2007. “I grabbed a fry off a kid’s plate, but I didn’t get any of the food.”
Joining the Royal Rumble
Royal Rumble, the annual WWE wrestling event, admits one wrestler in intervals until 30 wrestlers enter the squared circle. The contest is normally a playing field for major pro-wrestlers, like The Undertaker or John Cena, but in 2001, Carey found himself involved.
Staging a sketch in which he pissed off WWE owner Vince McMahon, Carey agreed to enter as the sixth man in the ring, as well as the first celebrity on the show. To continue with the drama, instead of being allowed to walk off, Carey had to be confronted by Kane and almost choke-slammed before another wrestler came to his defense.