‘The Waltons’: John-Boy Actor Richard Thomas Had On-Screen Romance with Real-Life Partner

by Suzanne Halliburton

Fans of The Waltons probably didn’t realize that Richard Thomas’ real-life girlfriend was John-Boy’s, too.

Do you remember Jenny Pendleton? She appeared on The Waltons for two episodes. John-Boy adored her. And there was a reason for that. Richard Thomas dated actress Sian Barbara Allen for years.

In fact, Thomas pushed for his girlfriend to play Jenny Pendleton. On The Waltons, Jenny appeared on two episodes early in the series.

They were “The Love Story” in season one and “The Thanksgiving Show” in season two. Officially, Jenny was John-Boy’s second girlfriend. She and her family moved away from Jefferson County, Va. But they returned in time for John-Boy’s courtship of Jenny. John-Boy wanted to marry her.

The Two Met On Movie Set Before The Waltons

The two met in real life, pre-Waltons, while making the 1972 movie You’ll Like My Mother. Allen played Kathleen, a mentally-challenged young woman. Richard Thomas played her psychopathic brother. Allen earned a Golden Globe nomination for Most Promising New Actress. Thomas stepped up to John-Boy. He won an Emmy Award and two Golden Globes for playing John Boy. Thomas earned his Emmy off one of the episodes he shared with Allen.

It’s unclear when Thomas and Allen broke up. Thomas didn’t like to talk about his private life.

He once told reporters:

“I always throw out my old quote about sex: ‘Nothing is more exciting than your own sex life, and nothing is more boring than others, so I spare people the gory details of my own, which I’m pleased to say is to just fine at the moment.’

“My great romance right now is with my house and my own time,” he said. “Do you realize for somebody who was reared on the 15th floor of a 96th Street apartment what it’s like to have a house with roses, and a lemon tree that makes lemons’?”

But he married Alma Gonzales in 1975 when he was in his final season with The Waltons. The two had a son named Richard Francisco. Then the couple became parents to triplets — Pilar, Barbara, and Gwyneth. They were born in 1981. The couple divorced in 1993.

Thomas married art dealer Georgiana Bischoff in 1994.

Allen also married and had a daughter. She ended her acting career to raise her daughter. Allen’s last role as an actress was an episode of L.A. Law in 1986.