Ann Leary's alcoholism a best-selling inspiration for book "The Good House"

(CBS News) Denis Leary and his wife Ann Leary have been married more than 20 years. But while he has been the star of movies and TV, she is now sharing the spotlight.

Ann Leary's new New York Times best-selling novel "The Good House," explores a woman's journey with alcoholism. It's Ann Leary's third book. The main character is a 60-year-old alcoholic named Hildy.

"She's a very successful real estate broker and doesn't seem to think she has any kind of problem," Ann Leary said of the character. "She comes up with a kind of workable solution where she drinks by herself."

Asked if women drink differently than men, Ann Leary said, "That's, I think, maybe more common with women than men, the drinking alone after the kids are in bed, with younger women maybe. And ...I'm not talking about a couple glasses of wine after work. That's -- you know, but I'm talking drinking to drunkenness -- night after night might be something that -- some women can relate to."

And it's something Ann Leary herself can relate to. The recovering alcoholic recalled of her drinking days, "I would say that most people who knew me really didn't know I had a drinking problem at all. I would go out and have a couple of glasses of wine with friends.

"I'm the kind of drinker who has a like, no shut-off thing. I just feel after a couple, it's hard to, you know, I feel this, it's like, keep going. So I would go home and my kids would be in bed, and then maybe I'd drink a bottle by myself. And, you know, or drink a little too much by myself. Sometimes I wouldn't remember going to bed. I never drank in front of my kids. I was very secret about it."

Ann Leary made the call to recover on her own, according to Denis Leary. He said, "I come from an Irish fam -- my parents are from Ireland. Most of my family is in Ireland. So -- you know, drinking in an Irish family is, you know, sort of like, Guinness is just -- that's good for ya. It's like porridge. So, you know, I'm not the best guy to check with. You're like, 'Think I have a drinkin' problem?' You know I mean? 'Oh no, you're still standin' up, you know? I think you're all right.' So I'm not the best guy...she kind of made that call herself."

Ann Leary is now hard at work on a fourth book about a passion of hers -- animals. And when she's not writing, she can often be found tending to her horses and the couple's four dogs on their Connecticut farm. At 50, the author is doing everything she always wanted.

"I have a great life, a really great life," she said. "I feel really lucky. And we've been blessed. We have -- you know, more than I could have ever imagined."

For more with Ann Leary and Denis Leary, watch the video in the player above.

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