Inside 'Cheers' Ted Danson's 24-Year-Long Marriage
Actor Ted Danson found true love when he expected it the least. After two failed marriages, Ted feels grateful to “love as a human being and to be loved.” However, his path to love wasn't an easy one. Tight-lipped about most of his private life, Ted never gave a reason for his failed marriage to his first wife and college sweetheart, Randall Gosch. After the couple went their separate ways, Ted then married producer Cassandra Coates in 1977. Keep reading to find out the heartbreak, financial troubles, and affairs that sent Danson's life into a spiral.
THE MOMENT THEIR LIVES CHANGES
Their lives was turned upside down when Cassandra suffered a stroke while giving birth to their daughter Kate two years later. When his wife was left paralyzed on her left side after the stroke, Ted put his acting career on hold to take care of her. Even though the couple later adopted their second daughter Alexis, Cassandra’s stroke had caused a “huge rift” between them. "We were adjusting to the fact that we weren't the same people we were before it happened," Ted explained to Closer Weekly.
While Ted and Cassandra found themselves in different places emotionally, Ted got cast as Sam Malone in the 1980s sitcom “Cheers.” The show’s popularity made Ted a household name and later described his time on the show as an “amazing” period in his career.
“I’m forever grateful — it was an amazing 11 years of my life,” Ted noted. “I walk around, and people smile at me because they remember something funny that I was part of on Cheers.”
HIS COSTLY AFFAIR WITH WHOOPI
Then Ted teamed up with Whoopi Goldberg for the film “Made in America,” wherein Whoopi played a widow who turned to a sperm bank in order to conceive a child. She eventually had a daughter, who she later found out was fathered by a white car salesman (played by Ted Danson), rather than the requested “smart, black, and not too tall” man. While the movie tackled racial differences, Whoopi said that it highlighted the lack of boundaries one finds with real love.
"I don't think people care about your color; in the dark, you don't know the difference. This film is not about Ted being white, and me being black-that just allows the story to take off. I know lots of interracial couples, and it never comes up. You don't sit up in bed drinking your coffee and say, `Damn, you look white today,'" she said.
But while Whoopi and Ted’s characters had an onscreen relationship, the two actors developed on offscreen romance as well. Still married to Cassandra at the time, Ted’s affair with Whoopi led to their divorce after it went public. Ted Danson was at the peak of his career with a happy marriage when he starred in the movie with Whoopi Goldberg. They acted together so well, too well that they started seeing each other off-screen. The public was shocked as their connection was unexpected.
They made perfect harmony on the screen, but we didn't know they would take it to the next level. Their union cannot be denied as they couldn't stay away from each other. They first met on the Joan Rivers Show. We all thought what was going on between them was serious when he eagerly left his wife and two kids. But suddenly after a year and a half long of romance, they released a statement that they had split up. Guesstimates are that their breakup was majorly caused by Ted's parents' disapproval of the relationship.
ONE OF THE MOST EXPENSIVE DIVORCES
Cassandra and Ted’s $30 million divorce in 1993 became one of the most expensive in Hollywood while his relationship with Whoopi ended soon afterwards as well. While people wanted to know more about their relationship, Whoopi never elaborated while Ted made it clear that he didn’t want to share details either. "I feel like I enjoy the company of Whoopi deeply and my private life is my private life,” he said.
TED FINDS LOVE ONCE AGAIN
The following year Ted got cast in the film “Pontiac Moon” alongside Mary Steenburgen, and the pair fell in love during the filming of a canoe scene that took several hours. "We paddled in sync," he recalled. "We went out as friends, and by the time we came back, we were in love ... Ironic how life works in those moments. Once you throw up your arms and surrender, a lot of times things come your way."
WHAT HIS WIFE ACTUALLY THOUGHT OF HIM
According to Steenburg, her opinion of her future husband wasn’t necessarily the greatest. When they first got acquainted, Danson, reportedly, was sporting a ridiculous new hairstyle at the time that he’d gotten for the role. In an interview with ‘CBS This Morning,’ Mary recalled that she thought he was “the most ridiculous creature I’ve ever met in my entire life.”
Because she was already familiar with his character from ‘Cheers,’ Steenburg believed that Danson might be the same, flirty bartender he played on the show in real-life: “I actually believed that he was sort of superficial and slick,” she admitted, although she realized later on that he was much less “slick” than most people would think.
