Marlo Thomas Confesses Her Love for Phil Donahue

Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue actually wrote the marital handbook.

The long-married couple’s book, What Makes a Marriage Last: Insider Stories, contains personal facts about their marriage. Forty Well-Known Couples Share Their Secrets with Us.

The most fascinating revelation made by Marlo is that, even though she and Phil have been married for over 40 years, she never really wanted to get married.


The famous person expressed in the book her previously negative opinion of the institution, saying that marriage is like a vacuum cleaner that sucks away all of your ambition and vitality when you stick it to your ear.


Thomas frequently shares her opinions, likening marriage to having to placate a prisoner. That is, until she met Donahue.

Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas met following the dissolution of their first marriage, and they have remained lifelong friends ever since.

The Phil Donahue Show, which was eventually renamed as simply “Donahue,” was the vehicle through which Phil Donahue first gained popular recognition. For the first time, audience members participated in the program, which ran for 29 years. One of the visitors on his show who radically changed his life’s trajectory was Marlo Thomas.

The book claims that the two met in 1977 in Chicago, when Phil was bringing four children with him. His fifth child, a daughter, lived somewhere else with her mother and ex-wife.

Marlo and Phil dated for three years before being married in 1980 in front of a small wedding party of thirty-five guests.


Not surprise, Marlo’s friends and family were taken aback by the actress’s sudden change of heart. A hilarious story of Marlo’s bridal shower, where visitors hung notes from the soon-to-be bride that disclosed her past views on marriage, is featured in the couple’s book.


The book claims that Marlo’s mother was the most shocked of all, asking Donahue, “How did you get her to do this?” throughout the nuptials of the pair.

Reportedly, among other emotions, even total strangers voiced shock at the well-known social activist’s decision to get married. While Phil was in the lavatory, a passenger on the airplane the couple took to Greece for their honeymoon expressed displeasure to Marlo, presumably disappointed that she had given up her old independent streak.

In the book, Thomas is honest enough to acknowledge that something was unclear when they spoke. After all her life condemning marriage, was she suddenly a hypocrite for getting married? Had she let those down who held her in high regard as the embodiment of self-reliance?

Even though Donahue and Thomas discuss the usual ups and downs of their long marriage in the book, they manage to make their marriage work to this day. They describe these problems as teaching moments that deepened their relationship.

The couple had been apart from the beginning of their marriage, with Phil traveling to Chicago to tape his show and Marlo traveling to pursue her acting career.

Thomas had a greater understanding of how different individuals define marriage when his aunt said that the couple’s union was void because they weren’t living together exclusively. In spite of their separation, Thomas and Donahue were able to keep their marriage together. Significantly, Marlo’s marriage resulted in her having children.

In a 2012 interview with AARP, Thomas reflected on her experience helping Phil raise his kids, stating she went into it knowing that they already had a traditional mother and that would not be her role.


Rather, Marlo claims that she began to treat Phil’s children more like friends in an effort to mimic the parenting style of her own mother. She continues by saying that she feels more connected to them today than she did at the start of their marriage.

Donahue points out that Thomas really did strive to understand the lads in the book and spent as much time as she could getting to know his sons.

Phil and Marlo believe that their long marriage is a result of her strong bond with his kids and their mutual faith in each other. “You build trust when you realize that this person always has your back,” says Marlo in clarification.

Despite being married for more than 40 years, they still have more memories to make.

Phil goes on to argue that a marriage has to be desired by both parties in order for it to last. Marlo says she would never want to be anything other than married to her lover, echoing his sentiments. She claims that Donahue has assisted her “in every manner possible.”


When two people truly commit to one another, marriage is an incredibly lovely union that is made much more beautiful.

These two have a lot to teach and inspire us all. As satisfying as their relationship is, we should all strive to be in one!

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