The longest-married couple in the history of Hollywood, William Daniels and Bonnie Bartlett, have been together for more than seventy years. On June 30, 2021, the doomed couple celebrated the milestone of their 70th wedding anniversary.
Bartlett conceded that their partnership could not have withstood the difficulties that they had in the first ten years of their marriage, despite the fact that they were able to weather the storms that came their way.
The legendary actress revealed that it took some time for her and her husband “to get to a true companionship marriage,” and she attributed this to the fact that we still live in a very puritanical society. “You have to recognize that we live in a pretty puritanical nation still,” she remarked.
Bartlett and Daniels are well-known for their roles as television stars, in addition to the fact that they have been married for a very long period. On the medical drama series “St. Elsewhere,” which aired in the 1980s and lasted from 1982 to 1988, the two actors played off of one other as Dr. Mark and Ellen Craig, respectively.
In the 1990s comedy “Boy Meets World,” they both had guest appearances as love interests, playing the roles of George Feeny and Lila Bolander-turned-Feeny, respectively.
Bartlett, who was born and raised in Wisconsin, has an extensive acting career that spans the last seven decades and includes roles in television, cinema, and on stage. She is best known for her role as Laura Ingalls in the classic Western drama series “Little House on the Prairie,” which aired from 1974 to 1983 over the course of nine seasons.
She is most known for her roles as the long-lost mother of Danny DeVito and Arnold Schwarzenegger in the critically acclaimed film “Twins,” as well as the mother of Tim Allen in the critically acclaimed comedy “Home Improvement” from the 1990s.
Even though she’s in her nineties, the actress who has won two Emmys is still active in the industry. Her most recent role is in the television series “Better Call Saul,” which has garnered positive reviews from critics.
In addition to making appearances on television, Ms. Bartlett has also published a book titled “Middle of the Rainbow” in which she discusses her lengthy acting career as well as the love story that inspired it.
Bartlett and Daniels Have Been Together Since College
While they were both attending Northwestern University for their acting studies, Bartlett met the man who would become her adored hubby, Daniels. Daniels said in December 2020 that he had a clear recollection of the couple’s first encounter with one another.
The two of them were acquainted in a class that was putting on a play, and he described how other kids tried out for the role. During that time, he overheard someone talking in the rear, and the specific person who was talking drew his interest.
The actor recalled turning around to see who it was and catching his first sight of “this wonderful blonde.” He was referring to Bartlett, his future wife, who was 18 years old at the time and who rejected him later on:
“I waited for her at the entrance of the classroom till she came by,” she told me as we parted ways. And I suggested that we have a cup of coffee together. And then she said, “You’re not tall enough.” I invited them to “Come on, take a cup of coffee,” and they did. “It’s OK,” she said.
After some time had passed, Daniels found out that Bartlett had already developed an interest in him before the two of them had their first meeting. She learned that he was working on Broadway and then stealthily followed him about campus without him being aware of it.
This was something that she revealed during an interview that she did along with her spouse. The actress from “Love Letters” said that she was not trying to be a “stalker” and disclosed that she had never believed the New Yorker would develop feelings for her:
“True, I didn’t want to [be] a stalker. I had no intention of disrupting his life in any way, nor did I believe for one second that he would have any interest in me. Consequently, when I told her, “You’re too short,” my first instinct was, “Oh no, we’re incorrect.” You don’t want me.'”
In spite of her incorrect assumption, Bartlett and Daniels were married the following year in 1951. Later in his career, Daniels became a star in many successful films, such as “The Graduate,” “The Blue Lagoon,” and “1776.”
Daniels is most recognized for his one-of-a-kind performance as “K.I.T.T.” on the television series “Knight Rider,” which aired between the years 1982 and 1986.
On the other hand, his performance as Mr. Feeny in the hit television series “Boy Meets World” (which ran from 1993 to 2000) is widely considered to be one of the most memorable parts of his acting career.