WHAT THEIR MARRIAGE IS REALLY LIKE
As soon as the two met, the rest became history. Danson and Steenburgen’s love and bond only deepened with time, and the pair has become one of Hollywood’s long-lasting couples. In fact, according to Ted, he still gets “nervous around her because I want to impress her.” And he once shared with US Weekly: “If I were to die, I can say, I know what it’s like to be loved and to love.”
Mary confirmed that their romance hasn’t died, despite all the time that’s passed. Her husband tells her she’s beautiful every day. In addition, she shared with ‘CBS This Morning’: “It’s just so rare that you meet somebody that you’re endlessly fascinated by. And I am endlessly fascinated by him.”
Even Kristen Bell, Danson’s co-star in the series ‘Good Place,’ attested to the fact, saying that their marriage is truly amazing. The actress told AARP: “It’s almost intimidating spending time with Ted and Mary because of how solid and loving and connected they are. Honestly, it’s beautiful how they obsess over each other.”
IT REALLY IS TRUE LOVE
Mary and Ted got together in their 40s, and make the most of their relationship by showing how much they love each other daily: “We’re at an age when every single day is important to us,” Mary told Closer Weekly. “We just love that we found somebody in life that we get such a huge kick out of. We’re very romantic all the time.”
Ted feels the same after 25 years of marriage to Mary and successful acting career as he said in February 2019, “We wake up and celebrate literally every day. If we didn’t, we’d be idiots because we’re so lucky. We have great kids and grandkids, and we have each other. We’re madly in love.”
Lately, the couple spends their time helping each other learn their lines and taking “major naps.” Besides regular joint appearances in “Curb Your Enthusiasm,” Mary also starred in Fox’s “The Last Man on Earth,” which aired for three years from 2015 until 2018. Ted, on the other hand, got cast as Michael, the supernatural being on the NBC sitcom, “The Good Place,” which first aired in 2016.
Even though Ted had starred in memorable roles over the years, people often remembered him from his early days as an actor. After Ted earned his degree in drama from Carnegie-Mellon University in Pittsburgh, he appeared in soap operas, a few plays, and many commercials before his career took off.
“You never get to be known for what you want to be known for,” Ted told PEOPLE in 1987. “People always come up and say, ‘Hey, weren’t you in that lemon chiffon commercial?” But more than two decades after Ted’s fame in “Cheers” came to an end; rumors circulated that the show might get revived the same way other shows from the era like “Roseanne” and “Fuller House” had been. But the show’s creator, James Burrows, who also directed episodes of “Taxi,” “Friends,” and “Frasier,” finally spoke out and set the record straight regarding the future of the popular sitcom.
KATE DANSON: A BLOSSOMING STAR
Although we’re not hearing much about her now, it seems like things might be changing soon for Kate Danson - Ted Danson’s daughter. At 33 years old, Kate is finally making her off-Broadway debut in ‘The Drowning Girls.’
When it comes to acting, Danson admits that she went through a “rebellious” phase, where she purposely went against the family craft. She recalls: “I was like, ‘No, I’m going to be an individual. But then I started to realize that acting is what I want to do . . . it brings me a lot of pleasure.” With only some small parts in television and a few short roles in stage-acting, Danson was feeling slightly intimidated getting into show business. Alas, to her relief, her famous dad was right by her side for some much-needed pep talk:
“He’s been amazing. My dad and stepmom [Academy Award-winner Mary Steenburgen] both have been running lines with me over the phone from LA throughout this whole process.”
Danson spoke about the moment she finally confessed to her father about wanting to act: “When I told my dad this was what I definitely wanted to do, he said something like, ‘Welcome to the family business.” The actress added:
“I feel like I’ve gotten to know him better, too, now that I’m acting. Know him as an actor. That’s been really sweet. The thing he always tells me is just to have fun and enjoy it, and if you ever stop enjoying it in the moment, try to just listen to the other person you’re working with.”
Before starring in “The Drowning Girls,” Kate worked alongside her father on “CSI.” She spoke about the surreal experience: “I thought, ‘Oh my God. This will be so strange, acting with him.’ But it wasn’t.” The actress also shared,
“One chunk of dialogue I say straight to my dad, and I could see his eyes kind of widening like, ‘Oh my God, I can’t believe this is happening.’ It was cute. I could tell he was having a moment, like, ‘This is so wild.’ ”
Who would've thought that Danson's life was such a rollercoaster of emotions! However, it seems that age has truly brought him the peace that he was looking for. With a successful, loving marriage, and a daughter that's following in his footsteps, things have finally turned around for Ted.