In the 99 years of her life, the best thing that happened to her was the marriage to her husband of 18 years, Allen Ludden, a game show host.
American actress, comedian, and animal lover, Betty White died of a stroke last year in December in her Los Angeles home, early on New Year's Eve, as per CNN. With a television career spanning almost seven decades, she was one of the first few women to work in front of and behind the camera successfully.
In the 99 years of her life, White shared in her interviews, that the best thing that happened to her in her personal life was her marriage to her husband of 18 years, Allen Ludden, a game show host. In 1945, she first got married to U.S. army pilot Dick Barker. After the couple separated, she got hitched to Hollywood agent Lane Allen in 1947 but went on to get divorced in 1949. In a way, taking a step back from her second marriage was a good decision, not only because it led her to her real love, but also because being with him could have kept her from advancing in her career, reported Country Living.
In 1961, White, then 39, met Ludden, a widower and father of three, when she appeared as a contestant on his popular game show, Password. White was "going steady" with someone else at the time and didn't really see a future for herself in New York, where Allen filmed his show, but nevertheless, the two quickly fell in love. Despite the fact that White refused his proposal twice since she felt like a "failure" after her two marriages, Ludden persisted, even wearing the engagement ring on a chain around his neck until she finally agreed to marry him.
The two were married in 1963. "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.'"
"The first two were... rehearsals," the 99-year-old actress used to joke of her two short-lived marriages which lasted less than three years combined. White would go on to enjoy "18 wonderful years" with Ludden, to whom she was married until his death in 1981 due to stomach cancer. Those years turned out to be the best years of her life.
"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 Newsweek, as per The Daily Beast.
The late legend reportedly expressed that her favorite mistakes were her two divorces. She further revealed how she felt about her third marriage in interviews with the Daily Mail and on the Oprah Winfrey Show. "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.' I wasted a whole year we could have had together." She added, "But we made it. We finally did. Once you've had the best, who needs the rest?"
Cover Image Source: Getty Images/ Bryan Bedder / Staff