Marlo Thomas celebrated her birthday on November 21, 2022, turning 85 years old in the process. The celebrity celebrated their ten-year wedding anniversary with her long-term partner, Phil Donahue, whom she had been married to for the previous ten years.
When the actress from “That Girl” appeared as a guest on Marlo’s talk show in 1977, it was the first time they met. The event that brought them together was later referred to as “love at first sight,” and by 1980, the couple had tied the knot!
When Marlo tied the knot with the talk show presenter, she was 40 years old and it was her first marriage. On the other hand, Phil had been married previously and was already the father of five children, so his new wife took on the role of stepmother.
The actress reflected on the fact that Phil was a modern guy and a single parent when they first met in an article that was published in December of 1977. They were both Catholic, and their discussion ranged widely, touching on topics such as marriage, children, and divorce.
Danny told the female members of the audience that they had the opportunity to spend one hour with “two of the most handsome men in the world.” Marlo had no interest in the organization prior to their marriage, but her husband was able to convince her to join after the wedding.
How exactly did Phil Donahue convince Marlo Thomas that marriage was the right choice for her?
In an interview that aired on “Sunday Morning” in May of 2020, Marlo revealed that the conversation she had with Phil all those years ago wasn’t actually an interview at all. She was thinking back on one of the questions he had asked her, and she said:
“Then he turned to me and asked, “Why is it that you’ve never tied the knot?” I remarked, I just don’t believe it’s for me.”
The actress went on to elaborate further on her line of thought, saying, “It looks like it’s only a place for one-and-a-half folks, you know, the person who has the dream and the other person who supports the idea.” The interviewer from “Sunday Morning” was interested in finding out where Marlo got the idea from.
The actress’s mother, who once had a successful singing career but gave it up to settle down and marry the star of the “Danny Thomas Show,” is one example that the actress cited in her statement. It’s ironic that just a few weeks after appearing on Phil’s show, Marlo became a frequent visitor at the house in Winnetka, Illinois, where he brought up his four sons.
According to “Sunday Morning,” the fact that the star is unmarried and self-sufficient has become part of her brand. Marlo agreed and revealed that she had never intended to get married, just like her character in “That Girl,” who was more concerned with her career than a husband.
She went on to explain that she had made an effort to play a role that was unprecedented for television, that of a young woman who was not concerned with getting married but rather with figuring out who she could be in the world. Because the actress was a pioneer in the movement for women’s rights, it was natural for her to take this position.
Marlo admitted that even in the year 2020, she was not completely certain that she believed in marriage. On the other hand, she explained that although she believed in hers, she did not have the same feelings toward the institution of marriage because she was unsure whether or not it was “rigged against the woman.”
Therefore, discussing marriage with Phil on his show was a difficult topic for her to bring up. According to what the actress had to say about the experience, “It was a very big thing for me to see that marriage could be a roomy enough place for both of our dreams.”
She went on to elaborate, saying, “I had to meet the right kind of man, and the world had to change a lot, and I had to change a lot.” After giving their union a chance, the celebrity and her husband tied the knot in 2022, and by that time, she had become an excellent stepmother.
In spite of the fact that Marlo had never planned to get married, she once admitted that it was “awful” to be separated from her husband. She went on to explain that in her opinion, a union consisting of two whole people has a better chance of succeeding than one consisting of one and a half people.
In 1977, when the singer was asked about her feelings for her husband’s children, she stated that spending time with them was a “treat.” At the time, Phil’s daughter was still living in Illinois with his ex-wife. Marlo discussed the ways in which her ambitions and society stood in the way of her fulfilling her dream of being a mother.
As Marlo Thomas spent more time with her sons, she developed a “more mothering” attitude toward them, which manifested itself as increased concern and interest in their lives.
In spite of this, she believed that she still had a chance in 1997, despite the fact that she and Phil never had any children of their own. The celebrity grumbled at the time that no one asked males if they wanted to be the parents of doctors, and she believed that women’s options shouldn’t be so linear either because she desired to have everything.
In 2012, Phil’s wife shared a confession on her YouTube channel in which she stated that she had never imagined having a stepmother. Marlo remarked that when they were little girls, some girls dreamed of becoming brides, mothers, actresses, wives, or ice skaters, but stepmothers were never one of their aspirations.
She pointed out that no one wanted to be a stepmother because, in children’s stories, stepmothers are portrayed as evil characters. Therefore, she needed to figure out how to be polite and good, and she learned early on that she shouldn’t try to fulfill a role similar to that of a mother because it could cause them to resent her.
Instead, she became friends with the four boys, and once she learned more about them and they learned more about her, they were able to put their faith in her and include her in their life. As the actress spent more time with the boys, she developed a “more mothering” attitude toward them, as well as a deeper concern and interest in their lives.
In the year 2021, Marlo offered some guidance on how to ensure the longevity of a marriage. According to Phil’s wife, one of the requirements for a successful marriage is knowing that your partner has your back. She also stated that her union was the safest place for her to be and that the talk show host was her everything and life cushion.