Hard to believe that “Touched by an Angel” star Roma Downey hasn’t been on our TV screens in five years. The Derry-born star of the popular, uplifting series is ready to make her return to the acting world, though, and fans won’t have to wait long – she’ll star in a new Hallmark Channel original movie, “Come Dance at My Wedding,” which frist aired Saturday, June 6 and airs again on Sunday at 9 p.m.
So what’s Roma been up to since leaving “Angel,” which aired on CBS for 10 years? Lots, as it happens. She married reality TV king Mark Burnett two years ago, has continued her philanthropic work with groups such as Operation Smile, and has focused on the well-being of her now 13-year-old daughter Reilly, of course.
But mostly, she took the time to re-adjust to a so-called “normal” life after the grind of working on a weekly series, a pace which she says she found quite unsettling.
“That decade on the show really did enhance my life in many ways,” she says. “But while those rewards were vast, the price was high. I simply did not have a personal life during that time.
“The hours on the set, having that intense and sudden kind of limelight, it made things very difficult for me. So when the series ended, it was obvious my daughter and I would move to make our Malibu beach escape house our full-time residence.
“Looking back, it was horrible how much suffering I created for myself back then through feeling inadequate. But when you’re in the middle of it, you just don’t know.”
She and Burnett have built a happy family life for themselves in the intervening years at their beach house in Malibu, complete with three kids (Burnett had two sons from a previous marriage) and two Irish Wolfhounds.
“My life has never been better,” Downey says. “The thing is, I feel like I’m actually having one now. For a long time I was living to work. I’m just so grateful to have been able to adjust the speed of that and helped move into my being a human being instead of a human doing.”
“Come Dance at My Wedding” sees Roma play a lawyer and friend to a woman whose wedding is turning into a way bigger experience than she ever imagined. Roma loved the script, and the shoot wasn’t too taxing on her personal life.
“It was the kind of project that’s perfect for what I’m looking for now, which is to sort of dip in and dip out. I have too much life now to dedicate myself solely to my job,” she says.
Roma has also found time to study for a master’s degree in spiritual psychology at the University of Santa Monica. What she’s studying, she says, is “beautiful, soul-centered work that constantly reminds us we’re human beings, that we can all heal ourselves through consciousness and self-awareness.”
She’ll be qualified to provide therapy when she receives her degree, but given the low-stress level of life she’s enjoying now, we can’t see her opening a big practice.