Barbara Eden is best known for playing the cute genie in the classic TV sitcom “I Dream of Jeannie,” but her personal life hasn’t always been so magical. People say that Matthew Ansara, Eden’s only child, died of a drug overdose at age 35 in 2001. And, sadly, the famous sitcom star had many other personal heartbreaks before her son died.
Soon after finishing “I Dream of Jeannie,” in which she starred from 1965 to 1970 opposite a pre-“Dallas” Larry Hagman, Eden lost her first husband, “Broken Arrow” star Michael Ansara, which was a very hard thing to go through. Eden told the Sydney Morning Herald that she had a stillborn son in 1971. She said that her son’s death made her feel sad for a long time. “Our marriage ended because of my deep depression, and after 15 years together, we split up,” she said about her first marriage. Six years later, Eden met her second husband, Chuck Fegert. She left him in 1982 when he started drinking too much and using drugs.
Years later, when Eden was in her 50s and still single, she met the man who would turn out to be her soulmate in an unexpected way. The third time was the charm for the belly-baring sitcom star, who has been married for 30 years and is now 90 years old.
After her first two marriages didn’t work out, Barbara Eden wasn’t looking for love, but she did find it when she least expected it. Eden told the Sydney Morning Herald that her feelings for her future husband, Jon Eicholtz, grew “slowly” after they met in the late 1980s. “We got married in 1991, and we have the same ideas about life and enjoy traveling together,” she told the outlet. “There is a lot of faithfulness. We both have each other’s backs.”
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The Los Angeles Times says that Eden married the Los Angeles real estate developer in a small ceremony at San Francisco’s Grace Cathedral on January 5, 1991. After the ceremony, a small reception was held at the nearby Fairmont Hotel. People say that Eden and Eicholz are living happily married in Beverly Hills with their Labradoodle named Bentley. This is 30 years after they got married, which was Eden’s third time and Eicholz’s second.
Barbara Eden didn’t make her marriage work by crossing her arms and blinking her eyes. The star told Closer Weekly that “you have to really like each other” is one of the keys to a happy marriage. The 90-year-old also said that it’s important to find a middle ground. “You don’t have to like the same things to get along. Because we don’t have any, “she told me. “I’m not a golfer. I don’t like to watch baseball, but he can’t get enough of the Angels. But because I love him, I do. And I like him. So I’ll join him and watch.” She also said that her husband supports her busy work schedule and “loves” what she does for a living.
Eden told People that her happy marriage in Hollywood makes her “really lucky.” She said, “Yes, I’m pleased.” “I think that everything in life has to work out on its own. Most things happen for a reason, and I can’t change that.”
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But even a marriage made in heaven or with the help of a genie isn’t always easy. In an earlier interview with Closer Weekly, Eden said that when she and her husband are fighting, she tries to see things from his point of view. She thinks that’s the key to keeping their marriage going for a long time. “If you have a small problem, you should put yourself in the other person’s shoes,” she said. “Try to see what they’re saying. It’s not simple. But do.”