William Daniels, Mr. Feeny at Boy Meets World, has been married to actress Bonnie Bartlett Daniels for 72 years — not all of them monogamous. As 93-year-old Bartlett Daniels recounts in her new memoir, Middle of the Rainbow, the couple opened up about their marriage at a “very painful” time in their lives.
“I think it was a little bit of an open marriage at first, but it was very painful,” Bartlett Daniels said in an interview with Fox News Digital. “That didn’t work well. And it was a time when people did. It was a time in New York when there was a lot of sex and a lot of people were doing all kinds of things, you know – very freely. But I don’t know if there was a bit of a lack of commitment, and that’s not good. So there was a lot of pain associated with every transgression, with every extramarital thing.”
Daniels and Bartlett Daniels played together at St. Elsewhere, and in 1986 they both won the Emmy Awards on the same night. At this point, they were a rock solid power couple, although they had to overcome a few issues to get to this point. In 1959, she had “an affair that lasted several months” with a “slightly boring” actor with whom “the sex was good.”
“I never felt guilty because I never felt committed to allegiance, and neither did Bill,” she wrote in her memoir. But tensions rose in the 1970s, when her husband had an affair with a female producer that left her “devastated.” After that, she noted, “she couldn’t tolerate an open marriage anymore.”
“It was very painful for both of us,” recalls the 93-year-old. “But it was something we had to go through because we never went through it. I was 18 when we got together. Bill was my first boyfriend… We just had to go through it all and yet we loved each other very much and have always loved each other. [We] were always there for each other. That’s what matters – if you are there for the person and help [them] together in a relationship [have] Respect for them and what they do and being there for them… [You have to] be together on the other side.”
As she explained, the couple has “grown up.”
“Bill and I progressed day by day and eventually the days added up,” she wrote. “We were happy together and sad together and kind of stayed together for seven decades.”
The couple continue to live happily and safely together — at least as long as 95-year-old Daniels is around. A few years ago, at the age of 91, he scared away burglars from the couple’s shared apartment.