Even though her husband Allen Ludden has been deceased for many years, actress Betty White kissed a portrait of him next to her bed every day.
Betty White, the iconic actress, passed away just a few days before her 100th birthday on Dec. 31. Many colleagues and fans remember the actress on social media. Some individuals and newspapers appreciated her and her husband’s commitment to one other.
However, as she expressed it so well in an interview, “There was the greatest love of my life in the midst of it all. Allen Ludden and I shared 18 lovely years.”
White, on the other hand, has already been married twice. She married and divorced Dick Barker in 1945 before marrying and divorced Lane Allen, a Hollywood agent, from 1947 to 1949.
White and Ludden first met in 1961, when White was a star visitor on Ludden’s hit game program “Password.” Betty didn’t find out until later that Allen’s wife, Margaret McGloin, was dying of cancer when the movie was being made. Margaret died during Betty’s appearance on the show.
Betty made her television debut in 1961, when she was in her late 30s, on the popular American show Password. Allen Ludden, a renowned television personality, hosted the game program.
Betty said of their meeting, “The host was very charming and very attractive.”
“He had these three kids who had lost their mother, who were nine, 10 and 13 at the time. And somehow, we all became instant friends,” Betty told the Archive of American Television.
“He was so nice and we felt like we knew each other.”
After a few weeks together, Ludden bought a diamond ring to propose but White refused, Betty was steady with someone else. But Allen kept asking Betty to marry him.
Ludden, on the other hand, was undeterred. He did the exact opposite, purchasing a wedding ring for the actress.
“He handed it to me one night at dinner and said, ‘You might as well take it because you’re going to put it on one day,’” White remembered. “‘I am not,’ I answered… and I handed it back to him, saying, ‘That’s it, that does it.’ I was terrified at the prospect of relocating from California to New York.”
Ludden, unfazed, hung the ring on a necklace around his neck and wore it every time they were together, ensuring that she would see it.
White accepted Ludden’s marriage proposal on Easter of 1963. The MC presented her with a cuddly rabbit with exquisite diamond and sapphire earrings on its ears. In a 2012 interview with CNN, White stated he was lucky because he agreed to face his fears and marry. She regrets not accepting Ludden’s invitation to spend more time with him earlier.
“I came to the point of regretting that year that I wasted saying no. I would have given anything to have it back.”
The couple had a long and happy marriage until the game show presenter passed away in 1981 following a battle with stomach cancer.
“I just felt so bad because we were doing this show, and she would come and rehearse and then leave and go to the hospital,” Burnett said. “She had to be suffering something awful, because they loved each other so much, but she didn’t let it hinder coming to rehearsals or during the performance. And she was brilliant as always.”
Betty White and Allen Ludden’s love story was admired by coworkers. The two were always like newlyweds, according to producer Lin Bolen. Ludden would phone his wife during breaks when he wasn’t working on set.
Betty White once told People about her late husband: “He was the most honest man I ever met. At first, I succumbed to his enthusiasm. He was always attentive in everything he did.” Despite being busy with work, Ludden rarely missed dinner with his wife. Whenever he couldn’t cook, he would often stop on the way home to buy food. They ate dinner in the courtyard and danced.
When asked whether she would ever romantically pursue anybody again, White famously said to Larry King in 2014, “Once you’ve had the best, who needs the rest?”
They had such a beautiful relationship indeed.