Suzanne Somers' Widower Alan Hamel Says He Can 'Feel Her in My Heart Every Night' 7 Months After Her Death (Exclusive)

Somers' husband talks to PEOPLE about how he’s been adjusting, how he's managed to recreate the feelings of affection he once shared with his wife and his belief in an afterlife

<p>Cindy Gold</p> Suzanne Somers and Alan Hamel.

Cindy Gold

Suzanne Somers and Alan Hamel.

When Alan Hamel goes to bed, during those quiet minutes before he falls asleep, he thinks of late wife Suzanne Somers.

“That's when I really think about her and feel that she's beside me — and it feels palpable,” he tells PEOPLE. “A couple of times, I've actually reached over, thinking she's here. Of course, I didn't feel her. But I feel her in my heart every night.”

Since Somers died on October 15, 2023 at the age of 76 from an aggressive form of breast cancer — one day before her 77th birthday — Hamel has had to adjust to life without his soulmate. It’s been a surreal process that includes learning to live alone, something he hasn’t done since he was 18-years-old, and searching for a way to recreate the feelings of deep affection he once shared with the Three's Company actress, whom he wed in 1977.

Related: Suzanne Somers' Life in Photos

Tom Wargacki/WireImage Suzanne Somers and Alan Hamel in New York City in December 1978.
Tom Wargacki/WireImage Suzanne Somers and Alan Hamel in New York City in December 1978.

After reading an article about the importance of hugging and how it creates oxytocin, known also as the "love hormone," Hamel began to inject himself with the peptide hormone.

“It makes you feel all lovey-dovey,” he explains. “Mothers and their infants feel it regularly. It also is great for the immune system. And because Suzanne and I were hugging constantly, we constantly had oxytocin running through our brains, and that's what was missing. … I am now injecting oxytocin, so I brought that feeling back.”

Hamel, 87, injects himself with oxytocin whenever he needs an emotional boost, which as of late, has been almost every week. “It usually stays with me for a few days, and then by the time I get to the end of a week, I know it's time to inject again,” he says.

When he isn't spending time with family, including his six grandchildren, Hamel regularly goes on outings, enjoying dinners with other people as another way to stay engaged with the world. He likes to refer to these outings, often with two other guests, as “double dating,” although they're entirely platonic.

“There's nothing romantic going on there,” he explains, adding, “I would never do that, and not certainly at this point, respecting Suzanne.”

Related: Suzanne Somers and Alan Hamel's Relationship Timeline

<p>Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty</p> Suzanne Somers and Alan Hamel in New York City in 1978.

Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty

Suzanne Somers and Alan Hamel in New York City in 1978.

Hamel also spends much of his time working on Somers’ ongoing online business, which still sells an array of goods: skincare, cosmetics, nutritional supplements, and of course, the legendary ThighMaster. “She joked that her legacy was going to be the ThighMaster,” he muses.

Memories of Somers still come to mind everyday, in part because Hamel’s Southern California home has pictures of her throughout. He fondly remembers how they met when he was the host of 1969's The Anniversary Game and she was working as a prize model. To Hamel, she was the "most incredible looking woman" he'd ever seen.

"I panicked a little bit, because I've never been good with come-on lines, ever," he says, adding he never dated in high school. "So I had no idea what I was going to say to her. And so I get up to her, and this is what I said, 'Would you mind getting me a cup of coffee?'"

There's also Somers' “incredible” cooking, one aspect of the dynamic and versatile actress he feels remains largely overlooked despite her writing nine cookbooks, including Eat Great, Lose Weight and The Sexy Forever Recipe Bible.

“She was actually going to teach cooking [early on],” he recalls. “We had been living together for several years, and we had bought a beach condo. And she said to me, ‘I'm no longer interested in show business. I've done so many pilots. I'm thinking of myself as a stewardess.’ That was her little joke. And she said, ‘So I'm going to redesign our kitchen so that I can teach cooking.’ But that's when the call came in from Three's Company.”

Related: Suzanne Somers' Widower Recalls Kissing and 'Talking to Her' in Her Final Days: 'She Was Still with Us' (Exclusive)

<p>Alan Hamel</p> A rare glimpse at Suzanne Somers and Alan Hamel gardening at their Southern California home circa 2020.

Alan Hamel

A rare glimpse at Suzanne Somers and Alan Hamel gardening at their Southern California home circa 2020.

He's reminded of the many life lessons Somers taught him, as well, including how to appreciate women's fashion, how to apologize and actually mean it — “It sounds like a silly thing, but it's not,” he says — and how to garden in their expansive backyard.

“I’m a city boy. I never had vegetable gardens growing up," he explains.

Thanks to Somers, Hamel also now believes in an afterlife. Small things inexplicably pop up from time to time — the sound system turning itself on and playing a random tune, the fireplace, untouched, roaring to life — which he interprets as signs that his wife is ever-present.

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Inspired and heartened by those moments, it’s Hamel’s hope that he’ll be reunited with his wife one day.

“I've come to believe that our soul goes to this place,” he says. “If that's true, then it's possible that our soul can come back and send these signals saying, ‘I'm still here,’ or ‘I will be here from time to time.’ I know to some people, that sounds wacky. But I have to tell you that for me, it sounds very real. I'm hoping that it is real … that one day, I could be with Suzanne once again."

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