Susan Lucci is cleaning out her closet for a cause that’s near and dear to her heart.
The soap opera legend, 73, has teamed up once again with the auction house, Everything But The House (EBTH), for a huge clothing and accessories sale. She’s auctioning off over 160 items from her very own closet (most of which are in brand new condition!) all in the name of charity.
“It all goes on sale on Valentine’s Day,” Lucci tells PEOPLE of the auction which will run through Feb. 23 and benefit the American Heart Association. “There are very beautiful designer handbags that have either never been worn or maybe only used once or twice. Everything is in pristine shape so that they are really perfect for gift-giving either to you or someone you love.”
There are a number of high-end designer pieces, including a pair of python-print Christian Louboutin pumps with a signed box by Lucci, a Gucci velvet mini bag with signed box, a vintage Chanel choker necklace with signed box, a Tom Ford animal-print shoulder bag, an Emilio Pucci silk print dress worn by Lucci in Devious Maids and a Donald Deal red beaded halter dress worn by Lucci at the Woman’s Day Red Dress Awards in 2019.
“The red gown was the hardest for me to part with,” Lucci says. “The one I wore to the Red Dress Honors Awards last year. It was brand new and I just wore it the one time and I absolutely loved it. But on the other hand, it seems such an appropriate thing to put in my auction.”
While she admits she sometimes regrets putting certain items up for sale (noting a pair of Alaïa boots she was sad to part with in her last EBTH auction), she says she travels too much to possibly wear everything she has.
“I travel a lot and I found I couldn’t travel with some things and they were sitting in my closet and that’s not right. You can’t go through an airport in Alaïa boots and not set off all sorts of alarms.”
But in this new sale, she’s most excited to be sharing her vintage ’80s Chanel jewelry with bidders. “There is a pair of earrings that I wore on the cover of TV Guide in the ’80s, and they are part of the auction too. So I think it’s going to be a really fun auction for people because statement earrings are all the rage right now.”
Every time she’s partnered with EBTH, the sales benefit one of her favorite charities, and this time, she’s donating the proceeds to something very personal.
“I’m so happy to contribute a large percentage to the American Heart Association,” says Lucci, who is a national volunteer spokesperson. “I am so grateful to have the opportunity to be part of the American Heart Association and the Go Red for Women movement.”
In honor of Heart Month, Lucci, who had emergency heart surgery in October 2018, where she had two stents inserted into her arteries to increase blood flow back to her heart, is more focused than ever in spreading the signs and symptoms of heart disease.
“I can say firsthand I found out it is true what they say that women’s symptoms are often usually different than a man’s,” she says of her health scare. “I was so, so lucky in avoiding what they call ‘the widowmaker’, which would have been a fatal heart attack. I had a 90% blockage in my major artery and a 75% blockage in the adjacent artery and had a fantastic doctor who put two stents in that night. I was so incredibly lucky. There was no way I could just sit on that good luck for myself. I had to pass that forward. And I’m so grateful that I get to have that chance to help inform women and help encourage women to know what the signs are, and know how to pay attention to those signs.”
She advises people to always prioritize one’s health, do regular screenings to test their numbers and be sure to evaluate their family history.
“This is another caution for women. You may be like me. You may work out, eat a clean diet, have great numbers. But in my case, and I’m sure in other women’s cases and men for that matter, it’s your DNA too,” she explains. “We found out that the blockage that I had was not cholesterol, it was calcium, and I inherited that from my dad. So your DNA comes into play too. It’s important to be mindful of that, and DNA and stress.”
What’s the first step people can do to check their heart health? Lucci says it’s easier than ever to check one’s numbers. “The American Heart Association has just teamed up with CVS and throughout the month of February, they’re offering free health screenings at their MinuteClinics on the first three Thursdays in February.”
Ever since the emergency surgery, she said she’s felt better than ever. “I wound up getting two stents put in on a Thursday, and I was released before noon the next day. The next night I was on stage in New York, with the doctor’s clearance. And I have been able to just live my life, to go forward, and be joyful. That’s what I want for women, and to pass on whatever information I can get.”
A post shared by Susan Lucci (official) (@therealsusanlucci) on Sep 21, 2019 at 5:30am PDT
These days she’s still traveling regularly with her husband of 50 years, Helmut Huber, 82, and they’re jetting off with a group of friends to their annual Valentine’s Day getaway in St. Barts.
“That’s a huge number and I kind of choke on it when I think about it,” laughs Lucci on their milestone anniversary. “Gosh, it’s such a big number. That sounds to me like it must be my parents, but of course it’s not, it’s us.”
“We’ve been so happy and so blessed. I feel so lucky,” she says. “I thank God every day.”