Amy Yasbeck lost her husband, John Ritter, when she least expected it. However, the actress found love again in the arms of the man helping her with Ritter's wrongful death lawsuit. Here are the details.
Late American Actor John Ritter had a successful career in Hollywood. But, besides his professional accomplishments, he was also a family man. The actor happily married his wife, Amy Yasbeck, before his demise. However, it was not his first marital experience, as he married American Actress Nancy Morgan.
The pair tied the knot in 1977, and their union lasted almost two decades before it ended in 1996. Following his divorce from Morgan, Ritter would find love again in the arms of Yasbeck. The lovebirds met a few years before the actor's first marriage ended.
John Ritter during ABC 2002 Summer Press Tour All - Star Party at Tournament House in Pasadena, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images
Recalling the circumstance surrounding their first encounter, the actress confessed that she auditioned for a role, and her agent called to tell her that she had gotten the part. After relaying the good news, Yasbeck's agent revealed even bigger news — the actress would be working with John Ritter.
According to Yasbeck, as soon as she heard the actor's name from her agent, she had an echoic moment. The actress was thrilled to share a set with "John Ritter."
Eventually, the pair met face to face for the first time at Dennis Dugan's house on September 25, 1989, for a read-through of the movie script.
John Ritter and wife Nancy circa 1983 in New York City. | Source: Getty Images
A few years later, Yasbeck and Ritter's relationship moved from professional and platonic to romantic. In 1998, the lovebirds welcomed their only child, Stella, and they walked down the aisle the following year.
At the time, Yasbeck had a thriving career as an actress, having already featured in productions like "Wings," "Splash Too," "Pretty Woman," "The Mask," "Problem Child I and II," amongst others.
Yet, her busy schedule did not stop her from wanting to start a family. But unfortunately, things would not go the way the actress had envisioned. Only a few years into her blissful marriage to Ritter, tragedy struck.
INSIDE RITTER'S DEATH
John Ritter & Amy Yasbeck during Producer Brad Grey Honored at Project A.L.S. "Friends Finding A Cure" at Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images
In September 2003, Ritter fell ill while filming "8 Simple Rules." He was taken to the Providence St Joseph Medical Center in Burbank, where he was later scheduled to undergo surgery. Yasbeck revealed that just before Ritter went in for surgery, she leaned down to his ear and encouraged him not to be afraid.
The actress's words of encouragement were helpful, as Ritter remained brave. Yasbeck recalled her husband using sign language to say I Love You, while he was wheeled down a hall. Sadly, that was the last time she saw Ritter alive; he died from a torn aorta during surgery.
The doctor informed Yasbeck and the actor's ex-wife that they worked on Ritter for a long time and did their best, but the damage to his aorta had already been done by the time he arrived at the hospital.
John Ritter, wife Amy Yasbeck & daughter during "The Country Bears" Premiere at El Capitan Theatre in Hollywood, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images
Following Ritter's death, Yasbeck and the actor's family sued the doctor, Joseph Lee, and a Radiologist, Matthew Lotysch, for $67 million, but they denied any wrongdoing.
After a lengthy court battle, the doctors were cleared of any medical malpractice related to Ritter's death. Still, Yasbeck's lawyers maintained that the doctors had a hand in the actor's death. One of the attorneys, Michael Plonsker, said:
"We are still convinced the doctors contributed to John's death, but the jury system worked."
YASBECK FINDS LOVE AGAIN
Although the court battle did not go Yasbeck's way, the actress would meet the man who would eventually become her new beloved, in the person of Michael Plonsker. In 2013, many years after the wrongful death lawsuit verdict, the pair appeared together at Comedy Club Roast of James Franco.
Yasbeck looked dashing in a yellow dress with gray designs, sporting brown curls, while Plonsker donned a black suit, a gray shirt, and a striped tie. The pair wrapped their arms around each other, side by side, as they posed for the camera.
Michael J. Plonsker and actress Amy Yasbeck attend AFI's 41st Life Achievement Award Tribute to Mel Brooks at Dolby Theatre on June 6, 2013 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images
Almost three months earlier, Yasbeck and Plonsker had attended AFI's 41st Life Achievement Award Tribute to Mel Brooks.
They appeared on the red carpet together, with a side-by-side embrace pose. The actress looked ravishing in a green dress while the lawyer wore a black suit, white shirt, and black tie.
Michael Plonsker, Stella Ritter and actress Amy Yasbeck attend the 15th Annual DesignCare on July 27, 2013 in Malibu, California. | Source: Getty Images
Besides being seen together at events, netizens also see the duo in rare pictures on Yasbeck's Instagram page. In July 2021, the actress shared a lovely selfie of her and Plonsker and captioned it:
In the snap, Yasbeck could be seen donning a black top and a plain brown hat over her gorgeous brown hair. Her man looked cool in a blue T-shirt and matching cap. The pair finished off their looks with dark star-shaped glasses.
Plonsker does not only share a great relationship with Yasbeck but also with her child, Stella, and a July 2013 snapshot from the 15th Annual Designcare gala, proves it. The photo shows Yasbeck, Stella, and Plonsker posing together and looking elegant on the red carpet.
PRESERVING RITTER'S LEGACY
Amy Yasbeck and John Ritter during "101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure" Premiere at El Capitan Theater in Hollywood, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images
Since Ritter died, Yasbeck has done many things to preserve the actor's legacy, one of which is giving her blessing for the continuation of "8 Simple Rules," the sitcom Ritter was working on before his demise. Also, the actress runs the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health, which she founded a few weeks after the actor died.
The foundation aims at raising awareness for thoracic aortic disease through genetic research, radical advocacy, and widespread education. Over a decade after establishing the foundation, Yasbeck said goodbye to her and Ritter's longtime home.
The home, which was initially built in 1982, and bought by the former couple in 1996 for about $2.2 million, was put on sale at $6.5 million in 2017. The property witnessed many beautiful memories of the couple and their child, which Yasbeck will never forget.
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