Tom Selleck served in the National Guard from 1967 to 1973, during which time he also married actress and model Jacqueline Ray and adopted her son Kevin. While Selleck didn’t see combat during his time in the National Guard, he is proud of his experience in the military and his veteran status. Since then, Selleck has appeared on recruitment posters for the National Guard and has been generous in his donations to the Vietnam Veterans Fund.
However, he didn’t have an easy time returning to civilian life in 1973. He was dropped from Fox’s New Talent program only a few months later, leaving him to rebuild his career from scratch. During this period he filmed six different pilots, none of which were picked up, until “Magnum, PI.” came along in 1980.
He guest-starred in TV series, working slowly back up to a successful career. Looking back, Selleck doesn’t regret the struggles of his early years. In fact, if he could give his 25-year-old self some advice, according to an interview with GQ, it would be, “savor things, even the failures, a little more.”
A slow start to his career wouldn’t be the only difficulty during this period: His marriage to Jacqueline Ray was rocky, especially once Selleck moved to Hawaii to film “Magnum, PI.” (Though Selleck has since clarified that it wasn’t his success with “Magnum, PI.” that caused the end of the relationship.) In fact, Ray guest-starred in several episodes of “Magnum, PI.” However, by 1982, Ray and Selleck announced their separation and eventual divorce.