Actress and musician Alicia Witt is singing her heart out again after facing a challenging chapter of her life that included her parents’ tragic deaths in December 2021, which occurred just a few weeks after the Hallmark star received a “terrifying diagnosis” of breast cancer.
Witt has released a new album called “Witness” featuring six songs inspired by the hardships she’s been through and the help she’s received. The album’s title comes from a single on the album in which she shares her deep gratitude for those who have walked beside her through some of her darkest days.
In an Instagram post on March 29, Witt wrote of the song, “‘Witness’ is a deeply personal anthem about getting thru an unimaginably hard chapter – and coming out the other side, forever changed.”
In a new interview with People published on August 29, Witt said, “It describes so vividly to my own heart what I was experiencing at the toughest time I’ve gone through, and the very tiny group of inner circle friends who were right by my side through the thick of it… who are my witnesses.”
Alicia Witt Says She Stopped Drinking the Day She Was Diagnosed With Cancer
Witt, 48, kept her cancer journey mostly private as she grappled with the grief of losing her parents, Robert and Diane Witt, who were found dead in their Worcester, Massachusetts home just as she was starting chemotherapy treatments and couldn’t get a hold of them. In February 2023, according to the AP, their death certificates revealed they’d died of “probable cardiac dysrhythmia” due to the cold.
Weeks after their deaths, in a lengthy Facebook post, Witt wrote, “my parents were not penniless. they were fiercely stubborn, beautifully original souls, and with that, they made choices – choices that i couldn’t talk them out of. i did help them, in all the ways i could – in all the ways they would let me.”
While dealing with the grief of that sudden loss, Witt was undergoing a series of six chemotherapy treatments and a unilateral mastectomy for HER2 breast cancer, which she first revealed in a social media post at the end of May 2022. That October, Witt wrote that her doctors had given her the all-clear, saying there was no evidence of disease.
But the experience and her desire to stay healthy changed her in many ways, People reported. She stopped drinking alcohol on November 4, 2021 — the day she got her surprising diagnosis, while on her way out the door to a party — and hasn’t had a drop since.
She said, “I was already a very healthy person by most measures, I’d say, so I had to look at what I was doing that maybe exacerbated this situation. I learned just how much of a risk drinking was, and not only that but after you’ve got that all clear, you’ve got to change. You can’t go back to everything you were doing before.”
Witt said she’s surprised at how much better that one change has made her feel.
“I find that everything is better, and that includes dating and forming new relationships, whether romantic or not, having conversations, having nights out and coming home late but not feeling fuzzy, not having to get an Uber home and everything,” she explained.
What Witt did start drinking at the time of her diagnosis was organic juice, which she continues to have most days, she told People.
She said, “I started having organic juice, homemade if I’m home with my juicer, or if I’m filming or otherwise out of town, I try to find an organic juice place somewhere in the vicinity of where I’m working.”
Witt said she’s also committed to eating healthy, doing yoga, seeing her therapist and getting her oncology check-ups with hopes of remaining cancer-free, adding that “anyone who’s had a similarly terrifying diagnosis would attest” to the need to stay diligent.
‘Close Friends’ Were Key to Alicia Witt’s Sanity During Her Darkest Days, She Says
As she underwent cancer treatment, Witt relied on an intimate circle of friends to help her through.
“I genuinely can’t imagine how different the experience would’ve been without a handful of incredibly close friends,” she told People. “They were there every step of the way with me. I found myself praying more than I ever have, and I’ve always felt a close connection to God, and that connection — that faith — has deepened exponentially.”
Her Hallmark “family” is among the friends she treasures today, including actress Erin Cahill, with whom she’s particularly close. In July, they both were part of a group of network stars who spent a day together at Hallmark headquarters in Kansas City.
In addition to learning about the history of the company, she wrote on Instagram, “i also got to spend quality heart-opening time with some of my beloved friends who i’ve made over the years making my 9 #hallmarkchristmasmovies to date ❤️ a beautiful day i will never forget!”
Though Witt hasn’t starred in a new Hallmark movie since 2020’s “Christmas Tree Lane” opposite Andrew Walker, she has said that she got lost in the shuffle during leadership changes at the network that year but has been in talks with Hallmark again, with hopes to film a new Christmas movie soon.
Liv Lane is an entertainment writer who covers the Hallmark Channel, The Voice, American Idol and HGTV for Heavy. She has three decades of experience as a radio host, publicist and motivational speaker, and is an accomplished watercolor artist. Liv attended the University of Minnesota and is based in the Twin Cities. More about Liv Lane
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