We so get Tonya Pinkins. As All My Children’s lawyer Livia Frye, she derives more mileage from a don’t-go-there look than actors with twice as many lines. That’s why we were stunned when the Chicago-born thespian made tabloid headlines in 2004 for her real-life troubles as a so-called deadbeat mom.
She’d found herself on welfare after having spent more than $500,000 in legal fees during a 12-year court battle to gain custody of her two oldest sons. And then life got even more complicated when the Tony Award– winning actress separated from the father of her two youngest children, and then watched as her fast-track career came to a screeching halt.
There were no Broadway callbacks. No film or television offers. Not even a chance to audition for the soap opera she’d left in 1995. Overwhelmed by her near-bankruptcy, she turned to Los Angeles’s Agape Church of Religious Science for answers. By embracing Agape’s philosophy of loving oneself fearlessly, Pinkins says, she was able to alter her negative thoughts about her life experiences. Not long after this transformation, she rejoined the ABC soap and was filling seats on Broadway once again, this time for her comeback in the 2004 civil-rights musical Caroline or Change.
Now with her familial challenges resolved, Pinkins shares her personal keys to finding happiness in Get Over Yourself! How to Drop the Drama and Claim the Life You Deserve (Hyperion, $23.95). Part memoir and part life-empowerment guide, this no-holds-barred book will help you let go and live large.

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