"I believe in my marriage, but I don't believe in marriage as an institution," Marlo Thomas said.
Marlo Thomas turned 85 on November 21, Monday. The actress who never wanted to be married has now been married to Phil Donahue for over 42 years. According to reports, the actress spent the special day with her husband.
The two first met in 1977 when Thomas was a guest on Donahue's show. They later described the meeting as "love at first sight." They got married in 1980 and Thomas became stepmother to Donhue's five children from his previous relationship, according to PEOPLE.
Even after being married for decades, Thomas said in 2013, "I never wanted to be married. To this day I'm not sure I believe in marriage. I believe in my marriage, but I don't believe in marriage as an institution. I'm not sure it isn't rigged against the woman."
Marrying Donahue wasn't an easy decision for Thomas. "It was a very big thing for me to see that marriage could be a roomy enough place for my dream and his dream. I had to meet the right kind of man, and the world had to change a lot and I had to change a lot," said Thomas, according to Cape Cod Times.
But despite all confusions and concerns regarding marriage, Thomas and Donahue are two people who are happily married together for over four decades. For the actress, “being away from Phil is ‘awful’ and feels that a union of ‘two whole people, not one and a half’ might work,” PEOPLE reported. Thomas also adores his children. She had once said, “I really like his kids. It’s a real treat to be around them.”
In 2020, the couple wrote a book, called What Makes A Marriage Last: 40 Celebrated Couples Share With Us The Secrets to a Happy Life. Talking about the book, they said, “We started to wonder if there really is a secret sauce to a successful marriage. And that’s when we decided to break an ironclad rule of our marriage – for the first time, ever – and decided to work on a project together. As different as these couples’ stories are, they share a common plotline: that of two people joining hands and stepping up to the most challenging, invigorating, inspiring, infuriating, thrilling, terrifying, delightful, and heavenly job on earth — making a marriage last.”
When asked what is the secret to their marriage, they said communication. Thomas said, “Through the years you learn that everything is not that big a deal, and this isn’t going to break us up no matter what, so you get used to saying, Ok, let’s just talk it out."
Donahue joked, “The secret of good communication? Screaming helps. At least then you know if whether the person you’re screaming at is listening. Then go in the other room and count to ten." He added, “A little humor certainly in a marriage goes a long way.”
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | (L) Noam Galai; (R) Kevin Winter