Beloved by all, White has always been open about her personal life and especially this regret of her life.
Betty White has always been iconic for her audiences and even at 99, she had managed to stay relevant. But her relationship with Allen Ludden - for 18 years - made her feel the proudest. She had been in two marriages before this one, the first in 1945 and the second one in 1947. There is the fear that after two failed marriages it would be hasty to jump into another one even if it was the best thing for her. Women are often made the object of criticism, especially when it comes to their dating habits (check Taylor Swift). The future couple met at a game show in 1961 called Password where White appeared as a guest and Allenn Ludden was the game show host. Even though the two were quite taken with each other, White was hesitant to remarry.
They were extremely good together, and White has shared many times how nice he was. “He was enthusiastic about everything. He was intellectually wonderful. He was silly. He was romantic. He knew how to court a lady,” she noted. At 39, with two unsuccessful marriages, White felt like a failure, according to The Daily Beast. The actress kept saying no for a year, but Ludden decided to not give up, he kept trying (a move that would not fly at all now).
"I kept saying no for a year," White recalled, according to HuffPost, "Finally, Easter came along. He sent me a white stuffed bunny with diamond earrings clipped to its ears and a card that said, 'Please Say Yes?' So when I answered the phone that night, I didn’t say hello, I just said, 'Yes.'" On June 14, 1963, the couple got married and were married for 18 long years before Ludden succumbed to stomach cancer. “I had 18 wonderful years with Allen Ludden," she remarked. Also saying, “The first two were . . . rehearsals."
"Even long after we were married, he’d call me up during the day and ask me out on a date. He’d barbecue a chicken. We’d have a glass of wine, put on a stack of records, and dance. Now, that’s silly for an old married couple—and a far cry from my first marriage, in terms of chickens—but it worked," she told The Daily Beast. However, remember that year when Ludden kept trying and White kept saying no? Well, she regretted that the most. "I spent a whole year, wasted a whole year that Allen and I could have had together, saying, 'No, I wouldn't marry him. No, I won't. No, I won't leave California. No, I won't move to New York,'" she told Winfrey, on Oprah. "I wasted a whole year we could have had together." She added, “But we made it. We finally did."
Speaking of her previous marriages, she has expressed how they were her “favorite mistake.” She notes, “I’ve had two bad marriages, and I don’t like to think of them as good mistakes. They were traumatizing to go through. You really feel like a failure when your marriage doesn’t work. But they did make me appreciate it when the perfect one came along.” She also notes, “Because of the two divorces, I felt like such a failure. I have a tendency to take everything as my fault, and I kept kicking myself for agreeing to marry them.”
But with her marriage to Allen Ludden, she finally found the true meaning of love and marriage.
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Joe Scarnici