Go Inside Mary Tyler Moore and Valerie Harper’s Iconic Friendship

Mary Tyler Moore and Valerie Harper truly defined best friend goals in the 70s.

Their strong friendship both onscreen and offscreen was contagious — and it all began during the pilot of The Mary Tyler Moore Show in 1970.

“It was a deep, complicated, and significant friendship between two single women,” psychologist Bella DePaulo, author of Singled Out, tells Closer in an exclusive interview. “We had never seen anything like that on TV before.”

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Mary and Valerie posing for The Mary Tyler Moore Show.

“They could be independent and funny and not be held to any sort of domestic stereotype that had reined in women before that,” added TV Guide senior critic Matt Roush. Mary and Valerie portrayed Mary Richards and Rhoda Morgenstern, respectively, in the long-running series.

MORE: Mary Tyler Moore’s Husband Reacts to Her Death

And their inseparable bond didn’t end once the popular series went off the air in 1977! The duo remained very close friends for 45 years after — and they’ve never even had a fight. Mary and Valerie always stayed by each other’s sides throughout their health struggles as well. Mary dealt with diabetes, which led to her unfortunate death at age 80 on Jan. 25, while Valerie, 77, is currently battling cancer.

At the time of Mary’s passing, Valerie opened up about their strong bond and how upset she was about losing her.

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Betty, Mary, and Valerie.

“I cannot stop the emotions I’m experiencing,” she said. “Mary was my colleague, my sister soul mate, and, above all, one hell of a girlfriend!”

MORE: Dick Van Dyke Opens up About His Late Co-Star Mary Tyler Moore

Valerie isn’t the only co-star of Mary’s to react to her death. Moments after the news broke, Betty White — who played Sue Ann Nivens on the show — took to Instagram to remember her late friend.

“Mary Tyler Moore, Grant Tinker, Allen Ludden and I had some of the best times of my life together. She was special,” The Golden Girls star captioned the snapshot. So sweet, Betty.

For more on Mary and Valerie, pick up the new issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now!

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Click through the gallery below to see on-set photos from The Mary Tyler Moore Show!