Most people know William Daniels for his role as Mr. Feeny in Boy Meets World, the teacher and mentor to Ben Savage‘s Cory Matthews, but he was a well-known award-winning actor long before that, appearing alongside his wife, Bonnie Bartlett, in the medical drama St. Elsewhere.
Daniels and Bartlett met at Northwestern University and got married in 1951, and in 2023, they’ve been married for 72 years.
But now, Bartlett is opening up about her life, including her marriage to Daniels, in her new memoir, Middle of the Rainbow, and she talks a lot about the couple’s open relationship at the beginning of their marriage.
Speaking with Fox News Digital, Bartlett said, “I guess it was a little bit of an open marriage at first, but that was very painful. That didn’t work well.”
She went on, talking about how open relationships were actually quite common then: “And it was a time when people were doing that. It was at a time in New York when there was a lot of sex and a lot of people doing all kinds of things, you know–very free.”
Bartlett further stated, “But I don’t know if there was a lack of commitment a little bit, and that’s not good. So there was a lot of pain connected with any transgression, with any extramarital thing.”
In the book, Bartlett says of her and Daniels’ affairs with other people, “I never felt guilty because I never felt tied to fidelity, and neither did Bill.”
But it didn’t last very long, as she “could no longer tolerate any kind of open marriage” after an affair Daniels had with a female producer “devastated” her.
But thankfully, Bartlett sees this as an experience that the couple had to go through. She told Fox News Digital, “It was very painful for the both of us. But it was something we had to go through because we never went through it. When we got together, I was 18. Bill was my first boyfriend… We just had to go through all that, and still, we loved each other very much and always have.”