Marlo’s early view on marriage was, “Marriage is like a vacuum cleaner. You stick it to your ear and it sucks out all your energy and ambition”. That was before the staunch feminist met Phil.
They met on his talk show when she was 39 and single. He was 41 and newly divorced after a twenty year marriage. The sparks flew immediately and they connected on a personal level during the interview as though no one else was present. The fact that he lived in Chicago and had custody of his four sons and she lived in LA with her active career perhaps helped the romance bloom. Neither felt under pressure to make a commitment and “even a simple dinner required a plane ride.” They met in 1977, married in 1980. It helped that her father Danny Thomas, whom she loved and respected, also liked Phil.
Their early marriage was constantly under attack by the tabloids and stories of their imminent divorce had Marlo heartbroken. Her father put it in perspective, “On the page across from your divorce story is a woman who gave birth to a whale. Now do you believe the whale story? No? Well, neither does anybody else and no one is gonna believe this either.”
Marlo and Phil have now been married for 24 years in a professional milieu that breaks marriages like eggs on concrete. What makes theirs different? Marlo says, “For Phil and me the most important thing is making time for each other. And of course keeping the laughter coming. Laughter is the cushion of life and certainly of a marriage.”