Romance with Whoopi Goldberg Left a $30M Hole and Blackface Scandal in Ted Danson’s Life
Actors Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Danson rocked Hollywood with their scandalous affair in the ’90s. However, things ended terribly for the former lovers, with Danson’s parents behind their breakup.
Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Danson first met in 1988 when they co-starred on the popular late-night talk show, “Arsenio Hall.” Their friendship quickly developed from that point.
Their careers brought them together again when they co-hosted an instructional video consisting of environmental tips. It was called “Help Save Planet Earth.”
THE HIGH-PROFILE AFFAIR
What they both had in common was their passion for philanthropy. Moreover, Goldberg and Danson’s professional connection brought them even closer.
The duo’s affair began while working together on the 1993 rom-com “Made In America.” When news broke that they were dating, Danson said:
“I’d walk in Whoopi’s shadow for the rest of my life – I adore the woman.”
Comedian Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Danson in a publicity portrait for the film "Made In America" in 1993 | Photo: Getty Images
The infidelity heavily affected his 16-year marriage to his second wife, Cassandra Coates, resulting in divorce. More consequences resulted in the California native forking out a whopping $30 million in the divorce proceeding.
That was notably deemed one of Hollywood’s most expensive celebrity divorces in history. The tabloids unraveled the high-profile affair by capturing Goldberg and Danson’s relationship timeline, from the courtship to the unforeseen breakup.
At one point, there were even rumors that the two might tie the knot. Reports stated Danson was even willing to leave his spouse for “The View” host amid their alleged impending wedding.
Whoopi Goldberg and co-star Ted Danson pose together donning all-black attires at the Ritz Hotel | Photo: Getty Images
According to the tabloids, Danson and his lover planned on walking down the aisle soon after he got divorced. However, because his parents intervened, things ended differently:
“They made plans to wed soon as Ted could get a divorce, but under pressure from his parents, he dumped Whoopi.”
Outside influence reportedly derailed the lovers’ chance at a future together with sources saying Danson’s parents perceived his romance with Whoopi as a symptom of a mid-life crisis, and the “Becker” star agreed with them. After their breakup, he told reporters:
"I went nuts last year. I hurt my children. I hurt my wife. But I was doing the best that I could at that time."
Actress Whoopi Goldberg posing next to Ted Danson in a scene from the film "Made In America" in 1993 | Photo: Getty Images
He and Goldberg publicly embraced their relationship. They did so to a point whereby they did not even shy away from pushing boundaries, regardless of whether it rubbed people the wrong way.
During that period, Danson appeared at a “Friars Club Roast” for Goldberg. He wore blackface and made several inappropriate jokes, and despite the backlash, his-then girlfriend defended him, revealing she wrote the material he used:
"Let's get these words all out in the open. It took a whole of courage to come out in blackface in front of 3,000 people. I don't care if you don't like it. I did."
An undated image of Whoopi Goldberg standing with actor boyfriend Ted Danson at the New York Friars Club | Photo: Getty Images
Danson’s actions became a controversy, ending in a media uproar. In a 2019 interview with The New York Times Magazine, Goldberg was asked whether the furor over Danson’s roast was based on race and not on the actual offense of blackface.
She responded that people always bring up the incident because they hope she would change her first statement showing support to Danson.
“For me, it was what it needed to be, just in the wrong place with the wrong people,” Goldberg stated. She added people were against her romance with the producer and that the sketch was intended as a joke in retort from the hate they experienced.
Their relationship lasted for a year and a half, although it seemed like forever since it was picked apart constantly in the tabloids. Following their separation, the exes moved on quickly.
Goldberg married her third husband, Lyle Trachtenberg, but their union was short-lived. The former couple was married for only a year before they parted ways.
In contrast, Danson wed fellow Actor Mary Steenburgen. The pair are still married to date.
Danson’s relationship with Steenburgen was his first serious romance following his breakup with Goldberg. The National Enquirer even reported that the “Sister Act” actress despises Danson’s new wife.
Insiders suggested the reason was that the “Book Club” star married Danson, and she did not. At the same time, many people have implied that Danson is the “one who got away” and that Goldberg still yearns for him.
When she and Danson announced their split, the former Hollywood couple sent out a press release about their breakup, stating: “We would like to set the record straight… We are no longer romantically involved.”
The Huffington Post reported that when the EGOT winner was asked whether she was still in contact with her ex on “Watch What Happens Live!” she said no.
Goldberg mentioned their romance happened twenty years ago while joking that she had slept with several people since then. She added: “I mean, my god, everything was tight back then,” causing host Andy Cohen and fellow guest Billy Eichner to burst out laughing.
Most notably, she has dated Tim Dalton and Frank Langella but has seemed to step away from traditional romance in recent years.
The comedian said she tried marriage, but it did not work out for her, adding an individual cannot be in a marriage simply because society expects them to.
To date, Goldberg is enjoying the single life and lives in a Manhattan loft with her cat, Oliver. She shared she enjoys living her life on her terms without having to answer to anyone.
Meanwhile, Danson and his wife remain steadfast within their union. They even work alongside each other on the TV show “Curb Your Enthusiasm.”
In February 2019, he gushed about his successful career and blissful marriage with Steenburgen and their family.
In one of Closer Weekly’s issues, Danson said he and his beloved wife wake up and celebrate their lives together daily. He mentioned that they are fortunate for the lives they have.
The star said they have great kids and grandkids and have each other, adding they are madly in love. Notably, he was first married to college sweetheart Randall Gosch from 1970 to 1975.
He wed Coates in 1977, but they later divorced in 1993. Danson said it was love at first sight for them. But they went through trying times when Coates nearly died from a stroke while giving birth to their daughter, Kate.
The pair also have another daughter named Alexis. At the time, Danson put his career on hold to care for his spouse, saying he would expect her to do the same for him if the situation was reversed.
The father of two’s career took off when he was cast as Bartender Sam Malone on “Cheers” in the early 1980s. Speaking on his experience on the sitcom, he said he was eternally grateful, stating it was the most amazing eleven years of his life.
Additionally, following his divorce from Coates, he shared he did not plan on getting married again before he met Steenburgen in the mid-1990s.
Danson revealed they met each other in their forties and bonded based on their failed marriages. He stated they met at the right time of their lives.
In 2018, Steenburgen revealed to Closer Weekly that when she first met Danson, she thought he was the most amazing human being she had ever met in her life.
The singer-songwriter added she is overly in love with Danson as she finds him endlessly fascinating. She revealed he surprises her all the time and, most importantly, makes her laugh. The two met on a five-hour canoe ride while filming the 1994 movie “Pontiac Moon.”
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