In addition, he and his wife, who has revealed that Daniels was her “first boyfriend,” have remained together throughout his lengthy career in spite of the difficulties they have faced as a married couple. Daniels was his wife’s “first boyfriend.”
Bartlett said in her interview that she and the two-time Emmy Award winner struggled through challenging patches in their marriage. Despite this, she is grateful that they went through it.
“Despite all that we went through together, we still loved one other very deeply and had done so from the beginning.” According to what Bartlett had to say, “[We] have always been there for each other.”
The famous television personality was quoted as saying that the most important thing in a relationship was to stick together and support one another through difficult times. Bartlett went on to say that lovers need to demonstrate support for their relationships and “respect” for what it is that their partners do, and that ultimately, they need to be a unified front.
In the Course of Their Marriage, the Couple Faced Many Challenges Together.
In her book, Bartlett details the difficulties she and Daniels had as newlyweds, including the fact that both of them had extramarital relationships while they were married:
“Neither Bill nor I ever had the feeling of being bound by faithfulness,”
In 1959, Bartlett acknowledged that he had “an affair that lasted a few months” with a co-worker who was also an actress. Nevertheless, she said that Daniels’ romance with a producer in the early 1970s devastated her. She said that it occurred around that time.
She gained fresh insight into the unstable nature of their relationship as a result of that unpleasant encounter. She had reached that point in her life when she declared that she “could no longer accept any form of open marriage.”
Bartlett noted that the couple’s marriage might have easily come to an end “at any moment throughout those first 10 years” if one of them had found themselves romantically interested in other people. To our great good fortune, it never got that far:
“That was never even a consideration. Both of us wanted to be together. The affection has continued unabatedly throughout.”
In spite of the fact that the couple found themselves at a fork in the road, Bartlett noted that eventually, she and Daniels were able to save their marriage by relocating to Hollywood:
It was a different story after we arrived to Hollywood and were living here like a regular family and enjoying weekends at home with our kids and doing things. Hollywood was the savior of our marriage because once we did that, things began to change for the better in our relationship. Nobody wanted anything more than that.”
In 1961, Daniels and Bartlett welcomed their first child, a boy named William Daniels Jr., into the world after enduring an extremely trying period over the previous ten years. Sadly, the infant perished 24 hours after his birth.
Later on, in 1964, Bartlett and Daniels adopted their second child, son Michael. Two years later, in 1966, they adopted their third and last child, Robert.
When touching on the couple’s huge relocation to Tinseltown, Bartlett claimed Daniels pushed her to relocate when she was hesitant to do so. “It was a really difficult period of time. “I’d lost my niece,” she told People in January 2021 after the tragedy had occurred.
In addition, according to Bartlett, Daniels began drinking much more during that time period, and he even continued drinking after work. She was frequently worried he would make it back home, but he always did, to her amazement – but he did not do away with his drinking habit.
According to Bartlett, Daniels developed an unhealthy preoccupation with celebrity, and Bartlett quotes him as stating, “He was into the whole I’m a star type of thing.” You should know that he became involved in it.
At that time, Bartlett came clean and said that she had entertained the idea of ending her relationship with Daniels because she did not want any role in his addiction. At the same time, she had mixed emotions towards the prospect of taking their children away from him.
During that time, Daniels was working in Los Angeles, so Bartlett was left in New York to take care of their children by themselves. Daniels was away for three months. When Daniels thought about moving his family to a new location, he remembered that his parents assisted him in looking for a new home.
During that time period, performers could be recruited regardless of their location because, as Daniels noted, the production firms “transported you out here to do the play and back.”
The terrible death of his wife’s niece occurred while they were exploring their house. “[..] I loved her. “She was like a daughter to me,” the mother of three conveyed her feelings about the former relationship.
Both parties got together in Illinois for the burial, which is when Daniels broke the news that he and his wife had located a suitable home for the family in Los Angeles. However, he played it down and informed Bartlett that they would just be staying at the domicile for the summer and that after that they will return to their apartment in the Big Apple.
