Richard Gilliland and Jean Smart were married for nearly 34 years before he died due to a "brief illness."
Even though her husband is no longer by her side, Jean Smart never forgets to give credit where it is due. On September 19, 2021, 70-year-old Smart bagged the award for outstanding lead actress in comedy series at the 73rd Primetime Emmy Awards, for her role in HBO Max's Hacks, reports PEOPLE.
Smart, who plays comedy legend, Deborah Vance, in Hacks, is a diva trying to maintain her relevance at the Las Vegas casino where she performs. To help freshen up her act, she hires joke writer Ava (Hannah Einbinder).
While accepting the award, Smart got a standing ovation, after which she got emotional and remember her late husband, actor Richard Gilliland, who died six months ago, in March 2021, at age 71.
"Before I say anything else, I have to acknowledge my late husband Richard Gilliland, who passed away six months yesterday. I would not be here without him, without his sort of putting his career on the back burner so that I could take advantage of all the wonderful opportunities that I've had." During her speech, she also thanked her children Connor, 31, and Forrest, who turns 13 this year.
Smart also teared up in the press room when talking about her win: "It was very moving. I didn't expect that. To have your peers' respect is huge. It's meant a lot because it's been such a difficult last six months so this has been something that has been kind of a strange counterpoint but it's been very much appreciated." She added her husband "would be very happy for me."
Jean Smart says sudden death of husband Richard Gilliland 'changed every moment of my everyday life' https://t.co/QMArPQwE1J pic.twitter.com/D2DtgSRpZs— Yahoo Entertainment (@YahooEnt) September 17, 2021
She was accompanied by Forrest on the red carpet this year. Speaking of his mother's nominations, Forrest told PEOPLE he's "very proud of her" and that she "really deserves" the award as she "worked really hard for everything."
The Emmy's mark Smart's first event since she lost her husband this year. Gilliland, who was married to Smart for nearly 34 years, is said to have suffered from a "brief illness" prior to his death in Los Angeles. Before his death, Gilliland and Smart were slated to work together again this summer in a film directed by Tate Taylor.
Here’s a clip of #JeanSmart winning her 4th Emmy in the category “Best Actress in a Comedy Series” @TelevisionAcad for #HacksonHBOMAX! ❤️👏🏻👏🏻👏🏻 pic.twitter.com/RVuQ4huk7G— Michelle Wilkerson (@R1PLEY) September 20, 2021
Even though her personal life has been exceptionally hard, there's also something for Smart to celebrate, with her win. Per Business Insider, Smart has made history by bagging an Emmy in the comedy lead, supporting, and guest categories — and all for different shows. Before her, this feat has been achieved by the one and only Betty White. Safe to say it's good to be Smart right now, isn't it?
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Rich Fury