10 Questions With Actor and Musician Charles Esten

Medically Reviewed by Michael W. Smith, MD on June 22, 2016
3 min read

1. When ABC announced Nashville's cancellation [the show has been picked up by CMT], fans campaigned to bring it back. Why do you think the show has resonated with viewers?

I think a lot of it has to do with the character [writer] Callie Khouri conceived. Deacon is a guy who's been through it all, and who is always fighting to be the better part of himself. And that's a story that resonates with a lot of people, 'cause we're all trying to be the better halves of ourselves.

2. What has playing Deacon over the last four seasons meant to you?

This role wasn't just a dream. It was a whole bunch of dreams come true at the same time. Since I was very young, my passion has been music, and writing music and performing it.

3. You're the 2016 national honorary chair for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society's Light the Night walk. Why is this cause so important to you?

My personal connection is through my daughter Addie. Fourteen years ago, when she was 2 1/2, she was diagnosed with leukemia. So we've been down that extremely tough path, and we're very blessed to be able to say that she is completely healthy. We understood perfectly well that that didn't come out of thin air. It came out of research. And that research didn't just happen either. It came out of fundraising.

4. What disease would you most like to see eradicated in your lifetime?

I hope I'm around long enough, or at least Addie is, to see leukemia as a thing of the past, and lymphoma as well. So many of the cures and discoveries relating to blood cancers are easily applicable to other cancers.

5. What quality do you value most in a health care provider?

Whenever I see somebody who has resisted the urge to self-protect and has stayed warm and kind and open, and at the same time real -- telling people the real truths they're facing -- that moves me.

6. What is your health philosophy?

I think it's moderation. I'm not, by nature, a terribly disciplined person, so I always know that I'm going to fall off whatever wagon I'm on in terms of eating well or exercise. Because I know that, it's more about correcting slightly. No beating myself up if I had too big a meal or if I suddenly realize it's been a long time since I went to the gym.

7. What type of health program has been most effective for you?

I have to admit one of the most effective diets I've ever been on is the "they might make you take your shirt off on TV next week" diet. That's incredibly inspiring.

8. How do you get in shape for those shirtless scenes?

It's more about not waiting until then ... trying to be smart along the way. I only watch the scale enough to say, "OK, that's enough. Take it easy." I use it as inspiration, not recrimination.

9. What exercise program do you most enjoy?

There's a certain Zen to swimming. There's a certain peacefulness. ... I kind of go away to another place when I'm swimming.

10. What's the best health advice anyone has ever given you?

My mother was always a big proponent of rest. ... I've become a bit of a nap ninja. I can sleep anywhere, at any time, for any amount of time. I find it very helpful.

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