Growing Pains‘ Alan Thicke returns to television tonight with Unusually Thicke, a blended sitcom/reality show starring third wife Tanya Thicke and third son Carter Thicke.
Not so unlike the Seavers, the Thickes will confront issues ranging from the playful (Alan’s pack rat ways) to the serious (Tanya’s desire for a baby) on the TV Guide Network show. Central to the whole premise is the 28-year age difference between Alan and Tanya. Just don’t confuse it for a true reality show: Unusually Thicke is a “reality sitcom” loosely based on the Thickes’ lives.
“It’s part-reality, part-sitcom. I never was so presumptuous to think that we’re interesting enough to be followed around with cameras with no plan and have it at all be entertaining,” Alan told TV Guide. “My insecurity about that was, ‘Let’s have a story.’ We tell our stories, but we’ll do it in an embellished kind of way. We’re not scripted, but we are plotted.”
We’ll probably learn quite a bit about Tanya in the show. But, to get to know the real woman behind the character, we did a bit more investigating…
Born Tanya Callau in Bolivia, the 39-year-old came to the United States in the 1990s to pursue modeling.
It’s unclear whether the voluptuous South American beauty was represented by an agency or did any print work… Although her pictures make it safe to assume she had success.
While doing one of those jobs in Miami in 1999, Tanya met Alan, who was working as a television presenter at the time. They quickly hit it off and began dating — at which point Tanya seemed to put her modeling career on the back burner to serve as a stepmother to Carter. (She’s also stepmother to Robin Thicke and Brennan Thicke… With Brennan being slightly older than her.)
Tanya and Alan married in 2005, when she was 30 and he was 58.
Unfortunately, Tanya’s name was swept up in a bit of controversy in April 2013 when her mother, Ruth Miriam Callau, was charged with murder after her husband was killed by hit men. According to the Toronto Sun, Ruth was connected to the murder after her husband’s body was discovered. Alan told The Province this week that Ruth was exonerated after eight months in Jail, but still cannot leave Bolivia. Some of the drama will play out on Unusually Thicke.
“It was a rather tragic story that we felt something had to be done with. Now, you couldn’t do anything funny, but it was an example of the fact that you have to keep plugging on the other cylinders on your life while you deal with and help your mother.”
Unusually Thicke premieres on TVGN tonight at 10/9c.