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John Travolta | Source: Getty Images
John Travolta | Source: Getty Images

5 Celebs Who Refused to Remarry after the Love of Their Life Died – What Happened to Them

Milly Wanjiku Ndirangu
Jun 24, 2024
12:15 P.M.
  • Losing a spouse is a heart-wrenching experience, especially when they are the love of your life.
  • While many people might remarry after such a loss, some choose not to, keeping their partners' memories alive.
  • Here, we explore the lives of five celebrities who remained single after their beloved spouses passed away.
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The death of a loved one leaves an irreplaceable void. For some celebrities, the bond they shared with their late spouses was so profound that they chose not to remarry. Their lives are filled with memories and ongoing tributes to their beloved. These stories show how they coped with their loss and continued their journeys.

Richard Gilliland on February 1, 2010 | Source: Getty Images

Richard Gilliland on February 1, 2010 | Source: Getty Images

Among these celebrities is John Travolta, who holds dear memories of his late wife. On the other hand, Martin Short's love for his wife didn't end when she died. Let's look at how they and others have honored their late spouses and coped with their unexpected loss.

Martin Short's late wife as seen on October 31, 1980 | Source: Getty Images

Martin Short's late wife as seen on October 31, 1980 | Source: Getty Images

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Jean Smart: Coping with Unexpected Loss

Jean Smart's world turned upside down when her husband, Richard Gilliland, died unexpectedly in March 2021. The couple had a beautiful life with their two sons, Forrest and Connor. Gilliland's sudden death from a heart condition left Smart and her family in shock.

Richard Gilliland and Jean Smart  in Hollywood, California on August 19, 2006 | Source: Getty Images

Richard Gilliland and Jean Smart in Hollywood, California on August 19, 2006 | Source: Getty Images

Reflecting on the loss, Smart described it as "the worst," sharing how she initially thought he had COVID-19. She vividly recalls taking him to multiple places for tests, only to realize later that more critical diagnostics like an EKG were overlooked. This frustration added to her grief, making it even harder to accept his passing.

Jean Smart in West Hollywood, California on June 20, 2024 | Source: Getty Images

Jean Smart in West Hollywood, California on June 20, 2024 | Source: Getty Images

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Despite the immense pain, Smart has been trying to move forward. She often finds herself in disbelief, struggling to comprehend a life without her partner of 35 years. Her journey through grief is ongoing, filled with memories of their time together. As we transition to Ann-Margret's story, we see another tale of love and strength.

Ann-Margret during the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival on April 15, 2023 | Source: Getty Images

Ann-Margret during the 2023 TCM Classic Film Festival on April 15, 2023 | Source: Getty Images

Ann-Margret: A Devotion That Lasted a Lifetime

Ann-Margret and her husband, Roger Smith, shared a love story that lasted a little over 50 years. They married in 1967 and remained devoted to each other until Smith died.

Ann-Margret marries Roger Smith in 1967 | Source: Getty Images

Ann-Margret marries Roger Smith in 1967 | Source: Getty Images

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Their bond was unbreakable, built on mutual interests and deep affection. Even before their marriage, Ann-Margret had a high-profile romance with Elvis Presley. However, it was Smith who became her life partner.

nn-Margret and Husband Roger Smith at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in California in 1987 | Source: Getty Images

nn-Margret and Husband Roger Smith at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in California in 1987 | Source: Getty Images

Their marriage was a partnership in every sense. Smith eventually became Ann-Margret's manager, ensuring they were never apart due to work commitments.

Ann-Margret and Roger Smith the 48th Academy Awards in Los Angeles in 1976 | Source: Getty Images

Ann-Margret and Roger Smith the 48th Academy Awards in Los Angeles in 1976 | Source: Getty Images

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She once said, "In Roger, I've found all the men I need rolled into one — a father, a friend, a lover, a manager, a businessman. It's perfect for me." Despite the challenges they faced, they remained steadfastly united. Ann-Margaret never left Smith's side even during his long battle with myasthenia gravis and Parkinson's disease.

Ann-Margret and her husband Roger Smith on March 30, 2017 | Source: Getty Images

Ann-Margret and her husband Roger Smith on March 30, 2017 | Source: Getty Images

She cared for him devotedly during his illness, putting her career on hold to be his caregiver. A close friend noted that Ann-Margret believed a great love story doesn't end with death; she carries his spirit with her. Her dedication to her husband continued even after his death.

Ann- Margret honored at the Women's Image Network Awards on February 21, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California | Source: Getty Images

Ann- Margret honored at the Women's Image Network Awards on February 21, 2024 in Beverly Hills, California | Source: Getty Images

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Today, Ann-Margret remains active in her career, finding solace in her work and the memories of their life together. Next, we see how Mel Brooks navigated life after losing his beloved wife, Anne Bancroft.

