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Tim Allen Left Ex-wife of 15 Years ‘In the Back Seat’ When He Found Fame Despite Her Support in His Career

Bettina Dizon
Apr 08, 2022
12:30 P.M.
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Tim Allen was once married to his college sweetheart. However, their relationship ended in divorce as the pursuit of his acting career led to their downfall. He later found love again with a fellow actress and became a proud girl dad.


Known for being the voice behind "Toy Story's" Buzz Lightyear and one of the main casts in "Home Improvement," Tim Allen is a doting father of two and husband to his wife of 12 years.

He was once married to his college sweetheart, who stood by him during the challenges in pursuit of his acting career. However, Allen let his family down while chasing his dreams, destroying his marriage years later.

(L) Tim Allen candidly photographed during a red carpet event. (R) Laura Deibel and Tim Allen during the Final Wrap Party for "Home Improvement" at Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images



While pursuing success in his career, Allen experienced making mistakes navigating his life, including an alcohol problem. In 1997, he voluntarily checked into rehab following an arrest in Michigan due to driving under the influence.

At that time, he admitted to having two Miller Lites and vodka with orange juice while waiting for his wife, who was receiving medical treatment. Then they proceeded to have dinner and drinks.

Tim Allen's mug shot following his arrest in Kalamazoo, Michigan, US, October 2, 1978. | Source: Getty Images


However, his fondness for alcohol began in his youth and was exacerbated when his father tragically died in a Colorado car accident. "After my old man died, I really just played games with people and told adults what they wanted to hear and then stole their booze," he said and added:

“Really, I was ['Leave It to Beaver's] Eddie Haskell: 'Yes, Mrs. Cleaver. No, Mrs. Cleaver.' I knew exactly what adults wanted – make your bed, be polite, use a napkin – and then I'd go steal everything in the house.”

The actor later found himself in legal trouble due to drugs. In 1978, he was caught with over a pound of cocaine at Michigan's International Airport. Allen served more than two years in jail at the age of 23 with a mugshot that haunted him throughout his career.


Tim Allen smiles for his role on "Home Development," September 17, 1991. | Source: Getty Images

While behind bars, Allen kept quiet and obeyed orders. "It was the first time ever I did what I was told and played the game," he said and added:


“I learned literally how to live day by day, and I learned how to shut up. You definitely want to learn how to shut up.”

In the middle of it all, Allen found his break with "Home Improvement's" eighth season, then among ABC's highly-rated sitcoms. Suddenly his path was set straight as the actor authored a best-selling book, "Don't Stand Too Close to a Naked Man," and landed starring roles in "Toy Story" and “The Santa Clause."


Tim Allen and Laura Deibel during the Golden Globe Awards Show, January 19, 1997 in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images


When Allen finally found success in his career, his family life suffered and fell apart. At that time, he was married to his college sweetheart, Laura Deibel, with whom he shares one daughter, Kady. Deibel showed tireless support to her spouse during his arrest and career challenges. 

At that time, she was an interior landscape sales manager who always adjusted to her husband's needs. Allen's friend and business partner, Rob Cowin, said:

“She supported him [emotionally] all those years, and then he became famous, and she was in the back seat.”

Tim Allen during the world premiere of Disney and Pixar's "Toy Story 4" at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. | Source: Getty Images


Like many couples, the pair had their fair share of arguments, but their fights became "more intense" as time passed.

Kady would sometimes visit her father's tapings, but Allen's wife was not as present since she was raising their child and trying to keep their home together. When "Home Improvement" ended, their lives suddenly changed. Cowin said:

“[Allen's] like a CEO who retires after 30 years on the job and suddenly comes home and has nothing to do but bother his wife. He's driving her crazy.”


Laura Diebel and Tim Allen at The 52nd Annual Golden Globe Awards at Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images


Allen and Deibel's divorce came as a surprise as they were spotted as a family four days before the news surfaced. She first filed for legal separation, citing irreconcilable differences, and requested custody of their daughter.

Allen's friend, George Kutlenios, said, "they were lifelong soulmates." Meanwhile, the actor's mom, Martha Bones, revealed that "the situation is very unhappy for everyone."

Admittedly, Allen acknowledged his mistakes in the relationship. He never saw his then-nine-year-old daughter and left his family on the sidelines while pursuing a Hollywood career.

Tim Allen and Laura Deibel during the 18th Annual Elton John AIDS Foundation Oscar Party at Pacific Design Center on March 7, 2010 in West Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images


Friends close to the couple hoped Allen and Deibel would reconcile, and although they remained close friends, they never went back to being lovers. Following their split, she still helps her ex-husband run their charitable foundation.


After a series of struggles, Allen can proudly say that he learned from his mistakes and even found love again. The actor said:

“It put me in a position of great humility, and I was able to make amends to friends and family and refocus my life on setting and achieving goals.”

Tim Allen and Jane Hajduk during the after party for the premiere of Netflix's "Queer Eye" Season 1 at the Pacific Design Center on February 7, 2018 in West Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images


Allen married fellow actress Jane Hajduk after five years of dating. Their intimate wedding ceremony was held in Colorado and only had a few guests.

"I'm not the same guy I was the first time [I was married] when I was hiding and doing what people who drink too much do," Allen said. "I was not connected, but I've been sober for almost 20 years. I'm much more present."


Today, Allen is a proud father to two daughters, 20 years apart. According to the star, both don't find him funny. "The older one will roll her eyes, and the younger one just stares at me – I think she's done with me,” he said, but it doesn't mean he stopped trying to make them laugh.


Jane Hajduk, Tim Allen, and their kids during the world premiere of Disney and Pixar's TOY STORY 4 at the El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, CA on Tuesday, June 11, 2019. | Source: Getty Images

However, his younger daughter finds Allen's role as Buzz Lightyear interesting, while his older daughter, who was born before “Toy Story” came out, is used to it.


Raising girls has always been a wonderful experience for the actor, but fatherhood the second time around was quite different. 

“I was gone so much in my first marriage,” he said. “I love the moments when I engage with my youngest daughter now. It's not my thing to sit on the ground and play tea party, but I'll do it because it's a moment that will stick with me forever.”

Jane Hajduk, Tim Allen, and Katherine Allen during the 8th Annual TV Land Awards at Sony Studios on April 17, 2010 in Culver City, California. | Source: Getty Images

Like Allen, there are many proud girl dads in the entertainment industry, including Martin Lawrence, who is a father to three beautiful daughters.