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Ted Danson Found 'Physical Love' with Whoopi Goldberg despite Loving His Wife on a Spiritual Level

Esther NJeri
Jul 24, 2022
11:40 P.M.
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It was love at first sight for Ted Danson and Casey Coates. He was dedicated to her, especially after she suffered a near-fatal stroke when delivering their child. Even so, he still sought physical love with Whoopi Goldberg in a short-lived affair that ended his marriage.

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Since they first met, Ted Danson had always been in love with his wife, interior designer Casey Coates. The two met in 1976, and it was love at first sight. He took her to a Mexican restaurant, where they sat talking until 4 a.m.

They married the following year and moved to Los Angeles in 1978. Danson's career was just taking off at the time, but when his wife suffered a near-fatal stroke while delivering their baby, Kate, he put his acting on hold to care for her and their newborn.

Ted Danson and Casey Coates during Variety Arts Club Celebrity Tribute to Lucille Ball at NBC TV Studios in Burbank, California, United States in November 1984 | Source: Getty Images

Ted Danson and Casey Coates during Variety Arts Club Celebrity Tribute to Lucille Ball at NBC TV Studios in Burbank, California, United States in November 1984 | Source: Getty Images

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Coates felt the same way about her husband. She loved him to bits and could not understand how he portrayed the role of a womanizer on TV while she knew him to be a faithful man at home. She would say:

"He usually plays womanizing men, and that's the last thing he ever was."

Ted Danson and Casey Coates during 39th Annual Emmy Awards - September 20, 1987 at Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California, United States | Source: Getty Images

Ted Danson and Casey Coates during 39th Annual Emmy Awards - September 20, 1987 at Pasadena Civic Auditorium in Pasadena, California, United States | Source: Getty Images

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Danson held his marriage in high regard and looked up to his parents, who'd been married for 45 years, and his grandparents, who had been married for 40 years. He would always say:

"I was born married. I consider myself a family man, partially because my parents did it so damned well."

Ted Danson and Casey Coates during 1st Annual Environmental Awards at Sony Studios in Culver City, California, United States in September 1991 | Source: Getty Images

Ted Danson and Casey Coates during 1st Annual Environmental Awards at Sony Studios in Culver City, California, United States in September 1991 | Source: Getty Images

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Dedicated as he was to his wife, he began to notice changes after they had a baby. The trauma of the stroke caused a massive rift between them, and they had plenty of trust issues. He would confess:

"We were adjusting to the fact that we weren't the same people we were before it happened."

DANSON'S AFFAIR

Ted Danson at the 48th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 19 1991 | Source: Getty Images

Ted Danson at the 48th Annual Golden Globe Awards on January 19 1991 | Source: Getty Images

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Danson continued to dote on his wife, even as their differences drifted them apart. They remained committed, and by Danson's admission, the idea of having other relationships boggled his mind.

Despite his love for Coates, which he referred to as spiritual, things drastically turned when he sought physical love elsewhere — with actress Whoopi Goldberg.

Danson and Goldberg met on the set of the comic love story "Made in America." Besides their undeniable on-screen chemistry, they spend plenty of time together off work.

Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Danson in a scene from the film 'Made In America', 1993. | Source: Getty Images

Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Danson in a scene from the film 'Made In America', 1993. | Source: Getty Images

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Back then, many men on TV were considered good-looking and funny, but the women were just comical or comely. Danson disagreed. He thought Goldberg was sexy and funny. She would confess that no one before him had acknowledged her beauty, saying:

"This was the first time that anyone had intimated publicly that I was actually very feminine and very pretty."

As the affair blossomed, it became open to the world, and eventually, Coates caught wind of it. She sank into depression, which led to her hospitalization.

Whoopi Goldberg stands with boyfriend Ted Danson at the New York Friars Club in 1993 | Source: Getty Images

Whoopi Goldberg stands with boyfriend Ted Danson at the New York Friars Club in 1993 | Source: Getty Images

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Goldberg and Danson's forbidden love continued for a while as they tried to keep it secret. Eventually, though, they came public during a roast at a Friars Club roast in New York City in Whoopi's honor.

