Lee has written 27 books and has millions of fans. The sleek, elegant star seems to do everything effortlessly. But looks can be deceiving. Lee went through a lot to get to where she is. Here are some things you might not know about this domestic diva. Her grandmother taught her to cook On my bike, ready to roll! She dropped her surname when she launched her career. Her parents were just teenagers when they had her, and when Lee was two, they split up. It was then that Lee and her sister went to stay with her father's mother, Lorraine, for what was supposed to be a short visit.
She called her grandmother "Mommy" and her parents became a forgotten memory. Lee described herself then as a "happy child, living in a warm, carefree, and loving home. She provided for her family when she was just a kid Aunt Betty's 51st birthday in Grandma's dining room, , with Grandma's cream cheese and peach cake.
Then her stepfather walked out when Sandra was It fell to the future domestic diva to raise the family, as she said her mother "spent her days lying on the couch, taking pills and screaming at us. Her mother said to her, "You are going to be so much more than I am when you grow up. She responded, "You're right.
I am going to be more than you. Lee left for good then , and has had no relationship with her mother ever since. After this, Lee went to live with her father, who had moved to Wisconsin. Then, her father got in trouble with the law after reportedly raping his year-old girlfriend. Lee witnessed some of it, according to New York Magazine, and had to testify in the trial that put her father in prison for one year.
Her first business was in curtains Once Kurtain Kraft was launched, we did the commercial and then the infomercial and set the product at retail. She had a passion for decorating from an early age, in order to make her life better. Birdie Rand, a Target buyer who has known Lee for decades, told New York Magazine , "A lot of people would have thrown in the towel a number of times. But she also faced lawsuits. While she was able to get two patents for her products, New York Magazine reported she faced a "cash-flow crisis" due to a slew of product returns.
So Lee started "diversifying her product line. New York Magazine reported that "according to people who knew her well at the time," when she was living in Los Angeles in the s, "She took a particular interest in men who were already attached. Lee said more than once, likely as a joke, that she planned to write a book about how to steal a married man," a claim that Lee acknowledged as "preposterous.
She even converted to Judaism for him, but they divorced in She branded "semi-homemade" Getty Images Lee expanded her business to include cooking, coming up with her trademarked "semi-homemade" recipe idea, even though, as New York Magazine sneered, "Lee's culinary training consists of a two-week course at Le Cordon Bleu in Ottawa. Her niche was easy-to-make meals for the harried modern woman.
The recipes generally consist of 70 percent store-bought prepared items, and 30 percent fresh ingredients. As she defines it , "Seventy percent store-bought, ready-made, plus 30 percent fresh, allows you to take percent of the credit. Then New York Magazine notes she was able to parlay connections she had made through her career and marriage so far, into meeting with Harvey Weinstein of Miramax. He got her a publishing deal with the book branch of his company, and she quickly made it onto the best-seller list in But at the time, she wanted to have more of a home decor niche.
She said, 'No, we really need you to do this. You can do tablescapes also, as long as you cook. But she didn't get a lot of respect for her dishes. Food writer Amanda Hesser eviscerated her in the pages of The New York Times, saying, "Using the same strategy that has been so successful for the food industry, she seems more intent on encouraging people to create excuses for not cooking than on encouraging them to cook wholesome simple foods.
Not only was it considered culturally offensive chef Anthony Bourdain disparaged it as a " war crime " but she reportedly didn't even come up with it herself. Then again, maybe it's better that she didn't. Denise Vivaldo, the food stylist who claimed to have created the recipe, attacked Lee in a Huffington Post column about it. She also mocked Lee's "incredibly bad food taste" via New York Magazine. The publication noted that Lee then reportedly had a lawyer lean on Huffington Post to pull the article.
That's how some people get their press. There are 17 million children in this country going hungry every day, and we're worried about my Kwanzaa cake from 10 years ago? That's what I think is ridiculous. Yes, I can laugh about it. But when they finally met at the premiere of Julie and Julia in , she was very friendly to him, Bourdain admitted.
He wrote in his blog about it via The Daily Beast , saying "I turn and find myself looking straight into the deceptively attractive and reasonable looking face of Sandra Lee. Imagine the two of them together on her show. But when she met Cuomo in at a party, his life was in a shambles. Cuomo's wife Kerry Kennedy had cheated on him, and they had endured a rough divorce.
His political career was in a slump, too, after his withdrawal from the gubernatorial race. After the couple fell in love, she became stepmother to his three daughters, but Cuomo and Lee have not yet married.
She told The New York Observer in that they would do so one day, though. She's all about cocktails and cursing Lee may have Grace Kelly looks, but she is known for her sense of fun, especially when it comes to her love of drinking on her programs.
Many of Lee's shows feature cocktails, "cocktail time" being one of her catchphrases. She even has a margarita line , too. In addition, the elegant-looking Lee swears a lot. Somebody even created a now-pulled semi-homemade compilation video of Lee cursing on the set of her shows.
Those articles were used against her in , when local officials investigated and reportedly found out she didn't get permits for the work. Cuomo's people called it "politically motivated," the Times wrote, as the reassessment occurred when Republicans took over county leadership.
But it didn't look good for her not to secure permits first, as other homeowners are required to do. A survivor, she advocates for breast cancer research Lee was diagnosed with breast cancer in and had a double mastectomy. She suffered complications from that and had to get more surgery. She also underwent reconstructive surgery. She has been very open with her fans about what she has gone through. And her partner Andrew Cuomo was there to support her "every step of the way," Lee told People.
In addition, Lee has done charitable events to raise money for cancer research. She also influenced the governor to get legislation passed in New York to pay for more breast cancer screenings. She and Cuomo have been vocal about encouraging the importance of early detection.
She looks forward to the next 50 years of her life A post shared by Sandra Lee sandraleeonline on Jul 3, at 3: Her future is bright, especially now that she is cancer-free.
She is devoted to her partner, stepchildren, and the rest of her family, telling People her nieces and nephews were her "greatest joy. Lee is also a longtime activist when it comes to hunger causes, an issue close to her heart, due to her childhood. If Cuomo ever runs for president one day, she might have a hand in decorating the place herself with her tablescapes. Let's just hope she saves the "cocktail time" for appropriate occasions.