Mel Brooks and Ann Bancroft in Cannes, France on May 15, 1991 | Source: Getty Images

Mel Brooks and Ann Bancroft in Cannes, France on May 15, 1991 | Source: Getty Images

Mel Brooks: Cherishing a Love That Spanned Decades

Mel Brooks shared over four decades of his life with his beloved wife, Anne Bancroft. The two met in 1961 and married in 1964, forming a partnership that was both personal and professional. Bancroft, already a renowned actress, fell for Brooks' humor and honesty, despite his financial struggles early in their relationship.

Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks smile for a publicity photo in 1983. | Source: Getty Images

Anne Bancroft and Mel Brooks smile for a publicity photo in 1983. | Source: Getty Images

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Their love was a true Hollywood romance. They acted together in several films. Brooks often reminisced about how they could spend 24 hours together without getting bored.

Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft in New York City, on June 24, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft in New York City, on June 24, 2002. | Source: Getty Images

Bancroft's death in 2005 from uterine cancer left Brooks devastated. He admitted that living without her was not easy, describing life after her as a challenge. Yet, he finds solace in the memories they shared and continues to work in the industry.

Mel Brooks at the Saban Theatre on May 18, 2023, in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

Mel Brooks at the Saban Theatre on May 18, 2023, in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images

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Brooks also cherishes time with his grandchildren, who bring him joy and keep him engaged. This lasting love story takes us to the journey of Martin Short, who also faced the heartbreaking loss of his spouse.

Martin Short on March 7, 2019 in New York City. | Photo: Getty Images

Martin Short on March 7, 2019 in New York City. | Photo: Getty Images

Martin Short: Navigating Life After a Heartbreaking Loss

Martin Short, a beloved comedian and actor, shared a beautiful marriage with Nancy Dolman. Their marriage lasted 36 years until she died in 2010 from ovarian cancer.

Martin Short with his wife Nancy Dolman on December 6, 2009 in Washington, DC | Photo: Getty Images

Martin Short with his wife Nancy Dolman on December 6, 2009 in Washington, DC | Photo: Getty Images

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Their love story began in 1972 when they met during the Toronto production of "Godspell." Despite initially dating Gilda Radner, it was Dolman, Radner's understudy, who ultimately captured Short's heart.

The couple married in 1980 and built a life together with their three children. Short often credits Dolman for their lasting marriage, once saying, "I would have been divorced five times if I hadn't found the right person."

Martin Short with his wife Nancy Dolman on October 1, 2009 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

Martin Short with his wife Nancy Dolman on October 1, 2009 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images

Her passing left him devastated, but he continues to cherish the memories of their life together. Despite the pain, he has found ways to keep Dolman's memory alive. He often imagines how she would react to various events in his life. Short has focused on raising their children, Katherine, Oliver, and Henry, who are now grown.

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Martin Short, wife Nancy Dolman, and kids Katherine, Henry and Oliver on August 17, 2006 | Source: Getty Images

Martin Short, wife Nancy Dolman, and kids Katherine, Henry and Oliver on August 17, 2006 | Source: Getty Images

He continues to bring joy to others through his work, proving that love and laughter can coexist even after a significant loss. Our final story is about John Travolta, who also chose to remain single after the love of his life passed away.

John Travolta and his wife attend the Deauville Film Festival on January 9, 1991 | Source: Getty Images

John Travolta and his wife attend the Deauville Film Festival on January 9, 1991 | Source: Getty Images

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John Travolta: Embracing Fatherhood After Tragic Loss

John Travolta, the iconic Hollywood star, experienced a devastating loss when his wife passed away. Kelly Preston died in 2020 after battling breast cancer.

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The couple, who married in 1991, had shared nearly three decades of love and built a beautiful family with their children: Ella and Benjamin. Tragically, they had already faced heartache with the loss of their son Jett in 2009.

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Preston and Travolta celebrated their 28th wedding anniversary just months before her passing. On that special day, Preston expressed deep love and admiration for her husband in a heartfelt Instagram post. She called him "the most wonderful man I know" and praised his support and love.

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Travolta publicly announced Preston's death with a heavy heart. He expressed his grief and the courage she showed during her battle with cancer. In a 2021 interview, Travolta spoke about dealing with grief. He emphasized that mourning is unique to each individual and that healing comes from navigating one's own path.

Now, Travolta focuses on raising Ella and Benjamin as a single father, often paying tribute to Preston and cherishing their memories. His love for Preston and commitment to their children closes this chapter of long-lasting love and devotion.

These stories showcase the deep and enduring love these five celebrities had for their spouses. Each one faced unimaginable loss but chose to honor their partners' memories by not remarrying.

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