Nate Berkus opens up about his 'intensely personal decision' to quit smoking

By: Gibson Johns

Interior design extraordinaire Nate Berkus used to be a serious smoker. Though he's been smoke-free for over four years, the 45-year-old father to Poppy Brent-Berkus, 1, says that he used to smoke cigarettes "without consequences" every day for years.

"I picked up a cigarette without thinking," he told me during an exclusive Facebook Live interview at the Gansevoort Park this week. But, as he began to make other healthier changes in his life, he realized that he "had to move into a new stage of life." And that meant quitting smoking.

SEE ALSO: Kelly Osbourne reveals her famous family's holiday traditions

Berkus admitted to me that quitting wasn't easy, but did say that Nicorette gum was a tool that he used to help him in his quest to get off cigarettes.

"If I had a craving, I could just grab a piece of gum," he remembered. "Gum is a societal norm [unlike smoking], even though it drives my mother crazy."

See photos of Nate Berkus and his husband, Jeremiah Brent, together:

28 PHOTOS
Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent together
See Gallery
Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent together
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 30: Jeremiah Brent (L) and Nate Berkus attend The Zoe Report's Box of Style Winter Edition Dinner at Chateau Marmont on November 30, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Stefanie Keenan/Getty Images for The Zoe Report)
LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 18: (L-R) Jeremiah Brent and Interior Designer Nate Berkus attend Preen by Thornton Bregazzi private dinner hosted by Brigette Romanek and Estee Stanley on October 18, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by John Sciulli/Getty Images for Preen)
CULVER CITY, CA - NOVEMBER 12: Designer Nate Berkus (L) and Jeremiah Brent attend the Fifth Annual Baby2Baby Gala, Presented By John Paul Mitchell Systems at 3LABS on November 12, 2016 in Culver City, California. (Photo by Randy Shropshire/Getty Images for Baby2Baby)
LOS ANGELES, CA - MAY 19: Nate Berkus (R) and Jeremiah Brent attend TOPMAN & Nick Jonas Celebrate the TOPMAN Magazine 'This Is Tailoring' Issue at Chateau Marmont on May 19, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Charley Gallay/Getty Images for TOPMAN)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - SEPTEMBER 08: Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent pose with daughter Poppy Brent-Berkus as they host the celebration for Tracey Hecht's new book series 'The Nocturnals' at AU FUDGE on September 8, 2016 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Rachel Murray/Getty Images for Fabled Films)
LOS ANGELES, CA - APRIL 29: Designer Nate Berkus (L) and Jeremiah Brent attend the 43rd Annual Daytime Creative Arts Emmy Awards at Westin Bonaventure Hotel on April 29, 2016 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by David Livingston/Getty Images)
WEST HOLLYWOOD, CA - APRIL 28: Jeremiah Brent and Nate Berkus attend the opening of the Alexandra Von Furstenberg Los Angeles flagship store on April 28, 2016 in West Hollywood, California. (Photo by Donato Sardella/Getty Images for Alexandra Von Furstenberg )
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 24: Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent attend the Anaheim/Orange County Visitor & Convention Bureau unveiling of its new brand bringing the sun and fun of Anaheim to the Big Apple with experience Anaheim and Orange County 3D interactive virtual vacation outside the flatiron Building on June 24, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Walter McBride/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 03: TV personalities Nate Berkus (L) and Jeremiah Brent attend the Up2Us Sports celebration of 5 Years of change through sports on June 3, 2015 at the IAC Building in New York City. (Photo by Michael Loccisano/Getty Images for Up2Us Sports)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 03: Designers Jeremiah Brent and Nate Berkus attend the Bravo Presents a special screening of 'Odd Mom Out' after party at Casa Lever on June 3, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jim Spellman/WireImage)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: Nate Berkus (L) and Jeremiah Brent attend the New York City Ballet 2014 Fall Gala at David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on September 23, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 24: Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent attend the Good Shepherd Services Spring Party hosted by Isaac Mizrahi at Stage 37 on April 24, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Good Shepherd Services)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 15: Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent attend Uprising Of Love: A Benefit Concert For Global Equality at the Gershwin Theatre on September 15, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: Interior designer Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent attend the Charm & Chain Kaleidoscope Collection Launch at Up & Down on April 23, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by J Carter Rinaldi/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: Interior designer Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent attend the Charm & Chain Kaleidoscope Collection Launch at Up & Down on April 23, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by J Carter Rinaldi/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - APRIL 23: Interior designer Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent attend the Charm & Chain Kaleidoscope Collection Launch at Up & Down on April 23, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by J Carter Rinaldi/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 24: Interior designer and TV host Nate Berkus (L) and Jeremiah Brent attend DIFFA's 17th Annual Dining By Design New York Gala at Pier 94 on March 24, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Ben Gabbe/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 05: Jeremiah Brent (L) and designer Nate Berkus attends the 15th Affordable Art Fair at Gilded Lily on March 5, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Andrew Toth/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 08: Nate Berkus and fiance Jeremiah Brent attend Human Rights Campaign's 2014 Greater New York Gala at The Waldorf=Astoria on February 8, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Taylor Hill/FilmMagic)
LOS ANGELES, CA - NOVEMBER 18: TV personality Nate Berkus and Jeremiah Brent arrive at the Los Angeles Premiere of 'The Hunger Games: Catching Fire' at Nokia Theatre L.A. Live on November 18, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - AUGUST 15: Interior Designer and TV Personality Nate Berkus and stylist Jeremiah Brent attend the GQ 'What To Wear Now' Special Issue Party at The Highline Hotel on August 15, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images for GQ)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 19: Nate Berkus (L) and Jeremiah Brent attend the Target FEED Collaboration launch at Brooklyn Bridge Park on June 19, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 05: Nate Berkus, Jeremiah Brent attend the 3.1 Phillip Lim for Target Launch Eventat Spring Studio on September 5, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 23: Nate Berkus (L) and Jeremiah Brent attend 'Mama I Want To Sing' 30th Anniversary Gala Celebration at The Dempsey Theatre on March 23, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - MARCH 23: Nate Berkus (L) and Jeremiah Brent attend 'Mama I Want To Sing' 30th Anniversary Gala Celebration at The Dempsey Theatre on March 23, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by Rob Kim/Getty Images)
NEW YORK, NY - JUNE 19: Nate Berkus (L) and Jeremiah Brent attend the Target FEED Collaboration launch at Brooklyn Bridge Park on June 19, 2013 in New York City. (Photo by D Dipasupil/FilmMagic)
NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 23: Nate Berkus (L) and Jeremiah Brent attend the New York City Ballet 2014 Fall Gala at David H. Koch Theater at Lincoln Center on September 23, 2014 in New York City. (Photo by Neilson Barnard/Getty Images)
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

