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Barbra Streisand's Mother Never Said She Loved Her & Was Jealous of Daughter's Success

Monica Otayza
Mar 13, 2022
08:40 A.M.
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Barbra Streisand grew up with her mother, but the pair had a strained relationship from the start. Diana never told Barbra she loved her and was reportedly jealous of her daughter's success as a Hollywood star. 

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Barbra Streisand had to live with her mother Diana after her father died when she was only 15 months old. The singer-actress claims that her mother was never affectionate towards her while growing up, and instead, was strict and constantly told her off about the career she chose. 

Despite their strained relationship, Barbra credits her mother for her success throughout her life. Without her mother's harsh criticism and sternness, she would not have been as motivated to succeed and do well in the industry. 

Barbra remains the highest-selling female recording artist of all time and has been credited for several appearances on film, theater, and TV. 

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Barbra Streisand at the ArcLight Cinemas Cinerama Dome on December 10, 2012 [left], Diana Rosen at the Jewish National Fund Benefit in Beverly Hills on September 10, 1989 [right] | Source: Getty Images

When she was a young adult, Barbra took a leap of faith by skipping out on college to move to Manhattan and become a cabaret singer. She then ventured into Broadway, which ultimately led to a recording contract that jumpstarted a long series of gold records through the years. 

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Barbra proved to be a multi-faceted entertainer throughout her long career, winning numerous awards for her acting and singing career. 

Her first set of awards came from her major debut on Broadway on "I Can Get it For You Wholesale" in 1962. She won a New York Drama Critics Award and received a Tony nomination for it.

Portrait of Barbra Streisand circa 1960 | Source: Getty Images

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BARBRA'S EVENTFUL CAREER AS AN ENTERTAINER

Thanks to her performance, she signed with Columbia Records that same year and released "The Barbra Streisand Album" in 1963. It became a Top 10 gold record that received two Grammy Awards, including Album of the Year. At the time, she was the youngest artist ever to receive the award. 

By early 1964, she had three successful albums under her name. However, she chose to continue performing on Broadway instead of going on tour. She starred on "Funny Girl" for over two years, which earned her a Tony nomination. The show's song "People" became her first Top 10 single. 

In 1965, Barbra had her first taste of television, with her own show "My Name is Barbra." Her performance received five Emmy Awards, and CBS provided her with a 10-year contract to star and produce more TV specials. For her subsequent four productions, she was given complete artistic control. 

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Barbra Streisand for the film "Funny Girl" in 1969 | Source: Getty Images

By the 1970s, Barbra was a full-blown star. She starred in the film "The Way We Were," which featured her first number-one single. A couple of years later, she produced and starred in "A Star is Born." The film won six Golden Globes and gave Barbra her second number-one single, "Evergreen."

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In 1980, Barbra's best-selling album came with "Guilty," written and produced by the Bee Gees' Barry Gibb. It contains the cult favorite "Woman in Love." 

Three years later, Barbra made her directorial debut with "Yentl, The Yeshiva Boy," where she received Golden Globes for Best Director and Best Producer of the Best Picture (Musical Comedy.) The film also received five Academy Award nominations and produced a Top 10 soundtrack. 

Barbra Streisand at the 70th Annual Tony Awards in 2016 | Source: Getty Images

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Barbra's "The Broadway Album" put her back on top of the charts in 1985, and through the years, she continued to produce, direct, and write music and act on several films. 

Throughout her career, Barbra rarely hit the concert stage. Her last concert was in 1967, and she only returned onstage in 1994, which resulted in the Top 10 album "The Concert." Her concert tour generated over $10 million, which she donated to charities. 

Barbra Streisand performing onstage at the Verizon Center in Washington D.C. in August 2016 | Source: Getty Images

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LOSING A GREAT FATHER

Barbra credits her career to her parents, particularly her mother. She never had memories of her dad because he passed away when she was only 15 months old. 

Her dad, Emanuel, was the go-getter son of Jewish immigrants. He was an exceptional student when he entered City College and became an elementary school teacher while taking up his master's degree in education. 

In 1930, he received his master's degree diploma and married Diana Rosen, also a child of Jewish immigrants. They had met at an apartment of a common friend, and Diana immediately fell in love. 

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Roslyn Kind and Diana Rosen at the "Prince of Tides" Century City Premiere on December 11, 1991 | Source: Getty Images

Although they dated for a year, they parted ways after a big fight. A year later, they came across each other again on an elevated train, and the rest was history. Diana once called it an "act of God."

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They ended up having Barbra, but unfortunately, Emanuel didn't spend a lot of time with her. He was involved in a car crash that led to frequent headaches.

