Barbara Eden knows a thing or two about entertaining audiences all around the world, but when it comes to marriage, she can also give pretty good advice. Reflecting on how she maintains her “happy” relationship with husband Jon Eicholtz after 30 years, the I Dream of Jeannie star exclusively tells Closer that it’s all about making comprises.
“I think you have to like each other a lot. No, you really do,” the 90-year-old shares in a new interview, insisting you “really, really” have to be willing to choose your partner over yourself sometimes. For Barbara, she’s happy to do things with Jon — like watch sports, for instance — just “because” she adores him.
“You don’t necessarily have to like the same things. Because we certainly don’t,” the Golden Globe nominee says. “I don’t play golf. I don’t like to watch baseball … and he loves to watch the Angels. But I do because I love him. And I like him. So I’ll watch with him.”
As for Barbara, the Harper Valley PTA alum reveals Jon often compromises by supporting her busy Hollywood career. “He puts up with me working,” the loving wife states, insisting Jon “doesn’t actually mind” her hectic work schedule. “I find that it’s just great because he likes what I do. He likes me doing it. I think I’m really lucky to have a happy marriage.”
The Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea actress usually spends a good amount of time away from home while working on her showbiz projects, but she and Jon were together more than ever amid the coronavirus pandemic in 2020. To stay entertained, Barbara reveals the two adopted “a COVID dog.”
“We have a Labradoodle. Little boy, he’s so spoiled,” the Brass Bottle star gushes, noting even though Jon is “a little skittish around dogs,” they’ve had a blast adding the adorable pup to their family.
“We would go to a Carmel with our friends who also have a Labradoodle. And we’d spend long weekends up there at [Doris Day‘s hotel The Cypress Inn],” Barbara marvels. “[There’s] nothing but dogs there! You don’t want to go if you don’t have a dog. We had such a good time.”
The Jeannie Out of the Bottle author and her love have been going strong for 30 years, having said “I do” in 1991. While speaking with Closer during a previous interview in February 2020, Barbara revealed the secret to marriage with the California native. “Walk in the other person’s shoes if you’re having a little problem,” she said. “Try to see their side of it. It’s not easy! But try.”
Prior to marrying Jon, Barbara was previously wed twice. She exchanged vows with her first husband, Michael Ansara, in 1958, and went on to welcome their son, Matthew Ansara, in 1965. The former couple ultimately split in 1974, and the film icon walked down the aisle with Charles Donald Fegert in 1977. However, they also split five years later in 1982.
Fortunately, Barbara has been living a life of wedded bliss with John for the last three decades!