Tom Selleck Explains Why He Left Hollywood for Ranch Life with His Family: 'They Keep Me Sane'
Actor Tom Selleck has filled many roles in his life: '80s icon, sex symbol, facial hair hall of famer, Monica's boyfriend on Friends, and the list goes on. But none have been more important to him than his role as a family man.
In a rare and candid interview, the 75-year-old star of the CBS police drama Blue Bloods is opening up about his family, life on his Ventura, California ranch, and his decision to quit Magnum P.I. at the peak of his fame in the 1980s.
“I’m a fairly private person,” Tom explains to People in the new sit-down. “And I’ve always treasured the balance between work and time with my family. It’s always about them.”
When Tom is not shooting Blue Bloods in New York City, he spends every spare minute at home on the ranch with his wife of 33 years, Jillie Mack.
“My relationships and my ranch keep me sane,” says Tom, who shares a daughter Hannah, 31, with Jillie, and son Kevin, 54, with first wife Jacqueline Ray. “I do grunt work and I make the rounds. I like watching things grow. It’s a retreat.”
Tom has lived on the ranch since 1988, when he quit Magnum P.I. for a quieter life with his family. He says he learned early on that life in the national spotlight wasn't for him.
“I knew intellectually what it would mean in terms of being a public person, but until you’ve lived it, there’s no way to understand it,” Tom says. “I had a feeling of, ‘I don’t think I’m cut out for this.’ ”
Ultimately, he quit Magnum P.I. "not because I didn’t like it or I was tired of it," he says. "I was tired from it. And I wanted a three-dimensional life because I didn’t have one.”
Tom says he ended up laying low longer than expected because he didn’t like the roles he was being offered. He eventually returned to the small screen in the '90s, with roles on Friends and The Closer. Finally he was cast in the role that has defined the later years of his career: police commissioner Frank Reagan on Blue Bloods.
Looking back over his 50-plus-year career, the actor says he’s grateful for his life on and off camera.
“I’m proud of my work, I still love what I do, and I have my family,” says Tom. “I’ve been enormously fortunate.”