The Story Of Barbara Eden's Son's Tragic Death

Actor Barbara Eden has been through many tragedies throughout her life, which sadly include deaths in Eden's family. Although the public knows Eden best for her iconic leading role in the 1960s sitcom "I Dream of Jeannie," Eden has had a fruitful life beyond the television screen. She gave birth to her only son, Matthew Ansara, with her first husband, actor Michael Ansara in 1965. This also happened to be the same year that "Jeannie" would premiere, and Eden was scared to tell her producers about her pregnancy. But Eden recounted to People that the producers worked with her to hide her pregnancy on camera for the first 13 episodes of "Jeannie," until Matthew was born.

On an episode of TLC's "Long Island Medium," Eden described the jet-setting lifestyle that fame afforded her family, which took Matthew around the world from a young age. Matthew ended up following in his parents' footsteps and began a career as an actor. He was featured in the 2001 movie "To Protect and Serve" and had guest roles in several television shows, per IMDb.

Unfortunately, Matthew died on June 25, 2001. "I don't think there's anything worse than to lose your child," Eden told People in 2021. "I was always on the edge of tears. Even though he was 35, he was still my baby." Eden is now continuing to speak in remembrance of her son in order to keep Matthew's spirit alive and to spread awareness about warning signs.

Barbara Eden revealed Matthew Ansara was troubled by addiction

As much as they may try, a parent can only do so much to influence their child's life. In her memoir, "Jeannie Out of the Bottle," Barbara Eden wrote that she learned her son, Matthew Ansara, began experimenting with drugs at 10 years old. Before his death, Ansara's family made multiple attempts to put him into a rehabilitation center. Over the course of 14 years, Eden and her family tried to get through to Ansara. But anyone who has dealt with the disease of addiction knows that you can only get someone help if they actually want the help.

"When Matthew was clean and sober, he was such a beautiful human being, inside and out," Eden explained to People in 2021. "Drugs are inexplicable. It's so frustrating."

Sadly, after a long battle with addiction, Ansara died in 2001 from an accidental heroin overdose. Although Eden was going through her own bouts of heartbreak and depression, she "began to speak with parents who were going through the same thing," she explained. "I think parents should know that it's not a bad thing to be strict with your child. If you know what's going on, you have a chance to help. Ultimately it's up to them, but there's hope."

Barbara makes sure to keep the memory of Matthew alive to this day

It has been over 20 years since the death of her son, Matthew Ansara, and Barbara Eden still feels the pain today. She revealed to People that she "had a lot of guilt and anger" after his sudden death.

"I have his pictures around," Eden told Closer Weekly in an interview in 2021. "[I] don't pretend like he never was. Because he was he was [a] super, super human being."

Remarkably, Eden went onto TLC's "Long Island Medium" with Theresa Caputo in 2018 and was able to communicate with her son through Caputo during a seance. Caputo ensured Eden that Ansara thought his relationship with his mother was special, and there were things that he hid from her that ultimately caused his downfall. This is most likely in reference to his substance use and how Eden shouldn't feel guilty for not knowing. In the episode, Eden breaks down into tears over the reading. Regardless, Eden still reminisces on her son's life fondly. She said on "LIM," "I think Matthew's greatest accomplishment was making people around him happy."