“I portrayed Carol Brady as the mom I always wished I had,” Henderson told Page Six ahead of her Thursday evening appearance in the American Heart Association’s Go Red For Women Red Dress Collection show at New York Fashion Week.
“I was my mom’s 10th child and I was born on Valentine’s Day, but I don’t think I was a love child,” she said with a laugh. “I’m very happy to be here, but I think there wasn’t much affection.”
Henderson, who turns 82 on Sunday, remembers her childhood as “very tough,” growing up in an impoverished family in Indiana.
“I wanted to portray Carol as a loving, fun, affectionate mother and it seemed to resonate with a lot of people who maybe had the same situation I did growing up,” added Henderson.
Given the TV classic hasn’t been off the air since its 1969 premiere, “The Brady Bunch” has touched the lives of generations — including Michael Jackson, who once approached her during the intermission of a show they were both attending.
“I receive so much affection,” she said. “People say what is the question you’re asked the most and I say it’s ‘can I have a hug?’ I’ve hugged people all over the world.”
Henderson recognizes the joy she’s given to the world with her onscreen art and continues to help friends and family with her training as a certified hypnotherapist, which stemmed from a fear of flying and stage fright early in her career.
“I developed the two things you don’t want to have in show business,” she admitted. “A friend told me about hypnotherapy and I thought ‘oh that’s kind of scary,’ but I called this doctor and I was helped so quickly.”
The actress has used her two-year training in the craft to help loved ones cope with illness and prepare for death, which she calls “a great privilege.”
“I think what happens when you grow up poor, as you get older you want to amass everything and keep everything for yourself,” she opined. “Or you know how that feels so you want to give back. So thank God [the latter] happened to me.”