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HomeStoriesAn exploration of the romance between Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue

An exploration of the romance between Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue

The book about getting married was written by Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas. In their recently published book, What Makes a Marriage Last: 40 Celebrated Couples Share Their Secrets, the long-married couple discusses their ideas and feelings about their marriage.

Marlo, who has been married to Phil for nearly 40 years, makes the most startling admission when she admits that she didn’t want anything to do with marriage when she was younger…

“Marriage is like a vacuum cleaner: you attach it to your ear, and it sucks away all your energy and ambition,” the star said in her book, revealing her previously gloomy view of the institution.

On many instances, Thomas expresses her displeasure, equating marriage to living with a tyrant whom one is compelled to please. That was before to her meeting with Donahue.

Following the collapse of Phil’s previous marriage, Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue met. They now have a bond that has lasted their whole lives together.

Donahue, initially titled “The Phil Donahue Show,” was the name of the show that first introduced Phil Donahue to the public’s notice and helped drive him to fame. The performance was the first of its type to include audience participation. And it lasted a total of 29 years. And there was one particular guest on his show named Marlo Thomas who dramatically impacted the path of his life.

The duo initially met in Chicago in 1977, according to the book, and Phil was joined by four of his sons. It was his sixth child, a daughter who resided in another state with his ex-wife and her mother.

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

It’s no wonder that Marlo’s close friends and family were caught aback by her sudden change of heart. In the couple’s book, there’s a wonderful tale about Marlo’s wedding shower guests putting up quotes from the soon-to-be bride expressing her past beliefs on marriage.

According to the novel, Marlo’s mother was astounded as anybody else and questioned Donahue, “How did you convince her to do this?” Several times at the couple’s wedding.

According to reports, even total strangers have expressed shock, among other emotions, in response to the celebrity and social activist’s choice to marry. While Phil was in the lavatory, a passenger on the airplane to Greece for the couple’s honeymoon expressed her displeasure to Marlo. The passenger was clearly upset that Marlo had abandoned her earlier streak of independence.

Thomas is candid in the book, admitting that the encounter in issue sowed the first seed of suspicion in his mind. Was she a hypocrite now that she was married, since she had spent so much of her life against marriage? Had she let down her followers who looked up to her as the embodiment of independence?


Donahue and Thomas have managed to keep their marriage together despite the recurrent highs and lows they discuss in the book in the context of their long marriage. They see these hurdles as chances for growth and bonding that have brought them closer together.

Even early in their marriage, the pair would take time apart so that Phil could record his program in Chicago and Marlo could continue her acting career in other places.

Thomas’ aunt stated that the couple’s marriage was invalid because they did not actually live together. This enabled Thomas to see that different people had varied definitions of what makes a marriage.

Despite the distance separating them, Thomas and Donahue were able to make their marriage work. When Marlo married, the most significant thing that occurred to her was that she had children.

In a 2012 interview with AARP, Thomas reminisced on what it was like to help raise Phil’s children, explaining that she realized they already had a conventional mother and that she would not be playing that position. Thomas stated that she entered the situation knowing she would not be the primary caretaker for Phil’s children.

Marlo Thomas’ companion had never been married before his first marriage, which resulted in five children and church hostility.

Instead, Marlo claims that she became more of a friend to Phil’s children in order to model her own mother’s parenting style after Phil’s. She insists that her connection with them is far stronger today than it was when they first married, which she emphasizes frequently.

Throughout the book, Donahue emphasizes that Thomas did, in fact, spend as much time as she could getting to know his sons via discourse, trying to understand the boys. Thomas did something similar.


Phil and Marlo believe that their marriage’s endurance is owed in great part to their faith in one another. This notion is unrelated to her tight relationship with his children. “You acquire trust when you know that this person always has your back,” Marlo elaborates, capturing the heart of what it means to trust someone.

Marlo Thomas’ husband had never been married before his first marriage, which resulted in five children and church animosity.

Even after over 40 years of marriage, they still have tales and experiences to share.

Phil goes on to argue that in order for a marriage to succeed, both spouses must want the relationship to last. Marlo agrees with him, and she says that when she thinks about it now, she would never, ever want her life to be anything other than wedded to her spouse. Donohue, she alleges, has assisted her in “every way conceivable” throughout the process.

Marriage is a very charming tie, and it becomes much more so when two people commit to it to the maximum degree imaginable.

This duo is an excellent source of inspiration and a role model for all of us. We should all strive for the same thing: a relationship as successful as theirs!

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