Inside the love story of Marlo Thomas & Phil Donahue

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Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas authored a book about marriage. In their novel, What Makes a Marriage Last: 40 Celebrated Couples Reveal the Secrets, the couple who has been married for a long time shares insights about their relationship.

Marlo, who has been married to Phil for more than 40 years, surprisingly admits that she never had any interest in marriage while growing up.

In the book, the celebrity shared her earlier negative view on marriage: “Marriage is similar to a vacuum cleaner. You attach it to your ear, and it drains away all your energy and ambition.”

Thomas compares marriage to being with a strict person who needs to be satisfied, expressing her emotions openly. This changed when she encountered Donahue.

Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue met after Phil’s first marriage ended, and they have built a strong bond that has stood the test of time.

Phil Donahue became famous through his television show, “The Phil Donahue Show,” which was later renamed “Donahue.” The show lasted for 29 years and was groundbreaking for its inclusion of audience participation. However, it was one particular guest, Marlo Thomas, who had a profound impact on Donahue’s life.

According to the book, the couple encountered each other in Chicago in 1977. Phil arrived with four sons accompanying him. His fifth child, a daughter, resided with his ex-wife and her mother in a different location.

Marlo and Phil got married in 1980 after dating for three years, in a small ceremony with 35 guests.

Marlo’s loved ones were surprised by the actress’s sudden change of heart. The couple’s book tells a funny story about friends at Marlo’s bridal shower putting up quotes from her past that showed her old opinions on marriage.

Marlo’s mother expressed her astonishment in the novel, repeatedly asking Donahue, “How did you manage to convince her to do this?” during their wedding.

Strangers were surprised by the star and social activist’s choice to get married. On the plane to Greece for their honeymoon, a woman expressed her disapproval to Marlo while Phil was in the bathroom.

Thomas, in the book, openly admits that he had a moment of doubt during this interaction. He wonders if he is being hypocritical by getting married after spending so much time criticizing marriage. He worries that he may have disappointed fans who saw him as a symbol of independence.

Donahue and Thomas have managed to keep their marriage strong over the years, despite the usual challenges they discuss in their book about their long relationship. They see these obstacles as opportunities to grow closer.

From the beginning of their marriage, the couple spent time away from each other. Phil went to Chicago to tape his show, while Marlo traveled for her acting career.

Thomas learned from his aunt that marriage can be defined differently by different people, especially if the couple is not living together.

Thomas and Donahue managed to maintain their marriage despite being far apart. Marlo not only gained a husband but also children.

During a 2012 conversation with AARP, Thomas discussed her experience assisting in raising Phil’s children. She mentioned that she knew they already had a mother figure, so she didn’t try to take on that role.

Marlo, on the other hand, clarifies that she took on a friendlier role with Phil’s children to emulate her own mother’s parenting style. She further adds that her bond with them has grown stronger over time, surpassing the initial stage of their marriage.

In the book, Donahue highlights Thomas’ efforts to spend quality time with his sons, engaging in conversations and trying to understand them as much as possible.

Phil and Marlo credit their enduring marriage to the trust they have in each other, which they believe stems from their unwavering support for one another. Marlo emphasizes, “Trust grows when you know your partner always supports you.”

Despite being married for over 40 years, they still have many more memories to create together.

Phil states that for a marriage to endure, both individuals must genuinely desire it. Marlo agrees with him and expresses that, upon reflection, she wouldn’t have chosen any other path than being married to her partner. She further elaborates that Donohue has provided unwavering support in every conceivable manner.

Marriage is a wonderful connection that becomes even more special when both partners are fully committed to each other.

They are a great inspiration for everyone. We should aspire to have a relationship as successful as theirs.

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