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Rachael Harris Divorce: 'Painful' Split Helped Actress Land Critically Acclaimed Role

Posted: 03/19/2012 8:20 pm Updated: 03/19/2012 8:52 pm

Rachael Harris

To comedy fans, Rachael Harris is arguably best known as Melissa, Ed Helms' haranguing fiancee in 2009's "The Hangover."

But in the recently released "Natural Selection," the former "Daily Show" correspondent plays it serious as Linda, a Christian housewife with fertility problems who learns of her stroke-ridden husband's estranged son -- and treks out to find him.

The 44-year-old actress told Hollywood.com Monday that it was the pain of her divorce from actor Adam Paul, two years prior to filming "Natural Selection," that helped her get into character and land the role of Linda.

"It was still really… I don’t know if you’ve ever been through that, but for me, it was a huge transition. It was really painful. I had conflicting feelings about it. I knew it was the right thing to do, but I still loved my husband tremendously," Harris said, adding that she found Linda's realization that she was was living alone especially relatable:

When I went back to my house, and the house was completely empty -- I had moved out when my husband figured out what he was going to do, and then I moved back into the house, and everything of his was gone -- there’s a moment in the film when Linda goes back to the house and she’s brushing her teeth. And that moment when -- she has a double-sink -- she has to turn the other sink on to feel okay, I completely related to that. That floored me. There’s this quiet emptiness that is awful.

Harris, who'll next co-star in an untitled pilot for CBS produced by "Bridesmaids" actress Melissa McCarthy, married Paul in 2003. The couple called it quits in 2008.

"Natural Selection" is currently out out in select theaters.

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Filed by Brittany Wong  |