One day, he went to a hospital to have a bad headache treated, where he was given a dose of morphine. Unfortunately, it ended up being fatal. Diana was devastated after Emanuel's death. She cried endlessly and was inconsolable for months. 

Roslyn Kind and Diana Rosen at the Jewish National Fund Benefit on September 10, 1989 in Beverly Hills, California | Source: Getty Images

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MOTHER & DAUGHTER'S ROUGH RELATIONSHIP

After her father's death, Barbra's relationship with her mother was strained for good. The singer felt abandoned and had no emotional connection whatsoever with her mother. 

Although Diana was depressed and mourning, she took a job out of necessity as a bookkeeper. During that time, although Barbra had caretakers, she was practically left to fend for herself. 

Throughout her career, Barbra was not afraid to speak up about her mother, who died in 2002 at the age of 93 of complications after an accident at home. In an interview in 2014, she revealed that her mother was unloving and critical of her career. She opened up, saying:

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"I think sometimes there are parents who don’t really like themselves. They don’t like their offspring either. My mother meant well. She loved me as best she could. She had dreams of her own and she wanted to be a singer."

Barbara Streisand speaks onstage at the Fortune Most Powerful Woman Summit on October 18, 2016 in Dana Point, California | Source: Getty Images

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Barbra admitted that she thought her mother was jealous of her success. She never praised her achievements to her face, but the singer believed her mother would praise her to other people she spoke to. 

Barbra recalls her mother once told her not to pursue a career in the entertainment industry, as her mother didn't think she looked like the movie stars she would see in magazines. 

Her mother's coldness towards her affected her until she grew older. Diana was never affectionate, so she never received a hug or even an "I love you" from her. 

Barbra Streisand poses in the press room at the 67th Annual Directors Guild of America Awards in February 2015 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images

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This ended up translating to Barbra's other relationship, where she felt weird and awkward whenever people would hug her. Now, however, she can do it. 

Despite her mother's harsh criticisms of her voice and her career in general, Barbra credits her for her career, as her mother pushed her to be her best. "I was always trying to prove to her that I was worthy of being somebody," she admitted.

On Barbra's final tour in 2012, she played her mother's record to the audience to finally close a chapter on her past. To Barbra, it was her way of letting her mother know that she made it – that she was able to sing in front of thousands of people. 

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American singer and actress Barbra Streisand circa 1966 | Source: Getty Images

BARBRA BECAME A LOVING MOM TO HER ONLY SON

When it was finally Barbra's turn to become a mother, she ensured that her relationship with her son Jason was nothing like her relationship with her mother. She did not want her son to experience the same things she did, so the pair have kept a great relationship with one another through the years. 

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Barbra shares Jason with her ex, Elliott Gould, an Academy Award-nominated actor known for his performances in Robert Altman films in the 1970s and is best known for starring as Jack Geller on "Friends."

Jason ended up inheriting his mother's fantastic voice, and although he hid it for years, he is now open about wanting to sing. 

Elliott Gould and Barbra Streisand attend "Broadway for Peace" on January 21, 1968 | Source: Getty Images

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After Jason opened up about pursuing a music career, Barbra was delighted. She wondered why he did not do it earlier. It turns out he was afraid of being compared to her famous mother. 

Despite this fear, Barbra was positive her son would excel in whatever it was he wanted to do. "No matter what he does, whether it's writing, or pottery, or painting, he's incredible." 

Barbra is exceptionally proud of her son, who once came out as gay. The proud mother once admitted she would never wish for Jason to be someone other than himself. Barbra calls herself blessed for having such a kind, talented, and caring child.

ason Gould and Barbra Streisand attend Barbra Streisand's 75th birthday at Cafe Habana on April 24, 2017 in Malibu, California. | Source: Getty Images

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HAPPILY MARRIED TO HUSBAND OF 23 YEARS

After several failed relationships, Barbra is now in a loving marriage with James Brolin for 23 years. The actor jokingly once shared the secret to their lasting union: "My secret is trying it with the wrong people twice!"

On a more serious note, he shared that marriage is all about learning to deal with what life throws at both of you as a team. He added that both you and your spouse must agree to make sacrifices for the sake of your marriage.

Aside from rolling with the punches, Brolin added that to say you're in a good marriage means other people can tell how silly you both are, which shows how comfortable you are with one another. 

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Barbra Streisand and husband James Brolin at the Elysee Palace in Paris, France, on June 28, 2007 | Source: Getty Images

Both retired entertainers, Brolin and Barbra, were each other's pillars during the pandemic. During their time together, they had fallen in love a lot more and are stronger than ever.  

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