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Peter Bergman Credits 'Sensational' Wife for His Career after His 'Life Was Down the Toilet'

Titi Dokubo
Jan 23, 2022
01:00 P.M.
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Peter Bergman's first marriage to actress Christine Ebersole seemed like a match made in heaven, but things did not work out well for them. Then he met the love of his life, Mariellen, on a blind date.

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She became his anchor and pushed him to take the role of Jack Abbott, which he became famous for on "The Young and Restless" for 32 years.

Even though she had just given birth to their baby daughter, she has constantly supported him through 37 years of marriage. Today, Peter Bergman has a strong and happy marriage with his "sensational" wife. They are doting parents of two children.

Peter Bergman as Jack Abbott in "The Young and the Restless" circa 1990 [left], Peter Bergman and Mariellen at the 29th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on May 17, 2002 in New York [right] | Photo: Getty Images

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PETER BERGMAN'S FIRST MARRIAGE

Peter was a talented football player but gradually turned his attention to acting. After high school, he took on a construction job to pay for his American Academy of Dramatic Arts tuition.

He then started with small off-Broadway roles that led him to guest-star on "Kojak." A few years later, he got a leading role on "All My Children," where he played Dr. Cliff Warner.

Photo of Christine Ebersole on Saturday Night Live - 7 | Photo: Getty Images

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During that time, Peter met and married actress and singer Christine Ebersole, the singer and actress who played Carol Walsh on "Sullivan & Son."

Unfortunately, she found their union unsuccessful, and they separated in 1980. The couple ended up divorcing in 1981, and their marriage did not produce any kids.

Peter Bergman and Mariellen at the 18th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on June 27, 1991 | Photo: Getty Images

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HOW PETER MET THE LOVE OF HIS LIFE

Peter and Mariellen have been married for so long that they are examples of a successful marriage in the industry. They currently have two children with whom they share a blissful life.

Peter had met Mariellen, whom he calls the love of his life, on a blind date. His fellow castmate on "All My Children," Michael Minor, set him on the blind date. At the time, Minor was dating Mariellen's cousin.

Peter Bergman and Mariellen at the Daytime Emmy Non-Televised Awards on June 20, 1992 | Photo: Getty Images

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WHY MARIELLEN IS PETER'S SOLID ANCHOR

In 1989, Peter was fired from "All My Children" after playing Dr. Cliff Warner for a decade. Being fired was a devastating blow for him. He felt his career was over, and his life was "down the toilet."

He thought they were like a family as they had shared so much. Losing his job without warning, it dawned on him that the friendships he had made didn't matter.

While he felt that way, his wife disagreed as she knew he could do more. With their kids in tow, they relocated to Los Angeles from New York, and he realized how blessed he was to have her in his life as she was his "only friend in the world."

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Peter Bergman and Mariellen at the Soap Opera Digest Awards on January 10, 1992 | Photo: Getty Images

Before they moved, he had traveled alone to audition for "The Young and Restless" after Melody Thomas Scott suggested to her husband Ed Scott, the executive producer at the time, that Peter was the perfect replacement for Jack Abbott.

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Peter wasn't sure he wanted to be in another soap, especially one that needed him to replace someone. After they called a third time, he decided to try the auditions.

Peter Bergman and Mariellen at the 2007 Los Angeles Daytime Emmy Reception | Photo: Getty Images

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He had to leave his wife, who had her due date a week from then and had the auditions on a Friday. By Monday, he received a call that he had gotten the job. He said,

"I was dragged out kicking and screaming to the best thing that ever happened to me."

He and his wife literally wept when the call came through. Even though they had just bought the apartment next door, they had to pack up and move.

Peter Bergman, Mariellen, Robert Newman, and wife Britt Helfer arrive on May 17, 2002 at the 29th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards in New York | Photo: Getty Images

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INSIDE THE ACTOR'S MARRIAGE AND FATHERHOOD

Peter and Mariellen got married in 1983, and they share a daughter and a son. He is still friends with his first wife and even went with Mariellen to watch her performance in Los Angeles. He said,

"My wife is sensational."

He considers himself the luckiest man alive. Even when he was diagnosed with a detached retina and had undergone emergency surgery, he had the support of his wife, who went with him to Los Angeles for the procedure.

Peter Bergman and Mariellen at the 19th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on June 23, 1992 | Photo: Getty Images

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The problem first started when he was visiting his family in San Luis Obispo on the central California coast. He had a funny feeling on the inside corner of his left eye.

He kept the issue to himself and didn't mention it to Mariellen, and by morning, his eyes felt like a curtain was closing in toward the center of his eyesight.

At this point, a third of the vision in his left eye had been covered. When he met with the local ophthalmologist on a Sunday evening, he received his diagnosis. The ophthalmologist suggested Dr. Rahal to Mariellen, with surgery being the only way out.

Peter Bergman and Mariellen at the Nineth Annual Soap Opera Digest Awards on February 26, 1993 | Photo: Getty Images

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Mariellen confirmed that Dr. Rahal was married to an opera singer she met through her sister. So Mariellen texts her sister, and in no time, Peter had an appointment with Dr. Rahal for the next day.

After the surgery, he had a challenging recovery period, but Mariellen even set up a special contraption to make her husband more comfortable so he could at least watch television.

Peter Bergman and Mariellen at the 46th annual Daytime Emmy Awards on May 05, 2019 | Photo: Getty Images

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In 1987, the couple welcomed their son, Connor, through a C-section delivery. When he was born, dads weren't allowed inside the delivery room during the procedure.

However, things were different in 1990 when their daughter was born, and Peter was allowed inside the delivery room. Unfortunately, he wasn't much help.

Peter Bergman, Mariellen, and their two children, Connor Bergman and Clare Bergman in 1994 | Photo: Getty Images

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Peter had passed out because he couldn't handle the blood well. At one point, his wife said,

"Can we make at least this part about me?"

Peter named his son after the main character in the book "Trinity" by Leon Uris. He named his daughter Clare because it had always been his favorite, and Mariellen's grandmother was from the County Clare in Ireland.

Peter Bergman and Mariellen at the 29th Annual Daytime Emmy Awards on May 17, 2002 in New York | Photo: Getty Images

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Even though he loved having his kids resemble him, he is unhappy that they have his mousy brown hair. His wife's relatives and his grandparents are redheads.

One of the best pieces of parenting advice he ever received was from his wife. She said to him: "Never comment on your daughter's weight." He had also promised that he would never say certain things to his kids.

One of those includes judging their friends in their presence. He has learned never to say anything, no matter what he thinks. He believes his children will make their impressions, and they don't need him adding to it.

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