His interior design expertise proved to be surprisingly helpful on his journey, as well. Berkus recalled smoking in his bed as something he took comfort in, so when he realized that changing those spots -- like his bedroom -- in his home in which he smoked most frequently could help him make a change, he didn't hesitate to do so.

Some of the changes he pointed to were swapping out sheets, changing wall colors and putting family photos in former smoke-heavy corners of the house to remind him of why he was quitting in the first place.

After all, he called his choice to quit an "intensely personal decision," and that feeling intensified when he became a father with his husband, Jeremiah Brent. "I don't want her to ever pick up a cigarette," he confessed about his daughter.

Now that he has been smoke-free for years, Berkus wants to help others on their quest to quit. With the help of Nicorette and NicoDerm CQ, the former "Oprah Winfrey Show" regular is urging smokers who want to quit to enter the Smoke-Free Room Refresh contest (enter here), which will end in one lucky winners getting a consultation from Berkus on refreshing a spot in their home that has proven to be a smoking refuge.

Berkus is proof that people can "break habits through external things," like more calming spaces in their homes, which is why he's encouraging everyone to make a change.

Watch my full interview with Nate Berkus below:

More from AOL.com:
Kevin and Danielle Jonas talk about the 'learning curve' of having a second child
Troian Bellisario explains why the end of 'Pretty Little Liars' comes with a 'bittersweet prize'
John Krasinski on pursuing directing after 'The Hollars': 'I know I have to earn it'

Read Full Story

Sign up for Entertainment Insider by AOL to get the hottest pop culture news delivered straight to your inbox!

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.