Given how long Whoopi Goldberg has been in the public eye, we don’t know much about her personal life. Most people are aware that she has been married three times. However, how does the Sister Act actress feel about her previous relationships? Is she brushing it off, as one of her renowned characters does, or is she concealing a profound source of pain? In a series of honest interviews, Goldberg ultimately revealed the shocking reasons for her private life’s failure.
This is stunning, considering the actress is notoriously guarded about her private. She even relocated to a quiet New Jersey community to evade public scrutiny. She’s also refused to divulge information about her personal life, preferring a life of secrecy. So, what has changed?
Disclosing information regarding her marriages
Something has changed her perspective. After all, the actress recently revealed details about her three marriages in two incredibly candid interviews. If you didn’t know, her marriages were to Alvin Martin, David Claessen, and Lyle Trachtenberg. But what did Goldberg think of the failed relationships?
Of course, Goldberg began with a lighthearted remark. “The first [marriage] lasted six years,” Piers Morgan said during their chat. “The second one was two years long. And the previous one lasted a year.” “I assume that you know, you have to be in love with the person that you marry truly,” Goldberg joked. Despite getting the laugh, the actress would shortly confess her actual feelings.
In 1973, Goldberg married her first husband, Alvin Martin. Alexandra “Alex” Martin, the comedian’s only kid, was born during that period. But Goldberg couldn’t hold out, and the pair divorced in 1979. And this was exactly about the time her career took off. Was that an accident?
In any event, Steven Spielberg put her with Oprah in The Color Purple. The coming-of-age story was also a great success, earning Goldberg an Oscar nomination. Film reviewer Robert Ebert said her performance was “one of the most remarkable debut performances in movie history.” That is an excellent review! However, things were not going so well away from the cameras.
Between 1985 and 1988, Goldberg appeared in seven films. She met her second husband while working on the 1986 romantic comedy-drama Jumpin’ Jack Flash. David Claessen, the film’s director of photography, fell in love with its leader, and the couple married later that year. But their relationship was short-lived, and they divorced barely two years later.
As with her first failed marriage, the actress remained virtually mum about her second. She also kept quiet about her year-long affair with former Bond actor Timothy Dalton. The famous pair dated for approximately a year, and Dalton even escorted Goldberg to the 1991 Academy Awards. She won Best Supporting Actress that night for her outstanding performance as wacky clairvoyant Oda Mae Brown in Ghost (1990). However, Dalton was not mentioned in the acceptance speech. Awkward!
Goldberg’s depiction as a Reno nightclub singer-turned-nun in Sister Act launched her to stardom the following year. The box-office success of the musical romp prompted a 1993 sequel and a theatrical production, both of which the actress produced and later starred in. Goldberg co-starred with Ted Danson in the comedy Made in America, released the same year as Sister Act 2. (1993).
According to Hello! The co-stars had already forged a bond after meeting on The Arsenio Hall Show in the 1980s. However, love bloomed between the two during the filming of Made in America. And thus began a contentious relationship because, while Goldberg was single at the time, Danson was not. Yes, the love rat had a wife and two children.
While the secret couple attempted to keep their affair private, information quickly spread to the press, and Danson’s wife, Cassandra Coates, kicked him out. In particular, she divorced him for a cool $30 million. That’s an expensive breakup. What made matters worse was that the actor’s romance with Goldberg lasted barely 18 months after that. According to media accounts, the split was caused by parental pressure on the Mr. Mayor star. It’s all really sad.
Moreover, Goldberg appears to have had strong affection for her former sweetheart. “It was incredibly traumatic, and it was quite public,” she admitted to Closer magazine of their breakup. And losing his friendship is quite painful. We can never go somewhere and get a soda.” “I’m friends with practically every male I’ve gone out with, except this dude,” the Ghost star bemoaned.
Of course, it’s difficult to evaluate from the outside, but the actress was arguably on the rebound from Danson when she married her third spouse a year later. In October 1994, Goldberg married actor Lyle Trachtenberg, but the couple separated the following year. Meanwhile, Danson married fellow actress Mary Steenburgen after falling in love while filming Pontiac Moon the same year. The couple is still going strong after more than 20 years.