After that, the doting father introduced the mother of his children to his agents, and his agency took use of the chance to send Bartlett to casting calls, where she was ultimately successful in all of them.
This worked to Daniel’s advantage since the more acting jobs she landed, the more she started to understand his vision for the roles she was playing. Bartlett made up his mind to remain in the end.
She informed her husband that she would think about the relocation again, but that she and the couple’s kids would continue to live in New York for the foreseeable future, with the intention of returning to look at the home at a later date.
During the summer, Bartlett took the children on a trip to Los Angeles, where she and the boys had a wonderful time. In addition, she made the decision to remain in Hollywood since the increasing number of acting chances she was being presented with was keeping her very busy.
Bartlett was able to secure a job on “Little House on the Prairie” just after the family of four made the choice to migrate. This was fortunate timing for Bartlett.
In addition, the relocation turned out to be very beneficial for the couple’s marriage. After she admitted that she had despised him for a number of months, Bartlett and Daniels began to get back in touch with one another:
“[..] I was able to get in touch with him once again. It took some time – maybe one year of detesting him – before I could say it.
Regarding the admission, Daniels told his wife, “I wasn’t aware of that,” while Bartlett said, “Well, you were, but you weren’t.” Daniels’ response was “I wasn’t aware of that.”
They have been together for seventy-two years and are now happily married.
The couple still resides in their southern California house that Daniels purchased for the family decades ago. Their older sons, Michael and Robert, typically visit them and their numerous grandchildren and relatives.
Both Bartlett and Daniels have, up until this point, been successful in leading very discreet lives. The family matriarch praises the duo’s reticence to accept random Hollywood invitations throughout the years, save for those she regarded “extremely close, intimate friends.”
Bartlett said that she and her husband are living the married life to the fullest at their house, where they keep themselves occupied with their usual activities. The most crucial thing is that they have pleasure in one another’s company:
“This makes us extremely delighted. We do out our activities while seated in this home. He spends much of his time appearing in cameos and reading his New York Times. And we participate in other events such as conferences.”
Once, Daniels discussed their relationship in an open and honest manner. He stated that relationship is “based on mutual respect,” as well as the fact that “I believe she is brighter than me, a better actress than me, and so I just hang on, [..], and try to get along.”
The comment was met with laughter by Daniels’s wife, who insisted that he did not mean what he said. After then, he stated that he had “made it up.” In addition, Bartlett said that her adoring hubby is the source of daily happiness in their house, and she described the qualities that she admires most in the seasoned actress:
“He is the source of my humor. [..]” Because I am such an intense person, I really benefit from his sense of humor and his capacity to find something humorous on a daily basis.
The actress known for her role in “Where Are My Children?” lauded the award-winning actor for his abilities as a father: “He is an outstanding parent.”
Bartlett said that she was “extremely pleased” that she was able to remain with the guy who was the father of her children despite the ups and downs that their relationship had experienced over the years:
“…we have been married for such a long time, and at this point, I am completely, I mean, we utterly respect and cherish one another. We never spend any time apart from one another.”
In October of 2018, the couple was put to the test once more when there was an attempt made to break into their home. Officers of the law discovered that the couple had been at their house in the San Fernando Valley late in the evening when an intruder attempted to enter the residence via the rear door.
In retaliation, the father of the family activated the lighting system, which caused the intruder to flee the premises. Willie Friedle, who also stars in “Boy Meets World,” tweeted the following in reaction to Daniels’ fast thinking, which led to the successful prevention of a burglary:
There were prior stories in the media of thefts in the Hollywood duo’s area, with the robbers targeting famous people.
However, law enforcement officials concluded there was no pattern to the attempted burglary. As a result of this, Daniels, who is 95 years old, and Bartlett, who is 93 years old, increased the protection of their house three days later by installing a new security system.