Ahead of Barbara Eden’s (“I Dream of Jeannie”) 90th birthday, the Hollywood starlet is opening up about her scary encounter with coronavirus.
During the height of the pandemic in 2020, Eden, her husband Jon Eicholtz, and her friend Mary Jane all tested positive for the virus.
“It was the lightest case of COVID I think anyone’s ever had in the whole world,” Eden explained in a new interview with The Hollywood Reporter. “I was a little uncomfortable and I had a slight headache, but it went away. I was so lucky. Mary Jane, too. But Jon had a pretty hard time of it. He slept through it, mostly. We’d hold our breath, peek at him and look, come running out again.”
According to Eden, they were diagnosed with COVID-19 after her husband traveled to Las Vegas, NV, to visit his son and grandchildren. When he returned home to Los Angeles, Calif., the actress, and her friend tested negative at first. However, Eichnoltz tested positive.
“When he came home, we were very careful, wearing gloves, masks and placing his food outside the bedroom door,” Eden explained. “A few days later, my business manager said, ‘You should be tested again just in case.’ She had the guys come up here and they tested us and sure enough, we tested positive.”
Barbara Eden Looks Forward to Releasing Children’s Book
Although the star had a terrifying brush with COVID, as she describes, she has no intention of slowing down. She’s set to release her first children’s book, Barbara and the Djinn, this summer.
Eden first developed the idea for a children’s book in 2013, during a trip to Australia.
“I’m a reader, and I think it’s a wonderful gift for a child,” Eden said in the same interview. “My aunt and my mother read to me when I was 2, 3, and 4 years old. Enough that it just made my imagination bloom. When I was old enough, they took me to the library and I got my own library card. By the time I was 7, 8, 9, and 10, I would go to the library on a Saturday and check out the full limit of books — six at a time — and bring them home to read all week.”
The book aims to tell the story of a little girl who learns about the ideas of love and empathy.
“It’s very simple. It’s all about understanding people who are different and having empathy and love for them,” Eden said. “When the Djinn comes out of the lamp, she deals with it and goes on a journey.”
Although the book finds inspiration from “I Dream of Jeannie,” Eden said they couldn’t write about a girl who finds a bottle because they didn’t have the rights to the story.