They wed on the second anniversary of their blind first date. Twenty years later, Barbra Streisand and James Brolin remain happily together. “I think [marriage] is much more pleasant when you’re older,” the famed singer has said.
Barbra, 76, and James, 78, certainly make it look easy. Yet it takes a careful mix of communication, empathy, and respect to make this union of opposites run smoothly. “If you look at Cancer and Taurus — almost every time, it says, ‘You guys are magic together,’” James previously noted to FOX News. “‘You’re so opposite that you’re able to work it out.’ And that’s what makes a great team.”
Like any successful duo, laid-back James and high-energy Barbra have learned how to compromise. “We’re both very good negotiators,” explained James, who weathered two previous divorces. “She sees a color that’s one shade and I say, ‘No, it’s another color.’ And then we are able to negotiate around it.”
Yet it’s not as easy as James makes it sound. “One day I fall in love with my husband again, the next day I’m mad at him,” Barbra, who had one early failed marriage to actor Elliott Gould, has previously said.
A lifelong perfectionist, Barbra has learned not to allow little things to cause friction in her marriage to James. “We used to have an argument over something. Now we don’t,” she said. “It’s more about kindness and acceptance.”
Barbra and James keep their marriage interesting by pursuing separate passions outside their home. In 2015, James returned to his roots in TV to play spacey patriarch John Short on CBS’ Life in Pieces. “It’s a blessing to do this,” the actor, who has always wanted to try comedy, has said. “We should be retired and on rocking chairs, but I’m busy all the time.” James has also been developing a film that he plans to direct.
Barbra, likewise, has no intention of ever stopping work. On Nov. 2, she released Walls, her first album of new material in 13 years and her first political recording.
“It is risky, but I don’t mind. I love challenges,” the star, who also has been busy writing her autobiography for the past four years, said. “They wanted the book in two years,” she previously told The New Yorker, but “it’s hard to look back.”
That’s no surprise. With so much happiness in their lives, neither Barbra nor James have any reason to live in the past. “We both long to come home to see each other,” James confided to FOX News.
To top it off, the pair recently welcomed Westlyn, a new granddaughter and the child of James’ son Josh and wife Kathryn. Josh has two adult children whom Barbra considers her grandchildren, too, but being involved in Westlyn’s birth was a special experience for her. Barbra behaved “like a very typical Jewish grandmother,” Josh previously told People.
“A lot of people don’t want to be known as Grandma. I think it’s a privilege,” Barbra told The New Yorker, who finds life sweeter today. “I love my garden, and my dogs, and my husband, and my son, and my widening family.”
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