Somers Reveals Cancer Following Tabloid Story

March 29, 2001 -- A story claiming that fitness guru Suzanne Somers had liposuction has prompted the actress to publicly declare that she had the procedure done to deal with the effects of breast cancer treatment.

Somers told CNN host Larry King on Wednesday that she has been fighting the disease for nearly a year, and that a National Enquirer story shocked her into telling her fans the truth. The story, which included photos of Somers leaving a liposuction clinic, was picked up by other outlets, which sarcastically dubbed the incident "Thighgate."

Somers seemed shaken as she told King that she underwent liposuction because she needed to "even things out" after six weeks of radiation treatment. "The whole reason that I went in there is because of … I was affected by the radiation and what happened to me on the medication, and having cancer," Somers said on the show. "Cancer throws everything off when you're in treatment."

The 54-year-old star is preparing to release a fitness book called Eat, Cheat, and Melt the Fat Away. The liposuction story had made her the butt of jokes on Howard Stern's radio show, and even her former Three's Company co-star John Ritter kidded about it on a morning show.

The Enquirer claimed that the fitness pitchwoman had undergone liposuction to have "fat suctioned from her inner and outer thighs, abdomen, hips, and upper back behind the armpits."

Somers says she is undergoing homeopathic treatment for her cancer against the will of her doctors. She has given up chemotherapy and resisted doctors' suggestion that she stop taking hormones. "This is what I'm doing for me," she said. "I'm not telling anyone else to do this."

"I really feel that I'm licking this," she told King.