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'Facts of Life' star Lisa Whelchel on why she was written out of the show's virginity episode

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Lisa Whelchel rose to fame on the 1980s sitcom The Facts of Life, playing preppy Blair Warner with the perfectly styled blond hair, from 1979 to 1988. One thing the actress remembers is that, in Season 2, producers wanted Blair to be the first to lose her virginity, but Whelchel wasn’t on board with that storyline.

“That’s not something I can be a part of,” she tells Yahoo Entertainment that she said in response. “I know young girls are watching this show and that’s not the kind of decision that can really be covered in 17 minutes and a couple of commercials.”

THE FACTS OF LIFE -- Pictured: (center) Nancy McKeon as Joanna 'Jo' Marie Polniaczek Bonner, Mindy Cohn as Natalie Letisha Sage Green, Charlotte Rae as Mrs. Edna Ann Garrett, Lisa Whelchel as Blair Warner, Kim Fields as Dorothy 'Tootie' Ramsey. (Photo: Frank Carroll/NBCU Photo Bank)
The Facts of Life aired from 1979-1988 and focused on a group of girls attending a boarding school. (Photo: Frank Carroll/NBCU Photo Bank).

Whelchel says her Christian faith also led her to decline that particular plotline. At the time she told producers: “My faith has always been a big part of my life. I don’t think I can do that.”

Then, in Season 9, Natalie, played by Mindy Cohn, lost her virginity in an episode titled “The First Time.”

“I asked to be written out of that episode,” Whelchel says.

It was the first, and only, episode she missed in all nine seasons of the show.

If she could go back and do it again Whelchel says she wouldn’t ask to be written out, but instead bring some balance and cover the controversial topic in a “responsible way.”

THE FACTS OF LIFE, (clockwise from top left): George Clooney, Nancy McKeon, Mackenzie Astin, Lisa Whelchel, Kim Fields, Cloris Leachman, and Mindy Cohn, (Season 8), 1979-1988. (Photo: Embassy Pictures/Everett Collection)
George Clooney played a handyman on The Facts of Life from 1985-1987 appearing in 17 episodes. (Photo: Embassy Pictures/Everett Collection)

In August, The Facts of Life celebrated its 40th anniversary, and it brought back some sweet memories of one super-special co-star. Whelchel remembers starring opposite George Clooney, who appeared on the sitcom from 1985 to 1987. “He was cute and of course, he was adorable,” Whelchel says. “If I had known he was going to turn out to be George Clooney, I might have worn makeup to rehearsal more often.”

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