‘M*A*S*H’: Alan Alda Opened Up About How His Marriage Worked in Hollywood with Barbara Walters

by Atlanta Northcutt
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Alan Alda is a true gentleman and prince when it comes to his love of and devotion to his wife of 22 years. The M*A*S*H star only has eyes for Arlene, the love of his life.

While in the Hollywood spotlight it’s easy to be tempted by many vices, including attractive co-stars and actresses. However, the actor thinks nothing of it.

Alan Alda Expresses Love For His Wife Arlene

During a 1978 interview with Barbara Walters, Alan Alda answered a question about if he would ever have another relationship or an affair.

“Why would I want to do that?” the M*A*S*H icon asks without missing a beat.

In 1978, Alan and Arlene had been married for 22 years. The couple wed in 1957.

Barbara Walters Asks M*A*S*H Star About Marriage

Barbara Walters made a statement on how unique Alan Alda and his wife’s relationship was, especially in show business. They’ve supported and trusted each other, and have always loved one another through the good and bad times. Walters wanted to know how that could possibly work in Hollywood since the majority of the relationships between famous actors come to an end while in the spotlight.

“You very rarely give interviews, but when I was reading the few magazine interviews you’ve given, it’s as if you and Arlene are marvelous freaks because in show business you’ve been married for 22 years,” says Walters. “Not only that, but you love her, you don’t cheat, there’s no scandal. It’s almost like ‘What’s wrong with you.’ Do you know what I mean?”

Alan thinks for a moment before giving an honest and heartfelt response. His answer shows kindness, honesty, chivalry, and respect.

“That’s the way things ought to be! People make a promise to get married and stay married, and to live through thick and thin together, for better or worse, for sickness and in health,” Alda says without hesitation. “When things get tough, they say ‘Well, I didn’t expect that. That’s not what I had in mind.’ And I think a deal is a deal.”

A True Hollywood Love Story

Alan and Arlene have kept that deal. His wife has stood by his side through the ups and downs of his career and his personal life. They have three daughters and eight grandchildren.

“We’re very lucky that we’re both married to the two best people in the world,” he says with a laugh.

So what is Alan Alda and Arlene’s secret for a long and happy marriage?

“It’s work to have an intimate relationship with somebody,” he says. “We shouldn’t be afraid of work. Work brings pleasure. The successful completion of work is wonderful, and there’s nothing like the joy that you get from being with someone that you worked things out with over many years. That’s terrific.”

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