An exploration of the romance between Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue

Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas wrote the book on getting married. The long-married pair shares their thoughts and feelings regarding their marriage in their recently published book, What Makes a Marriage Last: 40 Celebrated Couples Share with Us the Secrets.

Marlo, who has been married to Phil for over 40 years, makes the most surprising revelation when she says that when she was younger, she didn’t want anything to do with marriage…

“Marriage is like a vacuum cleaner: you stick it to your ear, and it sucks out all your energy and ambition,” the celebrity said in her book, expressing the pessimistic perspective she had previously held on the institution of marriage.

Thomas makes it abundantly evident that she is upset on multiple occasions, comparing marriage to living with a dictator whom one is obligated to please. That is before she became acquainted with Donahue.

Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue both found one other following the dissolution of Phil’s previous marriage. Today, they share a connection that has endured for their lives together.

Donahue, originally titled “The Phil Donahue Show,” was the name of the program that brought Phil Donahue to the attention of the general public and helped propel him to prominence. The performance was the first of its kind to incorporate involvement from the audience. And ran for a total of 29 years. And there was one guest on his show named Marlo Thomas who fundamentally altered the course his life would take.

According to the book, the pair first met in Chicago in 1977, and Phil was accompanied by four of his sons. It was a daughter, his sixth kid, who lived with his ex-wife and her mother in another location.

Marlo and Phil dated for three years before marrying in 1980 in front of only 35 close friends and family members.

It should be no surprise that Marlo’s close friends and family were taken aback by the actress’s about-face. In the book written by the couple, there is a hilarious story about Marlo’s friends at her bridal shower hanging up statements from the soon-to-be bride that expressed her prior opinions on marriage.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Marlo Thomas (@marlothomas)

The novel states that Marlo’s mother was more startled than anybody else and asked Donahue, “How did you convince her to do this?” several times throughout the couple’s wedding.

Reportedly, even complete strangers have expressed disbelief, among other feelings, in response to the celebrity and social activist’s decision to settle down. A passenger on the flight to Greece for the couple’s honeymoon voiced her dismay to Marlo while Phil was in the restroom. The passenger was visibly troubled that Marlo had given up her previous streak of independence.

In the book, Thomas is forthright and admits that the contact in question planted the first seed of doubt in his mind. Was she a hypocrite now that she was married, considering she had spent a significant portion of her life voicing opposition to marriage? Had she disappointed the followers who looked up to her as the epitome of independence?

Despite the regular highs and lows they talk about in the book in the context of their long marriage, Donahue and Thomas have managed to keep their marriage together up until now. They view these challenges as opportunities for growth and bonding that helped them become closer to one another.

Even in the early stages of their marriage, the couple would occasionally spend time apart so that Phil could record his show in Chicago and Marlo could pursue her acting career in other cities.

Thomas’ aunt pointed out that the couple’s marriage was not a marriage because the pair did not truly live together. This allowed Thomas to recognize that various people have different ideas of what constitutes a marriage.

Thomas and Donahue were able to make their marriage work despite the distance between them. The most important thing that happened to Marlo was that she got children when she married.


View this post on Instagram


A post shared by Marlo Thomas (@marlothomas)

In an interview with AARP in 2012, Thomas reflected on what it was like to help raise Phil’s children and explained that she understood that they already had a traditional mother and that that would not be her role. Thomas said that she went into it understanding that she would not be the primary caregiver for Phil’s children.

Before his first marriage, which resulted in five children and resentment at church, Marlo Thomas’ partner had never been married.

Instead, Marlo states that she became more of a friend to Phil’s children so that she might model her own mother’s approach to parenting after that of Phil’s. She maintains that her relationship with them is much stronger now than it was when they first got married, which is something that she says a lot.

Donahue highlights throughout the book that Thomas did, in fact, spend as much time as she could getting to know his sons through dialogue, striving to comprehend the boys. This is something that Thomas did.

Phil and Marlo think that the longevity of their marriage is due, in large part, to the trust they have in one another. This belief is independent of the close bond she has with his children. Marlo elaborates, “You gain trust when you know that this person always has your back,” which sums up the essence of what it means to trust someone.

Before his first marriage, which resulted in five children and resentment at church, Marlo Thomas’ spouse had never been married.

Even though they have been married for nearly 40 years, they still have more stories and memories to tell.

Phil continues by saying that for a marriage to be successful, both partners need to have the desire for the relationship to continue. Marlo agrees with him, and she says that, when she thinks about it now, she never, ever would have wanted her life to be any other way than being married to her partner. She claims that Donohue has helped her in “every manner possible” during the process.

Marriage is a wonderfully lovely bond, and it is made even more so when two individuals commit to it truly to the fullest extent possible.

This couple is a wonderful motivation and model for all of us to follow. We should all have the same goal of having a relationship that is as successful as theirs!


Leave a comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *