Who was Betty White dating? Inside star's love life, three marriages, tragedies and coping with death
“Even at this age,” Betty White wrote in her memoir ‘If You Ask Me’, “once in a while I meet a man who seems a trifle more interesting than usual. Nothing untoward—just someone who might be fun to know a little better. I’ve even thought (to myself) that it might be nice if he asked me to lunch or dinner, perhaps. Then reality kicks in and it cracks me up. This guy is probably a much younger man—maybe only 80—and not about to even look my way.”
White did hope that the guy should initiate and ask, rather than her making the first move. But she was not behind the times; Betty White, who died at age 99 on Friday, just days before her 100th birthday, acknowledged dating can involve women seeing younger men.
However, that isn’t for her. In a report by Do You Remember she said, “At this moment in time, it seems somewhat current and choice for women to pair up with younger men. These guys are called ‘cougars’. Well, animal lover that I am, a cougar I am not. All my life, even as a kid, I have preferred men older than I am. Unfortunately, today I don’t think there is anyone older than I am!”
While it seems as though White didn't think she had a chance with anyone, she also considered her age as a bit too late to start something so new.
She went on to say that she still had fond memories and feelings for her late husband, Allen Ludden, who died after battling stomach cancer on June 9, 1981. White had been to the altar three times. On July 7, 1945, she wed US Army Air Corps pilot Frederick Barker. That marriage lasted for less than a year. Her second marriage, which began on November 2, 1947, endured for a year and a half before Betty and Canadian-born film actor Lane Allen called it quits.
Twice married and divorced before age 30, it may have seemed that White was not destined for marital bliss. That all changed in 1961 when Betty flew to New York to appear on a brand-new TV game show called 'Password'. Hosted by bespectacled widower Allan Ludden, the popular game featured two pairs of celebrity contestants who vied to be the first to guess words using one-word clues.
White and Ludden hit it off right away, but each had work obligations on opposite sides of the country. That didn’t stop Ludden from wooing White from a distance, however. After proposing twice, he finally got Betty to say “I do” at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas on June 14, 1963, and the pair enjoyed a happy and successful marriage until Allan’s death in 1981.
Betty told Closer Weekly that her only regret in life was not marrying Allen Ludden sooner. After the loss of her beloved husband, White devoted herself to sitcom work and the animal charities she holds dear to this day. At one point, the blue-eyed comedic actress revealed that she missed having someone to hold, adding wistfully: “If you’ve had the best, who needs the rest?”
Betty White has been a beloved part of the American media landscape for decades. Not only was White the very first woman to host a television talk show, she was also the oldest person to ever host ‘Saturday Night Live’.
Born on January 17, 1922, Illinois native Betty Marion White moved to Los Angeles with her parents Horace and Tess when she was two years old. Most recently, White provided the voice of Bitey White in the animated Disney series, ‘Forky Asks a Question’, but the five-foot-four actress was better known for her roles as the bubbleheaded Rose Nylund on 'Golden Girls' and The Mary Tyler Moore Show’s ever-scheming Sue Ann Nivens.
Named one of America’s most eligible single women in a poll by Vanity Fair magazine, White considered Ludden "the love of her life". The 99-year old actress never came close to marrying anyone else since his demise.