Steve Harvey, 65, says he’s ‘tired’ of sharing his TV persona: ‘I want people to know the other side of me’
Steve Harvey has been in the spotlight for over two decades building a career in television, movies and comedy, including as an award-winning host of Family Feud and The Steve Harvey Show. Now, the 65-year-old is focused on sharing more of his life with the public, including the details of how he gained and maintained his success.
In an interview for Paper magazine, conducted by actor Michael B Jordan, Harvey said that “there’s a huge difference” between who he is on-screen versus who he is at home, noting that there’s a lot of work put into his smiley television presence
”I’m the biggest game show host. Family Feud is the biggest game show in the world. I’m on TV seven days a week, sometimes multiple times a day in a city. And I’m an entertainer, I’m happy. My job is to put a smile on people’s faces, young or old. I take that responsibility seriously, but that image is only a part of the day,” Harvey explained. “I’m tired of showing that side of me. ‘Cause you see it everywhere.”
He continued: “What I want them to see is: Who is the dude that built this life? Who is the hustler and the grinder that makes this life for his family? That creates this lifestyle for his wife, children and grandchildren? Who is that dude, because that dude is different than the finished product you get to see on TV, ‘cause it ain’t all champagne pops and giggles, man. It ain’t.”
Harvey went on to explain his dual persona as “the person that built this lifestyle, that’s in charge of maintaining this empire,” and said that he’s “a lot more serious” than the person people see in the public sphere.
“I want people to know the other side of me,” he said. “The man that built this, the man that prays, the man that has faith, the man that sits around and is a lot like yourself: in a lot of deep thought about the future and how you plot the next move. How do I stay relevant? That’s been a big part of what I want people to start seeing, so they can stop thinking it’s all bubbles and giggles.”
While Harvey has been recognized for his on-screen presence and even his fashion, he pointed out that he’d like to open up more about his work ethic. Most notably, how he’s continued to find success in Hollywood throughout the years.
“Getting successful is one thing, staying successful is a whole other thing. It’s two different processes, man. And, for me, it was easier to get here than it is to stay here,” Harvey explained.
He also recognized the hardships he has faced privately while being a public figure. “In the process of getting divorced twice, in the process of losing everything I ever owned twice, in the process of living in a car for three years, in the process of becoming under attack from the internet, in the process of hearing so many lies about yourself, you still have to put that smile on your face and go to work. They thought they would break me, but they didn’t know who they were up against.”
The way that Harvey paved his unique path, however, was by recognizing the real impact that he and his work could have on people watching.
“You hear people say, ‘I’m not a role model.’ Yes, you are,” Harvey said. “If you reach a certain level of fame and some kid is emulating you and wanting to be like you, you have an obligation. I made a decision a long time ago on my shows that when people pay money to come see me, I didn’t want them to just sit in the audience and laugh.”
Instead, Harvey reflected on his routine of staying on set during commercial breaks and having authentic conversations with audience members.
“I know everybody out there [is] struggling with something, I don’t care who you are,” he said. “Look man, I’m older than most cats, so if I know the answer to something and I can solve some of your problems, I don’t have [a] problem doing that. It’s been one of the great offset benefits of my life.”
After tossing a question to Jordan, who’s dating Harvey’s daughter Lori, the television icon added, “At the end of the day, I’m a father.”
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