Shirley Jones was once married to Jack Cassidy, but their marriage failed to last. The actress eventually found love again with her second husband, but she held a secret that linked her to Jack.
Shirley Jones was a virgin and a small-town girl when she met Jack Cassidy at age 21. She revealed that the actor and singer taught her everything about life through him, including parties, drinking, and designing.
The actress described the late star as intelligent, well-read, and bright. In her self-titled memoir, Jones also revealed that when she met Jack, he was still married to another woman, Evelyn Ward, whom he no longer loved.
Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy posing in a black and white photo, circa 1950. | Source: John Springer Collection/Corbis/Getty Images
The couple's marriage was falling apart when Jones met the actor. Ward was still in love with her husband but reluctantly agreed to divorce him, and when she found out he was set on marrying Jones, the former wife sought out revenge.
During Jones and Jack's wedding rehearsal, Ward called her ex-husband. She told him their son, David Cassidy, needed to speak to him, and the little boy who was coached by his mother asked his father why he was marrying someone else.
Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones with their son, David Cassidy, and his date Lynn Dubiou, at the Grammy Awards, in Los Angeles, circa 1975. | Source: Frank Edwards/Archive Photos/Getty Images
Jack was surprised by the question and diverted the conversation to something else before ending the call. Ward had managed to make her ex-husband feel "dreadful" ahead of his wedding day.
The night before the wedding day, Ward called Jack again, claiming David was hysterical about his father marrying someone else. The ex-wife demanded the actor drop everything and fly immediately to New Jersey to explain himself to the little boy.
Shirley Jones, Jack Cassidy, and David Cassidy at the 23rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards on May 9, 1971. | Source: Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images
As guilty as Jack felt, he stood up to Ward and told her she had to deal with David and make him come to terms with his father marrying Jones. Ward blamed the actress for her divorce and didn't know the truth.
However, the ex-wife didn't have to find ways to hurt Jones because Jack did that all by himself. During their marriage, the actor had an affair with Cole Porter and others.
SHIRLEY AND JACK'S SEPARATION, DIVORCE, HIS DIAGNOSIS, AND WANTING TO GET BACK TOGETHER
Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy at Sardi's Restaurant in New York City, on March 10, 1973. | Source: Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images
"The Partridge Family" actress and her husband separated for eight months before reconciling. In 1973, Jack was diagnosed as manic depressive and bipolar, and the following year, he and his wife divorced.
Before the actor died, he reached out to Jones with the hopes of a reconciliation. In her book, she revealed he asked them to get a drink with Jones and asked if they could be together again.
Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones posing for a photo, circa 1961. | Source: Bettmann/Getty Images
The "Oklahoma!" actress told him she couldn't, and he asked if she meant she didn't want to. The star went silent and couldn't answer him, and after pausing for a while, Jack questioned his ex-wife about whether she couldn't understand that they'd had something "dreams are made of."
Showing how much she loved him, the actress told him she knew and thought about it all the time and still did even after his death. That turned out to be the last thing her ex-husband ever said to her.
Shirley Jones with her new son, Patrick William, on January 4, 1962. | Source: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images
On December 12, 1976, Jones received a call at 4 a.m. from her manager's secretary, who informed her Jack's apartment had burned down in a fire. A body was found and determined to be the actor's.
Even though Jones lost Jack, she was lucky to have been left with their three sons, Shaun, Ryan, and Patrick. In a May 2021 Closer Weekly interview, the actress opened up about motherhood.
Shaun Cassidy celebrating his second birthday with his mother Shirley Jones, in New York on October 15, 1960. | Source: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images
"I am an only child, so to have all this family is amazing. You have to enjoy this moment — the now — because that’s really all we have.”
JONES'S RELATIONSHIP WITH HER SECOND HUSBAND
Marty Ingels posing for a portrait with Shirley Jones in 1986, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Harry Langdon/Getty Images
Jones ended up finding love again when she met her second husband. In 1974, she met Marty Ingels when he bumped into her at Michael Landon's home, where he was hosting an art exhibit.
The actress was on her way to get into her car while Ingels was arriving at the event. He knocked her over onto a chez lounge, and after talking, they became friends, and three years later, they got married.
Marty Ingels, Shirley Jones, their housekeeper, and grandchildren at the premiere screening of "The Adventures of Scooter McDougal" on December 22, 2002, in Encino, California. | Source: Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images
In her book, Jones revealed how Ingels made her laugh daily and kept her life from becoming dull. She shared how her husband also thought she still had a beautiful body even though she was older.
Every once in a while, she took off all her clothes and shook herself in front of him, and he loved it! A steady temperament made Jones crave a man who would be exciting and surprising like both her husbands.
Shirley Jones and Marty Ingels during Hollywood Collectors & Celebrities Show on June 28, 2003, in North Hollywood, California. | Source: Eric Isaacs/FilmMagic/Getty Images
Even though the Oscar Award-winning star found happiness with Ingels when she married him, not everyone was happy about their union. The actress' husband said, "Shirley got flowers, and I got death threats."
Despite her joy in the relationship, the couple was still quite different. Ingels revealed how his wife loved him dearly by that they disagreed about everything, and she disapproved of everything he'd ever done.
Marty Ingels and Shirley Jones dressed as the czar and czarina of Fawnskin in Fawn Park, on December 22, 2001. | Source: Anacleto Rapping/Los Angeles Times/Getty Images
However, he acknowledged that marriage didn't last long without issues, especially in a town where it was easy to separate. Jones appeared to be someone who would fight for her marriages no matter what problems they might have.
Despite that revelation, in 2022 the actress [Shirley Jones] and [Marty] Ingels had been in a happy marriage for more than 37 years.
Jack Cassidy and Shirley Jones arrive at the 43rd Annual Academy Awards on April 15, 1971. | Source: Bettmann Archive/Getty Images
Regarding Jack wanting her back after they'd separated, she blamed that on his inability to be alone. She chose to reunite with him because they had children together, and Jones still loved him.
However, her psychiatrist told her it would be a big mistake to take him back because he couldn't be changed. The psychiatrist also urged her not to return to the marriage, thinking she could, and the professional was right.
SHIRLEY'S REVELATIONS ABOUT JACK
Shirley Jones and Jack Cassidy during "A Musical Tribute to Stephen Sondheim" in New York City, on March 11, 1973. | Source: Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images
Jack was only 49 when he passed away in his Los Angeles penthouse apartment. The fire was caused by a lit cigarette that Jones' ex-husband seemingly failed to switch off and was left fuming on a couch.
According to Toledo Blade's April 10, 1983, newspaper article, the actress revealed that Jack had wanted her back until he died. She confessed that she'd wanted him back too and described it as "the terrible part."
Shirley Jones and Marty Ingels at the 3rd annual Jerry Herman Awards on June 1, 2014, in Hollywood, California. | Source: Chelsea Lauren/Getty Images
The star admitted that as much she loved and had an excellent relationship with Ingels, she might've been on another life path if Jack hadn't died. Jones said even if her second husband had been sitting right there, the truth was:
"I'm not sure if Jack were still alive I'd be married to him."
Despite that revelation, in 2022, the actress and Ingels had been in a happy marriage for more than 37 years. The couple is still going strong, and maybe fate decided Jones had to move into a healthier relationship, but no one will ever know the truth.