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Thursday, October 23, 2003
Amy Yasbeck

He was the man that America loved, and he was the man that Amy Yasbeck was in love with. On Thursday’s "Primetime Thursday," John Ritter's loving wife speaks out about her husband's death for the first time. She says, "He talked to you like it was the last time he was going to talk to you every time he saw you."

We caught up with Diane Sawyer, who conducted the exclusive interview. She says that Ritter died on his daughter's fifth birthday, and the hardest thing for Yasbeck was breaking the news to little Stella. Sawyer says, "She's still so much in love with this man who's still very much alive in her universe. She told her daughter it was a terrible surprise. Her daughter said, at five-years-old, ‘No, it was a mistake.’"

Yasbeck met Ritter on the set of "Problem Child," where she played his wife. Now she just knows her husband would have wanted "8 Simple Rules" to go on. Sawyer says, "She just wishes she could tell John that it's going to be James Garner coming in because he loved him so much."

Yasbeck tells Sawyer her grief is so dark and heavy. She thinks about John all of the time. But one thing gives her comfort: every day Ritter let the people around him know how he felt about them. Yasbeck says, "He would give you a little summary of how wonderful you were and how proud he was of you, and you felt loved and supported."

"8 Simple Rules" deals with the death of John's character November 4th. And former "Seinfeld" star, Patrick Warburton, will pop into the episode, along with John Ratzenberger and Shirley Williams.

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