Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas have been married for four decades but they are only opening up about it now.
The pair recently sat down with Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos on the latter two’s podcast. It was a rare opportunity for listeners to understand the inner workings of Donahue and Thomas’s relationship. The long-term couple caught up with “The Drew Barrymore Show” on Thursday and dished on why they are so secretive of their relationship.
“When Phil and I first got married and we did it so that nobody knew about it until we got out of the country for our honeymoon and when we got back we were asked to co-host the Emmys, the People’s Choice, be on the cover of People magazine,” Thomas said. “It was a bit overwhelming and we looked at each other and said, ‘Let’s not do this. If we stay out of it maybe people will leave us alone.’
“So we decided we won’t do interviews about our marriage, we won’t co-host anything, we will just lay back and try to have our privacy so we can find out who we are as a couple. When I first had the idea to do the book and the podcast, Phil said, ‘I’ll go with you but I’m not talking about our marriage,’ but once we got on these double dates and people talked about their jealousy.”
The dialogue with Consuelos and Ripa was not meant to be some sort of grand reveal. It just sort of happened.
“Mark Consuelos, who is married to Kelly Ripa, talked about his jealousy so Phil talked about his jealousy,” Thomas explained. “They talked about fighting, we talked about fighting. They talked about spending money, so whatever they talked about we talked about. It was a real double date and it was fun and I learned stuff about Phil and he learned stuff about me. We learned how to work together.
“We had never worked together because we were always afraid we would kill each other because we are both Type-A personalities, and we are both kind of bossy and so we felt we wouldn’t make it but after 40 years we did it,” she told Barrymore. “We did it.”
Donahue chimed in, “Yeah, after 40 years here we are and you know once in a while I get to say a few things.”
Donahue also reflected on his famous dance with Princess Diana.
“I didn’t even get to talk to you about dancing with Princess Diana. Phil, was that fun?” Barrymore asked.
“My dancing partner,” he replied. “I’ve never had so many pictures taken of me as when I was dancing with Princess Diana.”
Touching on Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and Meghan Markle, Thomas expressed her support for Harry and Markle, as well as Queen Elizabeth.
“I hope they make it. I really do,” Thomas said of Harry and Markle. “I always cry at weddings because they are so full of hope and you hope that every couple has the privacy to nurture their relationship.”
“I felt so sorry for the Queen,” she added. “That poor woman. What she’s been through trying to keep that family up. I mean, every time she turns around, Wham! something else has gone wrong. Prince Andrew, Prince Charles and Camilla, and Diana dying. I mean, I really feel for her.”