Mike Farrell Nursed Wife Shelley Fabares to Life and Was Her Full-Time Caregiver | “He Has Become My Safe Harbor”

Mike Farrell Nursed Wife Shelley Fabares to Life and Was Her Full-Time Caregiver | “He Has Become My Safe Harbor”

Shelley had to undergo a liver transplant after she experienced sudden and severe bleeding in her esophagus.

Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Kevin Winter

Mike Farrell is best known for his role as Captain B.B. Hunnicutt in the hit sitcom M*A*S*H. He had been married to his then-co-star, Judy Farell, who played Nurse Able in the same television series.


However, the two split after 20 years of togetherness, and Mike fell in love with Shelley Fabares. Since then the couple has managed to handle all the curveballs that life has thrown at them.

Mike Farell met Shelley in 1970 on the sets of The Intern where she had a guest appearance. However, the two stepped into a romantic relationship only after 12 years when they reunited at the CBS affiliates convention, per PEOPLE.




After their reunion, they went for coffee following which Mike invited Shelley to an exhibit of his own photography and film in Central America.  

The two dated for a year before Mike decided to pop the question following which they walked down the aisle in 1984.

The blending of the two families with two children from his previous marriage was not easy, "The divorce was very hard on the kids. It took a lot of love, patience, courage, and strength, but now they have two solid homes, which is what we all wanted," Shelley said.


Image Credits : Getty Images | Frazer Harrison
Image Credits: Getty Images | Frazer Harrison


Not very long after, Shelley lost her co-star Donna Reed to pancreatic cancer in 1986 simultaneously her mother was also diagnosed with Alzheimer's at the time which really took a toll on her.

"I just stayed at the hospital for months, and never, ever did Mike question that. He was always easing my mind. He ran everything for me. He has become my safe harbor. To have his strength when everything else is out of control, that’s the unbelievable gift he has given," she told PEOPLE. 


Getty Images | 	Frazer Harrison
Getty Images | Frazer Harrison


After having a happy few years together, Shelley one day fell through the floor joists when her home was under construction. As a result of the fall, she broke every rib on the left side of her body. After an early evaluation, her liver counts were way off the charts but she was treated with medication, according to MedicineNet. In early 1999, things became worse when she experienced sudden and severe bleeding in her esophagus and needed a liver transplant. However, it's easier said than done and she went on to live on a few more years of medication. When her condition started deteriorating Mike became his wife's full-time caregiver and nursed her back to a better life. Now, 23 years later, following a successful liver transplant, she is healthy and happy, to say the least, as per News Sentinel.  

"I'm so incredibly blessed by the man I am married to. I was so very ill for such a long time, and we didn't know what was wrong, but he was with me every step of the way," Shelley said of her loving husband, Mike.






Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Kevin Winter