Since she was just a young girl, it was clear that Marlo Thomas was destined for greatness. She was born on Nov. 21, 1937, in Detroit, Michigan, and raised in Beverly Hills, California. She is the eldest child of Rose Marie Cassaniti and comedian Danny Thomas and the eldest sister to Terre and producer Tony Thomas.
While she was given the name Margaret Julia at birth, her family typically called her Margo. After some time and some mispronunciation issues along the way, she became known as Marlo Thomas.Although Thomas initially went to school to become a teacher, she found a great passion for the arts, and it was clear that she had the talents to make her dreams come true.
Nowadays, Thomas is known for being an actress, producer, and author. She even uses her platform for the betterment of others and has become increasingly popular for her work as a social activist.
Thomas first skyrocketed to fame with the sitcom “That Girl,” which aired from 1966 to 1971. Afterward, she was on the children’s TV series “Free to Be… You and Me.” Since then, Thomas has received several awards and honors, and was even awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2015, and has continued to be a national outreach director for St. Jude’s Research Hospital, which was founded by her father.
Through it all, Thomas has still found time for a loving and successful relationship with her long-time husband, Phil Donahue. The couple celebrated their 42nd wedding anniversary in May 2022. Let’s take a look at their dedicated relationship.
Thomas has a long list of accomplishments to be proud of over the course of her long-lasting and increasingly successful career. On top of that, she has shown that she has a heart of gold and does her part to give back to others. Through it all, she has had the love and support of her husband by her side.
Donahue is a pioneer in the television industry. He is best known for being the creator and host of “The Phil Donahue Show” – also known as “Donahue” – which was the first talk show format that included audience participation. It has since inspired countless daytime TV talk shows of a similar format.
Thomas and Donahue first met in 1977 when Thomas was a guest on Donahue’s show. “I went on his show, and that was the end of story, as they say,” Thomas told ABC 7 in June 2021. The couple fell in love and married on May 21, 1980. Afterward, Thomas became a stepmother to Donahue’s five children from his first marriage.
“I’d never been married before, didn’t want to get married and here I was getting married to a man who had custody of his four sons,” Thomas explained. “His daughter lived with her mom (and) I moved in with four teenagers.”
However, it was clear that Thomas and Donahue had a beautiful connection and still do to this day as they continue to enjoy the ups and downs of married life. “This is the safest place I can be; he is going to be my everything – my cushion of life,” Thomas said.
With all the pressures that come with life in the public eye, it is easy to understand why many celebrity relationships never go the distance. However, Thomas and Donahue have been able to navigate the balance between life, love and fame, and their relationship is still blossoming after more than four decades together.
Thomas told the Huffington Post one of the key reasons her marriage has lasted so long is because she truly listens. She said that leaning in and listening to her husband has helped them develop greater intimacy, contributing to the overall health of their marriage. Donahue, too, credits having an open ear to their lasting love, telling Closer Weekly, “we’re in love, and we listen to each other, I just think it gets better.”
Thomas also cited Donahue’s support of her career as a reason why they have been married for so long. Rather than critique her work, Donahue prefers to enjoy it and be there to encourage her in all that she does on screen and on stage. Thomas has even jokingly referred to her husband as her “stage-door Johnny” to Today because of how much he supports her.
It is clear Thomas is her husband’s No. 1 fan, regularly posting pictures of them together on her Instagram. In a picturesque shot taken of the pair enjoying an oceanfront wedding anniversary dinner in 2016, Thomas had nothing but compliments to shower on her husband, writing:
“Look at that view — and I’m not just talking about Phil! What a gorgeous setting. We’re always happiest when we’re near the water — and each other!”
On Valentine’s Day in 2022, she posted a throwback picture of them at their wedding and captioned it “How lucky it is to find your lifetime Valentine.”
Back in March 2020, Thomas spoke with AARP about the secrets behind her successful marriage to Donahue. She explained that after hearing about some friends of theirs that were going through a divorce, she and Donahue were dedicated to really understanding what has made their marriage so wonderful.
“And that’s when we decided to break an ironclad rule of our marriage – for the first time ever – and work on a project together,” Thomas explained. “We’d write a book – one that pulled together the personal stories of many devoted couples – and uncover some of the mystery of marriage in a way that could be a source of information and inspiration for other couples, from newlyweds to long-married couples like us.”
The famous book in question is “What Makes A Marriage Last,” and it went on to become a New York Times Bestseller. Thomas explained how couples step up to “the most challenging, invigorating, inspiring, infuriating, thrilling, terrifying, delightful and heavenly job on earth” – making a marriage work and making a marriage last.
This wasn’t the only time the happy couple teamed up. They currently have a podcast called “Double Date,” where they interview celebrity couples about all aspects of their relationships, from the good times to the more trying times. According to Forbes, some of these famous couples have included Viola Davis and Julius Tennon, Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka, and Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos.
After more than 40 years together, we have no doubts Thomas and Donahue know all the secrets to everlasting love and we’re happy that they’re generous enough to share some of them with the world!
Are you inspired by Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue’s long-lasting marriage? What do you think about some of their secrets to an enduring love? Let us know, and feel free to send this to your loved ones, too.