Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue practically wrote the book on marriage. The long-married pair opens up about their relationship in their memoir, What Makes a Marriage Las: 40 Celebrated Couples Share Their Secrets.
Despite having been married to Phil for nearly 40 years, Marlo explains that she grew up desiring nothing to do with marriage.
Marriage is like a vacuum cleaner: one attaches it to one’s ear, and it sucks away all one’s energy and drive, the actress said in the book, expressing her previously pessimistic view of the institution.
Thomas compares marriage to living with a jailer who must be appeased, making her sentiments obvious at certain points. Until she met Donahue, that is.
Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue met after Phil’s first marriage ended, and they have formed a friendship that will last a lifetime.
Phil Donahue rose to national prominence with his show, “The Phil Donahue Show,” which was eventually renamed “Donahue.” The show was the first of its type to involve audience interaction and ran for 29 years. And there was one guest on his show who completely altered the course of his life: Marlo Thomas.
According to the book, the couple met in Chicago in 1977, and Phil brought four youngsters with him. His fifth kid, a girl, lived abroad with his ex-wife and her mother.
Marlo and Phil dated for three years before marrying in a modest 35-person wedding in 1980.
Undoubtedly, Marlo’s friends and family were taken aback by her sudden change of heart. Friends during Marlo’s bridal shower hung statements from the soon-to-be-bride that conveyed her former thoughts on marriage, according to the couple’s book.
Throughout the couple’s wedding, Marlo’s mother was the most startled, asking Donahue, “How did you persuade her to do this?”
According to reports, even strangers showed disbelief, among other emotions, at the singer and social activist’s choice to marry. While Phil was in the restroom, a woman on the plane the couple boarded to their honeymoon in Greece voiced dismay to Marlo, plainly upset that she had abandoned her former independent streak.
In the book, Thomas is forthright, admitting that this conversation planted a seed of mistrust. Was she now a hypocrite for marrying after spending so much of her life criticizing marriage? Had she disappointed people who considered her as the epitome of independence?
Donahue and Thomas’ marriage works to this day, considering the regular ups and downs mentioned in the book while discussing their extended marriage. These challenges are cited as learning opportunities that assisted them improve their relationship.
Even when they were first married, the pair spent time apart as Phil recorded his program in Chicago and Marlo traveled for her own acting career.
Thomas’s aunt pointed out that the couple’s marriage was not a marriage because they were not completely living together, which assisted Thomas understand that various people define marriage differently.
Thomas and Donahue made their marriage work despite the distance. Significantly, Marlo had kids when she married her spouse.
In a 2012 interview, Thomas reminisced on what it was like to assist Phil raise his kids, stating that she went into it knowing that they already had a conventional mother and that she would not be playing that position.
Marlo, on the other hand, claims that she got more friendly with Phil’s kids in order to emulate her own mother’s parenting. She maintains that her connection with them is stronger now than it was at the outset of the marriage.
Donahue underlines in the book that Thomas did spend as much time as she could getting to know his sons via dialogue, striving to comprehend the boys.
Phil and Marlo think that their lengthy marriage is due to their faith in each other, in addition to her good bond with his kids. One creates trust when one understands that this individual always has his/her back, Marlo says.
Even after almost 40 years of marriage, they still have more memories to make.
Phil adds that in order for a marriage to endure, both parties must want it to. Marlo agrees with him and adds that, looking back, she would never have it any other way than to be married to her partner. Donohue, she says, has helped her in “every way possible.”
Marriage is a great relationship that is enhanced when two individuals sincerely devote to it.
This pair is a true motivation and role model for all of us. We should all aspire to have a relationship as beautiful as theirs!