Sept. 14, 2009 -- Linda Evans traded in her sequins and shoulder pads for 70 acres of wilderness in Washington state, and the former "Dynasty" star says she has never been happier.
Evans, 66, played iconic trophy wife Krystle Carrington in the hit series that had more than 250 million viewers worldwide. She said acting in the show was "every woman's dream."
"It gave people an insight into what life could be like if they had everything they wanted," Evans said of ABC's prime time soap opera that aired from 1981 to 1989. "And yet showed that even if you are rich doesn't mean that you are happy, because there was a lot of drama."
But Evans decided to escape Hollywood for the woods of Rainier, Wash.
"The pressure [was] too big," Evans said. "I moved up here and within the first year I gained 25 pounds. It was so much fun not to put on makeup and just to be a regular person."
Although she escaped to the wilderness, her "Dynasty" days are never far away. Her closet still holds dozens of Nolan Miller gowns -- the dresses that were just as popular as the drama-filled show.
"There were days my shoulder pads were so big and Joan's were so big we couldn't walk through a door," Evans said, referring to her on-screen nemesis, Joan Collins.
After the show, Collins and Evans toured together while starring in the play "Legends," but the two ended up fighting.
"We had some trying times during the play," Evans said. "I don't know exactly what happened. I know that circumstances played out to where there was a lot of tension. There was more drama backstage than there was on stage."
Evan's own love life has, at times, resembled a soap opera with two failed marriages and a passionate love affair with new-age musician Yanni.
Life After 'Dynasty' for Linda Evans
"Nine years, every day, I loved him madly. It was so intense and so unbelievable, I was so happy to know that at that point in my life, I could experience it," Evans said, adding hat she was devastated when it ended, the result, in part, of his demanding touring schedule.
Although Evans said she has found happiness, it did not come easy. Her sister was fighting cancer while Evans battled menopause and depression.
"For the first time in my life, I understood what it was like to not be totally in control of my life," Evans said. "I am in a downward spiral to hell, it just got worse and worse. ... It was like all the lights were down low."
So Evans turned to bio-identical hormone therapy.
"It's just a cream you rub on your arm and I am a new person," Evans said. "It was a miracle I came out of it. ... It was too much intensity for too long. I want people to know there is hope."
The former "Dynasty" beauty also opened up about her plastic surgery. Although she called it a "great gift to women," Evans acknowledged she might have taken it too far.
"I've made some choices where I've gone, 'Whoops,'" Evans said. "I think anyone who looks at me can tell. ... People know what you should look like and why you don't."
Now, Evans is focusing on the simpler things in life, such as cooking. She won the U.K. version of "Hell's Kitchen" and is working on a cookbook.
"Forget acting, this is what I love. ... I love people and I love food," Evans said."Dream big. … There's nothing you can't have, there's nothing you can't do."