Who are Norman Lear's three wives? A look at the iconic TV producer's relationships and luck with love
Norman Lear's love life was never smooth and he had a lot of speed bumps in his previous marriages. He has been married three times
Norman Lear is undoubtedly one of the most iconic television personalities that the world has seen. From writing some of the most intriguing characters to producing some of the finest TV shows of all time, Lear has been a force to be reckoned with in his legendary career. At 98, he is still up and running to find his next venture.
The producer of cult-classics like ‘All in the Family’, ‘One Day at a Time’, ‘The Jeffersons’, ‘Maude’ and ‘The Good Time’ had the talent for pickings winners as far as shows were concerned. However, he reportedly wasn’t that lucky when it came to love.
Lear has been married three times and has six children. Neither of Lear's first two marriages was successful and always had a bitter ending. His first marriage to Charlotte Rosen lasted from 1944 to 1956 while his second marriage to Frances Loeb lasted from 1956 to 1986. Lear He has been married to Lyn Davis since 1987. Let’s got back into history and see how his love life has not been as successful as his career.
Norman Lear and Charlotte Rosen
Lear met Charlotte met in 1939 on a hayride. Lear was 17 at the time and Charlotte was a year older than the iconic producer. The duo started seeing each other and dated each other for four years. In 1942, Lear enlisted himself in US Army Air Forces and served in World War II.
Lear was in the service at the time and proposed to Charlotte over the phone. She said yes and the couple tied the knot in 1943. However, problems soon began to create differences and the marriage was not turning out to be as happy as they would have hoped to.
In his memoir, ‘Even This I Get To Experience’, Lear opened up about his honeymoon and wrote that he and Charlotte “were strangers” when they made love. He also noted that they knew each other “even less” when they finished making love to each other. The writer also shared that the two had hardly any common interests.
“Charlotte and I were strangers when we made love, and if possible, we knew each other even less when we had concluded,” Lear wrote.
Norman and Charlotte welcome daughter Ellen
The pair welcomed their first child in 1947 with daughter Ellen. The couple seemed to be happy but it all changed after some time. In 1949, he moves to California with his wife and daughter to work as a freelance comedy writer.
Charlotte refused to move to New York
Almost a decade after they said “I do”, their marriage was falling apart. In his memoir, he revealed that he wanted to move to New York to have a better career. Lear started house-hunting in the area and was really enthusiastic about the movie in NYC. However, Charlotte did not want to leave Los Angeles.
Lear also revealed that her mental health took a toll and she started to see “a therapist five times a week”. Charlotte never wanted to leave LA and decided that she won’t move to New York. Norman left for New York but Charlotte and their daughter Ellen did not move in with him. Their marriage ended in 1956.
Norman Lear and Frances Loeb
Lear met Frances Loeb between 1955 and 1956. The writer met her through one of his friends in the Army with whom he had served in Italy. Frances was 32 when she first met Norman and they started dating each other. Frances had a rough childhood and faced sexual abuse at the hands of her step-father. The couple dated for almost a year and got married in 1956 and welcomed two daughters, Maggie and Kate.
Trouble in paradise for the couple
In 1983, the couple entered a phase where everything started going down the hill. At the age of 50, Frances was diagnosed with bipolar disorder. She also got addicted to alcohol, which did a lot of damage to their marriage. Everything she endured during her childhood was still in her memory and started to take a toll on her.
The aspiring publisher lived a life shaped by her bipolar disorder, alcoholism, and suicide attempts. “Everything I knew about her difficult and colorful life before I appeared at her front door fascinated me,” he wrote in his memoir.
Marriage ends in expensive divorce
The couple decided to end their marriage after 28 years before divorcing in 1985. The divorce generated one of the biggest settlements of the time, a whopping $112 million. When asked about the settlement, Frances told The New York Times that she was “very much part of his thinking and Norman could not have done his shows without me.”
She started a women’s magazine called Lear’s in 1988 and became an activist for the women's movement, civil rights, and mental health. She died of breast cancer at age 73.
Norman Lear and Lyn Davis
The couple got married in 1987, and just a year later their relationship hit a speed bump when Lear was diagnosed with prostate cancer. Their love had the last laugh as Lear defeated cancer after surgery. The duo started to live a happy life and was set to expand their family.
The family gets bigger
In 1988, Lear and Davis welcomed son Benjamin, and six years later they were blessed with twin daughters, Madeline and Brianna.
Lyn and Norman balance personal-professional relationship
Lyn started to assist Norman in production work. She has also started her own production company, Lyn Lear Productions. Talking about her relationship with Norman, Lyn said in an interview: “He’s the last of the real romantics. Every morning, he wants to have a kiss when I wake up. It’s a nice way to start the day.” On the other hand, Norman is really happy to spend his life with him. “I love the way she loves me. I’m just one selfish cat!” Norman said.
The couple also set up the Lear Family Foundation together. Last year, in an Instagram video, Norman expressed gratitude for their Emmy nods, Norman said, “I have a lot to be grateful for. With me also happens to be my wife, Lyn Lear, also nominated today... We are the lucky Lears!”
Now 34 years after marriage, the couple is still passionate about what they do and what they want to achieve in the future. Norman Lear is set to get the Carol Burnett award at the Golden Globes 2021.