‘Love Boat’ Star Gavin Macleod Divorced and Then Remarried Wife Patti after Embracing His Faith

Gavin Macleod, a renowned star from the ‘70s, has been married three times, and two of them were to the same woman. Macleod credits his newfound faith for helping him realize Patti Kendig was the one.

When Gavin Macleod became a TV star after starring in several ‘70s sitcoms, he committed the mistake of letting his work and fame overcome his life, inevitably neglecting his wife and confidant: Patti Kendig.

Publicity photograph of Gavin MacLeod as Murray Slaughter on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" | Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images

Publicity photograph of Gavin MacLeod as Murray Slaughter on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" | Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images

They separated after seven years together, and while Macleod thought he would never see Patti again, life turned out to be different for the pair, and they eventually found their way back to each other.

Here’s their story.

Macleod’s start in Hollywood

Gavin was born and raised in New York as Allan George See, but later changed his name when he felt “as if my name was getting in the way of my success,” because it wasn’t “strong enough.”

MacLeod with Betty White on set of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in August 1975 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images

MacLeod with Betty White on set of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" in August 1975 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images

He took the last name of his college drama teacher, Beatrice MacLeod, and Gavin from an episode of the TV series “Climax.”

Although his father wanted him to be an accountant, Gavin showed a passion for acting from kindergarten. So, years after his father’s passing, he won a scholarship to Ithaca College and studied acting, graduating with a Bachelor's degree in fine arts in 1952.

Soon after, Gavin served in the Air Force and at his return, worked as an usher and elevator operator at Radio City Music Hall while going to auditions.

Gavin McLeod at the TV Land and Nick at Nite Upfront in "The Bat Cave" on April 24, 2002 | Photo: GettyImages

Gavin McLeod at the TV Land and Nick at Nite Upfront in "The Bat Cave" on April 24, 2002 | Photo: GettyImages

Gavin’s big break came with a role in the Broadway production of “A Hatful of Rain” in 1956, after which he moved to Los Angeles to try his luck on TV and film.

He made his television debut on “The Walter Winchell File” and had an uncredited role in the film “The True Story of Lynn Stuart” in 1958.

He took many more small roles on TV and films, often typecasted as a bad guy thanks to his bald head on series like “Hawaii Five-O,” “The Untouchables,” and “The Man from U.N.C.L.E.”

Gavin Macleod in June 2006 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images

Gavin Macleod in June 2006 | Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images

His big break

In 1962, Gavin landed his first recurring role as Joseph "Happy" Haines on “McHale's Nav.”

Ten years later, he got rid of his bad-boy image with his breakout role as Murray Slaughter on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show,” which earned him two Emmy nominations.

Macleod became a household in the ‘70s, and when that show came to an end in 1977, he was offered the leading role of Captain Stubing on “The Love Boat,” a series than ran for nine seasons until 1987.

Publicity photo of cast for "The Love Boat" series premiere | Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images

Publicity photo of cast for "The Love Boat" series premiere | Photo: Wikimedia Commons Images

After the show, the now 88-year-old wrote two books, and now makes occasional appearances on TV and other public events, especially as the ambassador of the Pacific Princess Cruises.

First failed attempt at marriage

Gavin met his first wife, Joan Rootvik while working at Radio City Music Hall. She was a Rockette.

They married in 1954 and had four children: Keith, David, Julie, and Meghan. However, the marriage came to an end after 18 years, and Gavin blamed his immaturity for it.

“I was 24 when I married, but emotionally I was 12,” he once told People.

Gavin MacLeod and wife Patti a the TV Land Awards 2003 on March 2, 2003 | Photo: GettyImages

Gavin MacLeod and wife Patti a the TV Land Awards 2003 on March 2, 2003 | Photo: GettyImages

After their divorce, Macleod had a hard time both mentally and physically.  “It was the first [divorce] in my family, and the guilt was killing me,” he said.

He started drinking and gained a few extra pounds until a nutritionist gave him a warning.

Then, he met Patti Kendig.

A second divorce

Like Gavin, Patti had also gone through a bitter divorce and had children from that relationship.

Gavin MacLeod and his wife Patti attend the TV Land Awards 2003 at the Hollywood Palladium on March 2, 2003 | Photo: GettyImages

Gavin MacLeod and his wife Patti attend the TV Land Awards 2003 at the Hollywood Palladium on March 2, 2003 | Photo: GettyImages

They married in 1974, and Patti became Gavin’s biggest cheerleader and supporter.

“Gavin was an alcoholic,” Patti told People in 1978. And continued:

“He became a different person when he drank. But before we were married he said, ‘I will never take another drink because I don’t want to lose what we have.’”

However, it wasn’t alcohol that came in the way of their relationship, but Macleod’s busy schedule while working on “The Love Boat.”

Gavin MacLeod and his wife Patty arrive at the 11th Annual Movieguide Awards on March 18, 2003 | Photo: GettyImages

Gavin MacLeod and his wife Patty arrive at the 11th Annual Movieguide Awards on March 18, 2003 | Photo: GettyImages

Patti and Gavin divorced in 1981 after seven years of marriage, and he took responsibility for the separation, as he told Fox News:

“I put my work before her. ‘The Love Boat’ became such a giant job. I was all over the place promoting it. I was traveling all over, and I just felt, this sounds very egomaniacal, but I felt that I didn't have time for her anymore.”

A newfound faith that led to a reconciliation

After their split, Macleod and Kendig went through different paths, and as he later admitted, Gavin didn’t think he would ever see Patti again.

Patti, on the other hand, had a lifechanging experience when she decided to commit her life to Jesus Christ and started praying to get her husband back.

But it took Gavin three more years to catch up, until 1984, when his mother developed a cyst on the left side of her brain and had to undergo surgery.

The morning of the operation, the actor woke up on his big mansion in Beverly Hills all alone and prayed, asking Jesus that “if he would give my mother more time, I'd turn my life over to him.”

Gavin MacLeod and wife Patti at the opening of "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All" November 17, 2003 | Photo: GettyImages

Gavin MacLeod and wife Patti at the opening of "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All" November 17, 2003 | Photo: GettyImages

Right after that, something told him to call Patti, so, after asking his secretary to get the number, he rang his ex-wife. It was September 15, 1984, as he recalled:

“I called, and she picked up. I said, ‘This is Gavin, can we be friends?’ She said, ‘That's all I ever wanted.’”

Soon after, Gavin went to Patti’s house, and he recalled that when she opened the door, she said: “I'm sorry, Gavin, your dinner's cold. It's been waiting for three years.”

Gavin McLeod  with his Wife Patti attend the 2nd Annual TV Land Awards held at The Hollywood Palladium, March 7, 2004 | Photo: GettyImages

Gavin McLeod with his Wife Patti attend the 2nd Annual TV Land Awards held at The Hollywood Palladium, March 7, 2004 | Photo: GettyImages

How faith changed their marriage

The same day of their reencounter, Patti gifted Gavin a bible she had engraved with his name beforehand.

She told Gavin all about her newfound faith, and he decided to follow her example.

Faith, he said, made a huge difference in their renowned marriage.

“The marriage is so solidified. We have what you call a threefold marriage,” he told Fox News, adding that:

“You make a triangle with your hands, and you can see Jesus is at the top, and we're below. That's pretty solid. You're a threefold covenant. There's three people in this marriage.”

Now, Gavin said, they’re stronger than ever, living for the lord and sharing their experience with other couples that could be in similar situations.

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