Brianne Davis is a Hollywood actress, writer, producer and director. She can be seen as an actress in Lucifer, Casual, True Blood, the History Channel’s series Six, and the film Jarhead, starring Jake Gyllenhaal. She has directed two films, The Night Visitor 2: Heather’s Story and Deadly Signal.
Brianne has over a decade of recovery as a sex and love addict. Inspired by her life experience, she is the host of the popular personal journals podcast Secret Life. Brianne lives in Los Angeles with her husband, Mark Gantt and son, Davis.
Why did you start writing Secret Life of a Hollywood Sex & Love Addict?
After I hit a decade of recovery in Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous, I wanted to be of service to more people. By giving a voice to the voiceless and helping others, it’s helped me to continue to grow. I mainly wanted non-addicts to understand the deadly disease of sex and love addiction by telling it in a very amusing and vulnerable way. When I started my journey, every book I read was way so academic that I’d quickly get overwhelmed and want to throw the books against the wall. By sharing my experience through this roman à clef novel, I hoped to create an educational and entertaining book.
You’ve had a successful career as an actress for over twenty years, have you always been writing?
No! Not at all! I never thought of myself as a writer. I grow up dealing with a learning disability. I was officially diagnosed with ADHD at a very early age. Honestly, I thought of myself as stupid because I did not comprehend sentence structure and spelling. English class was especially hard for me. It wasn’t until my husband, Mark Gantt, convinced me to take a 90-day writing class that I found my style and voice. I tried to let the story unfold organically and not let my judgment and criticism stand in the way. I never dreamed of writing a book, I definitely didn’t think I’d write one based on my Hollywood career and sex and love addiction. But I’m glad I tried and listened to my husband and the Universe.
As an actress, do you write as if you’re playing the part? Can you explain your writing process?
No, I get too self-conscious and judgmental. Even though Roxanne, my heroine, is based on my life, she’s her own person with her own journey. I see her as a fragment of every human. She could literally be anyone—your mother, sister, wife, cousin, or girlfriend. I think everyone has a little
Roxanne in them.
I really loved how you brought us into Roxanne’s world and gave us an insider look at an actress’s life. How much of that is based on real-life?
I would guess 50% is based on my life. When it comes to acting out in the disease, I definitely used my imagination to explore other aspects of the addiction. I wanted her behavior to be more universal. In terms of the novel’s recovery portion, I would say that it’s mostly 75% of my journey. I truly hope this book helps others find their way out of the darkness, much like writing the book helped me even after 11 years of recovery.
I loved you naming products, places, and restaurants; it was a very Bret Easton Ellis-esque style. I particularly liked Roxanne’s Playlist at the back of the book. How does music influence you as an artist?
Oh my gosh, I love music. I listened to so many artists while writing the book. Music definitely helped me dig deeper into the emotions of my past and allow me to expose more of Roxanne’s struggles. My ultimate vision is that the reader can listen to Roxanne’s life’s soundtrack and experience a deeper connection to what she’s internally going through. It helped me find her inner voice just as much as music helps me find mine. Plus, I am a big advocate for sharing my favorite things in LA. Especially beauty and home goods products. When I love something, I love it with all my heart, and I want to shout from the rooftops for everyone to buy them.
You’ve got your hands full with acting, producing, directing, podcasting and mother to a toddler in quarantine. How do you structure your writing time?
Honestly, the only time I have to write is during my son Davis’ nap time from 1:30 to 4:30 pm. My husband and I usually cram in a lot of meetings, podcast interviews, and writing in that allotted time slot. I wish we had more alone time, but it has also been a huge blessing to have Davis home from daycare. We’ve gotten so much closer as a family, even on those days when we want to pull our hair out from exhaustion.
Tell me about the Secret Life podcast. How did that come about?
That was another God shot that came out of nowhere after I wrote my first article in the Huff Post, where I broke my anonymity and shared my story. The article generated over a million hits in the first month. I received so many DMs and emails asking for help, thanking me for my honesty and truth. It was such a beautiful experience sharing my recovery and journey with others outside of my SLAA (Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous) community. A couple of months later, I woke up at 3 am with this thought —Why don’t I give others space to share their secrets and shame called Secret Life. My tagline is—Tell me your secrets and I’ll tell you mine. It allows me to help others let go of all the pain, trauma and shame they are carrying around. In turn, helps me to stay open and transparent in my continuous road to vulnerability and humility. I have to tell you there is no better high than helping someone who’s alone and suffering. That’s why the book and podcast are so important to me. When we see we’re not the only ones going through crap, it reminds us we’re not alone. No matter their status, every human on this earth has problems like low self-esteem, fear of abandonment, and fear of not being loved. We can all open up and heal together.
If someone struggles with this disease or is in a relationship with a sex and love addict, what advice would you suggest?
My first suggestion would be to look at the 40 Questions for Self Diagnosis from the Sex and Love Addicts Anonymous website. They say if you answer more than 5 yeses that the rooms might be for you. Whether you’re a sex and love addict or with one, I’d recommend connecting with a therapist. It’s a gnarly disease that’s tricky, baffling, and very cunning. You don’t have to do it alone. Even someone like me, who’s a recovered sex and love addict, married for 16 years with 11 years of sobriety under her belt, can attest to. I know without a doubt that I could not sustain a healthy relationship without the right tools. SLAA and therapy helped me understand the WHY of my disease and get on the other side of the vicious cycle of acting out. Today my life is drama-free and have serenity in all my relationships. I could not say that before I surrendered. I am a genuinely grateful sex and love addict. And you could be too!
To learn more about the Brianne and the book, please check: https://secretlifenovel.com