But Goldberg recovered, and her career flourished throughout the 1990s. She co-starred in the joyful 1994 love film Corinna, Corinna with Ray Liotta, and voiced alpha hyena Shenzi in Disney’s The Lion King, which was released the same year. In 1996, the actress had a four-picture run that included the fantasy feature Bogus, which also starred Gérard Depardieu and Haley Joel Osment.
In her next film, Eddie, the comedian played a basketball fanatic who ends up coaching the New York Knicks. Although the film was a critical and commercial failure, Goldberg discovered love with her co-star, Frank Langella, during filming. Things became more serious as the couple lived together for five years before the relationship ended in 2001.
So, what transpired between the two celebrities? We’ll never know for certain. Goldberg, as is customary, has been silent about the breakup. And Langella, despite being a legendary former lothario who allegedly had affairs with a bevy of prominent ladies, including Jackie Onassis and Rita Hayworth, has remained mute. According to The Guardian, the Frost/Nixon actor only mentions prior conquests who are no longer with us.
Meanwhile, the Sister Act actor returned to Broadway in 1996, replacing Nathan Lane in the Sondheim musical comedy A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum as Pseudolus. In 1998, Goldberg co-starred with Angela Bassett in the romance drama How Stella Got Her Groove Back. The next year, she veered away from her traditional comic form with Girl, Interrupted, a dramatic psychological drama in which she played a mental nurse.
In the 1990s, Goldberg appeared in 29 films, grossing $1.3 billion in the United States and Canada. That accomplishment established her as the most hardworking cinema star of the decade, with AC Nielsen EDI naming her as the actress who appeared in the most theatrical pictures in the 1990s. That’s not a bad boast! However, as the new millennium approached, the star’s film career began to fade.
With the arrival of the 2000s, Goldberg’s focus shifted from cinema to television and stage performing. She hosted her show, Whoopi, in 2003, but it was canceled after only one season due to low ratings. And the TV star demonstrated her political views in the medical drama Strong Medicine, which she co-created and appeared in on occasion. The show’s host also appeared in Whoopi’s Littleburg, a Nickelodeon kids’ mini-series.
In 2006, the actress began her own morning radio discussion show, Wake Up with Whoopi. A year later, she announced her retirement from cinema acting, citing a shortage of movie scripts. “You know, there’s no room for the talented Whoopi,” the diva complained in a 2007 interview with talk show great Larry King. There is now no room in the cinema market.”
Goldberg has appeared in a few films since that announcement, including voicing Stretch in Toy Story 3 and For Colored Girls, both in 2010. But she’s mainly known for her work on The View, where she’s been a regular since taking over for Rosie O’Donnell in 2007. During her stint as a co-host, the TV star has also ruffled a few feathers. In 2010, for example, she controversially defended Mel Gibson during racist allegations against him.
The actress has always been outspoken, including on marriage and relationships. While finding someone to settle down with is the ultimate objective for most of us, The View anchor admitted that it is not for her. Yes, after years of keeping silent about why her three marriages failed, and love had never lasted, Goldberg eventually revealed the truth. It was a real eye-opener.
The celebrity of big and small screens initially revealed the news on a 2011 episode of Piers Morgan Tonight. When questioned about her previous marriages by the show’s notorious presenter, Goldberg revealed that she had never truly loved her husbands. “I suppose that, you know, you have to be in love with the person that you marry truly,” she told Morgan. You must be completely dedicated to them. And I just don’t have that kind of commitment.”
The actress also admitted that she married her three spouses to “fit in” and “feel normal.” “And it appeared to me that if I were married, I’d have a… more normal existence,” she said. But it is not the case. There is no compelling motive to marry. You must truly desire a life with someone through ups and downs. And I just realized that wasn’t for me.”
Goldberg revealed to Morgan that she had previously been in love. However, it appears that it was not meant to be. The Ghost actor would only say that the man in the issue was not famous and is now married with a family. When the show presenter told her he was sorry it didn’t work out, Goldberg simply remarked, “Lots of other things did. So I didn’t fare too poorly.”
In 2019, The View co-host shared her thoughts on relationships with The New York Times. “Look, people want you to have a guy,” Goldberg said of the expectations on women to marry. They anticipate your marriage. So I kept trying, but I didn’t want to share information with anyone else.”
“I didn’t want anybody asking me why I was doing what I was doing or having to make the other person feel better,” the Sister Act star continued. But if you’re in a relationship, you have to do those things, and it took me a long time to realize I didn’t want to.” You have to give her credit for her honesty!
