The third time is always the charm and this may just be true for the former Hollywood actress, Betty White who met the love of her life after two failed marriages. She was first married to Dick Barker for 8 months and later to Lane Allen for 2 years. Even though she had given up on love, Allen Ludden’s enthusiasm and persistence got her to say “Yes” as an Easter gift in 1963, and their love transcended time and space.
Betty would have never become a legendary actress if she had given in to the demands of her first husband who wanted her on his chicken farm and her second husband who wanted a stay-at-home wife. In this article, we will explore why she described her first two marriages as rehearsals and how she would later find love while pursuing her passion in the entertainment industry.
Meet Betty White’s Husbands
She was married to Dick Barker for Less than a Year
As hinted already, the first man Betty got married to was a chicken farmer and former military pilot named Dick Barker. He was born on August 16, 1914, and grew up in Ohio. The pair first met during World War II when Betty was working with the American Women Voluntary Services (AWVS) and he was serving as a military pilot.
The two were introduced to each other during a dance night while she was still a volunteer. They soon became friends and it wasn’t long before they started dating and later got engaged in 1942. Following the engagement, her husband-to-be would travel to the United States and they maintained a long-distance relationship before getting married on July 7 1945 when the war ended.
Betty who had a passion for acting would have her dreams kept aside as she lived on Barker’s chicken farm in Ohio. Unfortunately, their union only lasted for 6 months and Beety described living on the farm as a nightmare. She noted that they only had physical chemistry and just wanted to sleep together but nothing more. She also revealed that the marriage took her away from her family in Los Angeles and career as an actress.
Lane Allen Became Betty White’s Husband from 1947 to 1949
After Betty’s first marriage ended, she started a relationship with the Hollywood agent, casting director, and actor, Lane Allen. Information on how they met and when they started dating has not been established. However, it’s possible that their careers in the entertainment industry paved the way for them to meet. They would later begin a relationship and get married in 1947.
However, things between Allen and Betty did not work out. Their marriage came crashing down in 1949. Betty revealed that she gave up her marriage for her career. According to her, Allen wanted her to give up her career as an actress and build a traditional family as a stay-at-home mother.
Even though she initially gave in to his idea, she mentioned that she knew she wasn’t going to be content with just being a stay-at-home mother.
Betty White was Married to Allen Ludden Until his Death in 1981
After two failed marriages, Betty would later consider giving love another chance after she met the actor and television host, Allen Ludden. She revealed that even though she didn’t want to get married again, his enthusiasm and persistence got her to say yes to him.
The pair first met on the set of the game show “Password” in 1961. Allen hosted the show while Betty was one of the contestants. For some reason, they connected quickly and soon became friends. The two later started dating after Allen’s wife Margaret McGloin passed away after battling cancer.
Betty recall how the love between them blossomed within a short while and was accompanied by a number of romantic dates. Following this, Allen jokingly proposed to Betty but she said No. However, he later became serious about it, and a year later during a dinner date, he presented a diamond ring to her but she still said No.
Nonetheless, the pair continued dating and he made a until 1963 when he sent a white stuffed bunny with diamond earrings clipped to its ears and a card that said, ‘Please Say Yes?’. And she did give him a “Yes” through a phone call. This would see them get married on July 14 of the same year.
The pair maintained a romantic and stable relationship for almost 2 decades until Allen’s death on July 9, 1981. This was a few weeks before their 18th anniversary. He was diagnosed with stomach cancer in the late 1970s and they battled the sickness together for many years until his demise.
Notably, Betty’s third marriage was simply her best. In fact, she told Larry King in a 2014 interview that she would never get married again and said, “When you’ve had the best, who needs the rest”.
Betty kept the lovely memories of their union alive and often spoke about him during interviews. Her personal assistant hinted that she kept a photo of her third husband Allen on her bedside table and would kiss him every morning. She would also blow a kiss to him in the sky every time she opened the shutters. Interestingly, his name was the last word she said before her death in 2021 at the age of 99.