Betty White had two failed marriages where she had to choose between pursuing her dream and pleasing her husband as a housewife. However, her third marriage proved that she did not have to choose one over the other.
One of the most celebrated actresses in Hollywood, Betty White, brought smiles and laughter to viewers. However, her legacy in the industry would never have been a success without her hard work and supportive husband, Allen Ludden.
Meeting the right man for White did not come easy as she had to go through two marriages that restricted her from pursuing her dreams. Here's a look at the beloved actress' romantic life and family.
HER PAST MARRIAGES
"The Golden Girls" star was first married to U.S. army pilot Dick Barker in 1945 after being engaged and together throughout the world war. Everything went well in their relationship until they moved into Barker's chicken farmhouse, owned by his parents.
Moving away from the city meant leaving her Hollywood dreams behind, which White found difficulty doing. So later that year, she decided to become a famous actress and divorced Barker. Soon after, love came knocking on White's door once again.
In 1947, White married Hollywood agent Lane Allen, but they experienced trouble in paradise not too long after. Allen wanted his wife to quit acting and become a housewife, which she did not want. So once again, the marriage ended in divorce after two years.
THE START OF THEIR ROMANCE
White took time to focus on building her career, but in 1961, at 39, she met Allen Ludden, a widower and father of three. The pair met on Ludden's hit game show, "Password." After falling in love, Ludden wanted to marry White, but she rejected his proposal twice.
According to her death certificate, the Hollywood legend died from a cerebrovascular accident, otherwise known as stroke.
His persistence eventually led the actress to give her sweet yes, and in 1963, she walked down the aisle again. As Ludden was in the industry, he never hindered White from continuing her career in show business.
Allen Ludden, 45, of TV "Password" embraces his bride, actress Betty White, 41, following their wedding at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, Nevada circa 1963 | Photo: Getty Images
LUDDEN'S UNTIMELY PASSING
For 18 years, White and Ludden lived a beautiful life in love. Then in 1981, the television personality suddenly passed away from stomach cancer, leaving his grieving wife heartbroken with nothing but good memories and his three kids to care for.
According to White, her biggest regret was taking a while to accept Ludden's proposal. The year she spent rejecting him was time they could have spent building happy memories together.
In a chat with Oprah Winfrey, White claimed her biggest mistake was taking time to accept Ludden's proposal, noting that she spent a year rejecting him, a period that would have been spent in building memories.
HAPPY AS A SINGLE WOMAN
White believed she made two mistakes before finding the love of her life and had no regrets about finding love with Ludden, even if it did not last as long as they both would have hoped for.
While White's career was nothing less of a success, fans wonder why she chose to remain single for more than a quarter of her life. According to the actress, she did not need the rest after having the best, referring to her lack of desire to find a fourth husband following Ludden's passing.
Although White never remarried, she admitted that she sometimes missed him when other couples showed their affection for each other. Instead, she kept busy with work as she believed being a mourner did not help a person or those around them.
A LIFE WITH NO REGRETS
White did not have children throughout her three marriages and had no regrets focusing on her career and husband instead. However, she is a proud stepmom to Ludden's three kids, David, Martha, and Sarah.
The multi-Award-winning actress often gushed about how lucky she was to have had those three children through her relationship with Ludden, and each of her stepchildren has a great life. In an interview, White said that she would have had to choose between her career and being a mom if she got pregnant. She said:
"I know if I had ever gotten pregnant, of course, that would have been my whole focus. But I didn't choose to have children because I'm focused on my career. And I just don't think as compulsive as I am that I could manage both."
White undoubtedly lived a long and beautiful life, but sadly, she passed away on December 31, 2021, a few weeks shy of her 100th birthday. According to her death certificate, the Hollywood legend died from a cerebrovascular accident, otherwise known as stroke.
Her friend and long-time agent, Jeff Witjas, revealed that White died peacefully in her sleep. "I don't think Betty ever feared passing because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband, Allen Ludden," he added. "She believed she would be with him again."
True enough, White once said that she was not scared to die. "I have no fear or dread of death," she said. "I'm happy as a lark to stay around as long as I can."
Betty White on June 11, 2009 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images
Witjas also shared the moments he told White how loved she was: "Every time I told her, 'Betty, you're loved,' she would look at me with a wry smile and say, 'Really?' I hope she knew. I think she did. It was something beyond love."
As she requested, White will have a private funeral. "The arrangements are being handled privately, and that was Betty's wish," Witjas said. "As in life, she never wanted people to make a fuss over her."
White touched many people's hearts throughout her life through her advocacies and organizations. As such, the late comedian would have wanted people to donate on her behalf to The Los Angeles Zoo, Monterey Bay Aquarium, Wildlife Learning Center, Tree People, Animal for Others, and more.
Aside from her acting career, White was known for her passion for animal advocacy. She worked with the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association for over 50 years and became part of the Board of Trustees.
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