Danson stepped on stage in blackface and stunned his audience with racial and sexual jokes that touched on Goldberg's physical appearance. While the roast became controversial, it also meant their relationship was out in public.

Ted Danson appears in black face during New York Friars Club Roast of Whoopi Goldberg in 1993 | Source: Getty Images

Ted Danson appears in black face during New York Friars Club Roast of Whoopi Goldberg in 1993 | Source: Getty Images

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During a 1993 interview with Bobby Wygant, Goldberg disclosed that she did not find fault with her biracial relationship with Danson and that her daughter wanted a relationship with him.

The publicity of their relationship was the final straw that broke the camel's back. Coates finally filed for divorce in June 1993, ending their 16 years of marriage for a dalliance that lasted a short 18 months. She walked away with $30 million in the divorce settlement, although some sources claim it was $80 million.

A ROMANCE THAT WAS NOT TO BE

Ted Danson and Whoopi Goldberg at the Ritz Hotel in April 1993 | Source: Getty Images

Ted Danson and Whoopi Goldberg at the Ritz Hotel in April 1993 | Source: Getty Images

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Danson's appearance in blackface at a Friars Club roast was an ill-advised attempt to lampoon their interracial romance. Still, the embarrassment that followed was too much for the couple to take, and Danson ended the relationship.

The pair disclosed that while they hoped to keep their relationship away from the public, it proved impossible now that the people had their eye on them. They said in a joint statement soon after they announced they had parted ways:

"Although we had hoped, perhaps naively, that we could keep our private lives private, it has become increasingly apparent that this is not possible."

Actress Whoopi Goldberg attends 12th Annual ACE Awards on January 13, 1991 at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

Actress Whoopi Goldberg attends 12th Annual ACE Awards on January 13, 1991 at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Some reports say the breakup was unrelated to Danson's racial-slur-laden monologue, but what remains clear is that it hurt Goldberg deeply. She shared, as Closer Weekly reports:

"It was real painful, and it was very public. And the loss of his friendship hurts a great deal. We can never go and have a soda anywhere. I'm friends with almost every man I've gone out with, except this man."

Following the highly publicized breakup, the two moved on with their lives, and soon after, Goldberg was spotted around town with Beverly Hills orthodontist Dr. Jeffrey Cohen.

Whoopi Goldberg during 45th Annual Tony Awards at Minskoff Theater in New York City, New York, United States in June 1991 | Source: Getty Images

Whoopi Goldberg during 45th Annual Tony Awards at Minskoff Theater in New York City, New York, United States in June 1991 | Source: Getty Images

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The actress, however, denied any insinuations of a romance and declared that Cohen was her doctor and friend. On the other hand, a year down the line, Danson met a woman and fell in love again.

Forty-six at the time, Danson set out on a five-hour canoe ride on California's Big River with Mary Steenburgen for the 1994 film "Pontiac Moon." Danson recalls the moment he fell in love:

"We paddled in sync. We went out as friends, and by the time we came back, we were in love."

Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen during the premiere of "Gulliver's Travels" in 1996  | Source: Getty Images

Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen during the premiere of "Gulliver's Travels" in 1996 | Source: Getty Images

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They had both had tumultuous relationships in the past — Danson had been married and divorced twice, while Steenburgen was a single mother of two — and had given up on love.

Steenburgen's first impression of Danson was that he was ridiculous, but after talking to him, she realized he was more profound and wittier than he let on. They married in 1995 and have been together since.

Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen attend Oceana's 14th Annual SeaChange Summer Party hosted by Ted Danson on October 23, 2021 in Laguna Beach, California. | Source: Getty Images

Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen attend Oceana's 14th Annual SeaChange Summer Party hosted by Ted Danson on October 23, 2021 in Laguna Beach, California. | Source: Getty Images

On the other hand, the "Sister Act" actress has never been excited about marriage. She has been married three times, with her final one to Lyle Trachtenberg ending in 1995.

The actress explained that marriage wasn't for her and only did it because that's what others expected of her. "They expect you to get married. So I kept trying to do that." She mused.

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