The pair struck up a friendship after landing the roles of Chrissy Snow (Somers) and Jack Tripper (Ritter) on the cult comedy, which debuted in the U.S. in 1977.
But a rift formed between them in the early 1980s when the actress demanded to receive the same wage as Ritter and the male members of the cast, which would have boosted her salary from $30,000 (£20,000) an episode to $150,000 (£100,000).
Her pay request was refused, prompting her to go on strike; she was subsequently written out of the show.
Somers, who still stands by her decision to demand more cash, didn’t speak to Ritter for years afterwards – until he tracked her down to a hair salon one day in 2003.
Speaking on U.S. chat show The Talk on Tuesday (01Feb11), Somers says, “We did (reconcile). I was in a beauty salon and I hadn’t talked to him in a long time. I really felt so badly because I love John Ritter and it was over a contract dispute that never should have infiltrated John and I…
“In the beauty salon, the receptionist comes over and says, ‘You have a phone call… It’s John Ritter.’ I go over and pick up the phone and he says, ‘Listen, I forgive you.’ I had a little trouble with that, but I let that go, and I said, ‘I love you and I’ve always loved you.'”
Ritter invited his former co-star to make a cameo appearance on his new show 8 Simple Rules – and they were in the process of making it happen when he suddenly died from an aortic dissection on 11 September, 2003.
But Somers is pleased they managed to make amends before his untimely passing – because she will always hold his talents in high regard.
She adds, “I’m so grateful we made peace. There’s Dick Van Dyke and John Ritter, the two greatest physical comics of our generation.”