October 22, 2021

Betty White Has No Regrets about Breaking up Her Marriage Because of Her Husband’s Desires

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American Actress Betty White has enjoyed a Hollywood career that has spanned eight decades. The 99-year-old has been married three times, but her third marriage turned out to be the best of them all.

Betty White is an American actress who is famous for her starring roles in programs like the "The Mary Tyler Moore Show," "The Golden Girls," and "Hot in Cleveland." 

White has been in showbiz for over 80 years and is a living legend. Although she enjoyed success in her career, she was not always lucky with her marriages until the third time. 

Betty White in a monochrome portrait [Left]. | Betty White in a photo at an event [Right]. | Photo: Getty Images



White was born on January 17, 1922. In addition to being an actress, she is also a comedian, author, and animal rights advocate. She is also regarded as a pioneer of early television as she was one of the first women to take control behind the camera. 

The iconic actress is also the first woman to produce a sitcom following "Life With Elizabeth." This contributed to her being named honorary Mayor of Hollywood in 1955. 

White is mostly known for playing Sue Ann Nivens on the CBS sitcom "The Tyler Moore Show," Rose Nylund on the NBC sitcom "The Golden Girls," and Elka Ostrovsky on the TV Land sitcom "Hot in Cleveland." 


Betty White speaks onstage during the 70th Emmy Awards at the Microsoft Theatre in Los Angeles, California on September 17, 2018. | Photo: Getty Images

White's career began when she was eight years old. Then, she made her radio programming debut in 1930 as a radio personality in Los Angeles under disc jockey Al Jarvis's tutelage. 


She transitioned from radio to television and became a panelist of game shows like "Match Game," "Password," "The Hollywood Squares," "To Tell the Truth," and "The $25,000 Pyramid." 

White was nicknamed the first lady of game shows. She was the first-ever woman to receive the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Game Show Host for her role in "Just Men!" 


White also appeared on television series like "The Bold and the Beautiful," "Boston Legal," "The Carol Burnett Show," and "Saturday Night Live."

Having enjoyed a TV career that has spanned over eight decades, White is second to none in terms of longevity in the television industry and rightfully earned a Guinness World Record in 2018. 


She is also the proud recipient of eight Emmy Awards, three American Comedy Awards, three Screen Actors Guild Awards, and a Grammy Award. 

White has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and was inducted into the Television Hall of Fame in 1985. The screen icon well-deserved such honors and awards after serving the world many beautiful moments through the years. 

White and Ludden tied the knot in June 1963 and moved to New York.



White has been married thrice in her lifetime but has no children from all her marriages. She tied the knot for the first time in 1945 to Dick Barker, a World War II veteran. 

After tying the knot with Barker, White lived in his Ohio chicken farm. However, she was already used to the showbiz lifestyle and knew she could not cope with living on the farm. Hence, she left the farm and filed for divorce. 

White's second marriage was to Hollywood Agent Lane Allen in 1947. However, their marriage lasted for only two years. She remarried for the third time in 1963 to "Password" Host Allen Ludden and found more success in that marriage. 




White has spoken about her three marriages on various occasions. During an interview with Newsweek, she described her first two unions as "bad marriages."

She said she doesn't like to think of her first two marriages as good mistakes because they were traumatizing. The TV personality admitted that one feels like a failure when their marriage does not work.

Despite the failure of her first two marriages, White said they made her appreciative when she finally got married to the perfect man, Allen Ludden.


Describing her first marriage, White said they were initially going to live just up the coast from Los Angeles. However, Barker did not tell her those plans had changed. Hence, instead of going to LA, they went to Belle Center, Ohio, and lived on his chicken farm. 

In addition to living on a farm, White revealed she and Barker lived with his parents, who would send her out to kill a chicken and bring it in for dinner. 

However, she refused as she was an animal rights activist and found it traumatic. Hence, she split and returned to California after eight months of marriage. 


White said she met Allen afterward. She described him as a wonderful man and said they had a couple of very good years. However, Allen wanted her to stop working as he did not want her to be in show business.

White said showbiz was her calling, and she wanted to follow it and chose to do just that. Hence, she quit her marriage and never regretted doing so. 

She said the pain of her first two divorces made her feel like a failure. She explained that she tends to take everything as her fault and kept kicking herself for agreeing to marry Barker and Allen. 


However, those feelings changed when she met Ludden, who was enthusiastic about everything. She described him as an intellectually wonderful man who was romantic and knew how to court a lady. 

Ludden was hosting the game show, "Password," in which she was a panelist. The show was held in New York while White was living in California. Consequently, when he asked her to marry him, she refused.

White kept refusing Ludden's proposals for a year until Easter came, and he sent her a white stuffed bunny with diamond earrings clipped to its ears. There was also a card asking her to say yes. 


When Ludden called White late that night, she said "Yes" instead of "hello" when she answered the phone. White and Ludden tied the knot in June 1963, and she moved to New York. She became the stepmom to his children from a previous marriage.

White and Ludden did not have any children of their own, but she does not regret this as she chose to focus on her career. Long after they tied the knot, Ludden remained a sweet and romantic man to his wife. 

Ludden was diagnosed with terminal stomach cancer in early 1980. He died at 63 on June 8, 1981, three days before his and White's 18th anniversary.

Since Ludden's death, White has dated other men but never considered remarrying. She has stated that once she had the best, she did not need the rest. 

White admitted she made two mistakes before marrying Ludden. However, she also understands that the love of one's life does not come along in every life and is very grateful she found Ludden.