“You have to realize that we live in a very puritanical nation still,” the former Little House on the Prairie star, 93, told People on Tuesday, January 24. “[When we got married], people were just loose about things. The only thing is that it harms you, does some damage to your self-esteem. It hurts really badly. … You have to have lived during that time as an adult to see what that was like.”
The couple tied the knot in 1951. They share their adopted sons, Robert and Michael Daniels, in addition to a son who died just 24 hours after Bonnie gave birth in 1961.
In her interview, Bonnie described the 1950s as a “culture” that was “simply different.” However, she still admitted that her and William, 95, could have had a falling out had they not moved to Los Angeles.
“Hollywood was really the saving grace for our marriage because, once we got to Hollywood, and we were here and living like a normal family and having weekends at home with our kids and doing things, it was [a] totally different story,” she explained. “Nobody wanted anything more than that.”
The Love of My Life alum then revealed that their marriage “could have broken apart at any time [in] those first 10 years if one of [them] had, say, fallen in love with somebody, but [they] never did.”
“Both of us really wanted to be together,” Bonnie concluded. “The love has never stopped.”
The Emmy award winner’s comments came the day her new memoir, Middle of the Rainbow, was released. In it, Bonnie revealed that she and her husband — who is famous for portraying the dedicated teacher, Mr. Feeny, on the Disney sitcom — had extramarital affairs.
“I never felt tied to fidelity, and neither did Bill,” Bonnie wrote in the book, adding that she had “an affair that lasted a few months” in 1959 with an actor. However, William’s 1970s relationship with a New York producer left Bonnie “devastated,” which she confessed caused her to rethink “any kind of an open marriage.”
Despite their hardships, the couple stayed together and have been married for 72 years.
“Life is all about solving problems,” Bonnie told Fox News on January 17, referring to how she and William “had to grow up together” to overcome the difficulties in their marriage. “Bill and I have moved forward day by day, and eventually, the days added up. We’ve been happy together and sad together, and somehow stayed together for seven decades.”