Is Hallmark Star Marlo Thomas Still Married To TV Host Phil Donahue?

Marlo Thomas famously met her husband, Phil Donahue, when she appeared as a guest on his eponymous daytime talk show in 1977. It was a case of love at first sight for the couple, who ended up marrying in 1980 and sharing five kids (from Donahue's previous marriage) together. In a 2015 Facebook post, Thomas recalled meeting her husband on the set of his "Donahue" show all those years ago. "It was instant chemistry," she recalled. "He flirted, I giggled, and his TV audience watched us fall in love."

Despite her happy, decades-long marriage to the TV host, Thomas revealed that she had no intention of getting married prior to meeting Donahue in her early 40s. In 2013, she told Cape Cod Times, "I never wanted to be married. To this day I'm not sure I believe in marriage." Aside from her husband, the "That Girl" star was romantically linked to the late playwright Herb Gardner during the early days of her career. Meanwhile, Donahue was previously married to Margaret Cooney from 1958 to 1975. According to Thomas, taking the plunge and marrying Donahue wasn't an overnight decision. "It was a very big thing for me to see that marriage could be a roomy enough place for my dream and his dream. I had to meet the right kind of man, the world had to change a lot, and I had to change a lot," she said. But love is a risk worth taking, as they say. Nearly five decades since they said "I do," Thomas and Donahue are still going strong.

Marlo Thomas shared the secret to their successful marriage

Marlo Thomas has found her forever in husband Phil Donahue. Speaking with Yahoo! Life in January, the "Free To Be... You & Me" star said she considers her marriage to the talk show host an integral part of her life. She began by describing their relationship as "nutritious" to her — one that fills her soul and heart. "That constant communication and listening and talking and cooking together and being together ... all of that is part of the fabric of my life," she explained. "I think having a good companion — whether it's a spouse or not — is very nutritious. You can almost feel it like oxygen into your life."

After 43 years of being married to her husband, the actor has learned the secret to a happy and successful marriage: communication. "In the beginning, we argued hot and heavy because we were in more of a power struggle," she shared with Closer Weekly in 2020. But as time went on, she and Donahue learned to work things out in a healthier, more peaceful manner. She also acknowledged that a huge part of why their relationship works is thanks to Donahue being a great husband. "I married a really decent, good man," Thomas said, adding that Donahue has never failed to support and lift her up during their marriage. "I feel that no matter what cockeyed idea I get in my head, my husband will always say, 'You ought to do that! You will be great at that,'" she said. "I am very grateful for that blessing."

Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue celebrated 43 years of marriage

Love is still in the air for Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue, more than 46 years since their paths first crossed. In May, Thomas opened up once more about their marriage as she and Donahue celebrated their 43rd wedding anniversary milestone, according to People. Speaking at the sidelines of the 48th Annual Gracie Awards Gala, the actor gushed about how lucky she was to be married to the talk show host. "He's the best," she said of Donahue. She also revealed how they marked the special occasion, saying she and her husband opted for a quiet celebration. "We just felt like this year we wanted to just hang out alone," she explained. "Go to the theater, go to dinner, walk down the street, just be together. It was great."

During the interview, the Hallmark star also revealed the key to her and Donahue's solid foundation — which, apart from good communication, is affection and physical attraction. "I call it the three L's: Love, listening, and lust," she explained. "Those are the three Ls. You have to listen, and then you'll know what the other person is really thinking and going through. You have to love each other. And without lust, you don't have anything." As for Donahue, making each other laugh is also crucial. "A little humor certainly in a marriage goes a long way," the television host told AARP in 2020.