Goldberg reiterated her prior comments to Piers Morgan about how the urge to settle down with another person had not come naturally to her. “I’d be thinking, why don’t I feel what I’m meant to feel?” “Then one day I realized: I don’t have to do this,” the TV personality concluded. I’m not required to conform. I attempted marriage, but it was not for me. You can’t get married because everyone expects you to.”
Goldberg has brazenly acknowledged that she is more pleased being single, defying tradition. “I’m much happy on my own,” she told The New York Times in a 2016 interview. “I can spend as much time as I want with someone, but I’m not looking to be with someone forever or to live with someone. “I don’t want anyone in my house.”
The outspoken actress has such strong feelings about coupling – or not coupling – that she authored a book about it. In 2015, Whoopi’s Big Book of Relationships: If Someone Says “You Complete Me,” RUN! was released. And this funny, frank look at love and marriage became a best-seller. Hmm, intriguing… Perhaps the actress isn’t alone in defying the only-happy-couple norm.
With no-nonsense chapter titles like “You Ain’t Cinderella,” followed by “You Ain’t Prince Charming,” it’s brutally honest and immensely funny. She begins the book as though she’s talking to a friend, displaying the same charisma that has made Goldberg a popular movie mainstay for so many years. “Hey! “I’m delighted you picked up this book,” says the first line.
“I’m simply Whoopi, who has had a lot of fun and who has made a few blunders along the way,” the actress adds, continuing her forthright honesty. “I hope to assist you to avoid the usual mistakes we ALL seem to make,” she continues. She then says, “I decided that the things that are expected in a relationship are not things I’m willing to do.”
The proper introductory statement follows. We think you’ll agree that it’s quite effective. “We’ve all been brainwashed with false expectations,” Goldberg writes, adding, “That’s right. Brainwashed.” Wow. So, what does The View’s host mean by that? She then proceeds to talk about how we observe animals in the wild mating for life, creating the sense that this is the natural order of things. However, as the star points out, “not every species mates for life.”
“Anyway, as we look at these lists of who partners for life, we notice that humans are nowhere to be found,” the Jumpin’ Jack Flash star continues. That, in my opinion, is significant. Perhaps we would be better at it if we understood that it didn’t have to be for life when we got acquainted with someone or married.” Controversial but also thought-provoking!
“I felt like we were normal,” Goldberg says of how she and her brother Clyde were reared solely by their mother, Emma. “My mother and brother gave me everything: they loved me, supported me, and gave me the confidence I needed to go out in the world and accomplish what I do,” she explains. “But for some reason, in today’s world, the kind of family I had isn’t considered normal,” the actress continues.
That is no longer technically true these days. After all, according to U.S. Census Bureau data from 2021, single-parent households accounted for about a quarter of all American families. But we’re getting ahead of ourselves. “This image of being ‘regular’ and having a so-called ‘normal’ family doesn’t ring true for a whole lot of folks,” Goldberg continues. Yet we are told that is what we should strive towards.”
According to the comedian, the prince-meets-princess stories we read as children are dreams. “When we were little, most of us had this wonderful idea – whether you’re a boy or a girl – that we would have this storybook relationship,” she writes. The celebrity said that this fictitious romance “would be amazing and fantastic, and we would be perfect for each other.”
“But it usually doesn’t work like that, does it?” Goldberg concludes. Perhaps a dismal take on relationships, but the star has a point. After all, life does not always provide the romantic ideal many yearn for. Goldberg is simply not afraid to say it! Or to support the idea that it’s acceptable to have several partners or even to be single if that makes you happy.
As the polarizing co-host of The View pointed out to Piers Morgan, she may simply have a different perspective than the typical American. “I don’t think of myself as the voice of America,” she told the show’s host in 2011, “but I do think that sometimes I see things from a different viewpoint, sometimes because of my ethnicity, sometimes because of my gender, sometimes because of my experiences.”
Goldberg is dedicated to her daughter, Alex, and her three grandchildren. “I’m committed to my family, you know, and so – ergo, for that relationship has lasted, you know, the longest,” she told Morgan. This just goes to show that much as Whoopi marches to the beat of her drum, she certainly has her priorities straight and knows what’s truly important.