How Suzanne Somers Spun Sitcom Stardom Into a Fitness Empire With ThighMaster Device, ‘Somersize’ Diet Plan and RestoreLife Supplements

Suzanne Somers found fame starring on the ABC sitcom “Three’s Company,” but it was her affinity for fitness that made her a multimillionaire. Somers, who passed away on Sunday following a decades-long battle with breast cancer, revived her career by investing in and promoting the ThighMaster.

In 2022, Somers revealed that she made more than $300,000 from the fitness device designed to exercise the hip adductors. “You have to have a passion about whatever you’re selling,” Somers said on the “Hollywood Raw” podcast. “It has to be a fit — I can’t sell baseball bats — but I wanted to keep my legs looking great for those Manolo Blahnik shoes. So there was a weird, kind of strange passion there.”

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While the ThighMaster is arguably Somers’ bestselling fitness venture, the actress also launched several wellness products including books, videotapes and supplements. Ahead, a look at how Somers’ amassed her health-focused fortune.

Somers began promoting the ThighMaster in the ’90s

Originally intended for use as a physical therapy device, the ThighMaster was invented in Sweden, but it was Somers who made it trendy following its introduction to the U.S. in the early ’90s. Somers and her husband, television host and producer Alan Hamel, decided to invest in the equipment, and Somers became the spokesmodel.

Before the internet went mainstream, the ThighMaster could be purchased on infomercials and shopping programs like QVC. As of 2022, more than 10 million units have been reportedly sold.

LOS ANGELES - FEBRUARY 1990:  Actress Suzanne Somers poses for a portrait in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Aaron Rapoport/Corbis/Getty Images)

Suzanne Somers in 1990.

In 1992, Somers claimed to use the ThighMaster twice a day, keeping one in her purse, by her bed and in her car.

While Somers and Hamel started out as partial investors, they eventually took over the company.

“We had partners — 50/50 — and they got drunk on money when it all started selling,” Somers said on “Hollywood Raw.” “They overspent to the point where they could no longer afford to be in their side of the business so we bought them out. We have 100 percent.”

The ThighMaster is still available to purchase on Somers’ website, although it now costs $49.99 instead of its original price of $19.95.

Somers later launched her diet and exercise plan, Somersize

In 1996, Somers authored her first book, “Eat Great, Lose Weight,” introducing the concept of “Somersizing.” Rather than focusing on caloric intake, the actress’ diet plan made whole, healthy foods the focal point.

Suzanne Somers during Suzanne Somers Autographs New Video "Somersize" at Kmart in New York City - January 29, 1997 at Kmart Store in New York City, New York, United States. (Photo by Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Suzanne Somers at a signing of her videotape “Somersize” in 1997.

“You’ll learn how to be fit, not fanatic; how to make movement and fitness a pleasurable part of daily life; and how to make the most of every moment of every day, including your meals,” Somers said in the book’s synopsis.

“Eat Great, Lose Weight” was just one of several books Somers wrote on the topic of Somersizing, eventually expanding her philosophy into a series of video tapes, which, like her books, included recipes and workout routines.

Somers also added supplements to her résumé

Next, Somers ventured into the supplement world, releasing a range of vitamins called RestoreLife. She expanded this segment of her business with Gut Renew superfood formulas and protein bars, which promoted digestive health.

Somers’ breast cancer diagnosis inspired her to launch her RestoreLife and Gut Renew lines. As of 2020, the actress and entrepreneur still swore by vitamins, taking supplements based on her deficiencies as determined by annual lab panels.

Launch Gallery: Remembering Suzanne Somers Through the Years

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