While it’s heartbreaking that Betty White died at the age of 99 on Dec. 31 from natural causes, mere weeks before she would cross over the century mark, her legacy continues to live on. The Illinois native was beloved for her comedic chops and animal rights activism. The latter inspired the #BettyWhiteChallenge, in which fans raised awareness and funds for animal shelters and care organizations.
Although she had an incredible film and TV resume, including parts in The Proposal and Boston Legal, she is best known for her roles as Sue Ann Nivens on The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Rose Nylund in The Golden Girls. Betty was also recognized for her esteemed career, taking home eight Emmy Awards, a Grammy Award, three American Comedy Awards, and three Screen Actors Guild Awards.
As she was adored by many, fans want to know all about Betty’s love life and who she called her husband. Find out all about the three men Betty was married to below.
While a volunteer with the American Women’s Voluntary Services, Betty met her first husband Dick Barker, a United States Air Force pilot, at a dance, according to her biography How to Be Golden: Lessons We Can Learn from Betty White. The pair became engaged but had to hold off on a wedding as Dick was called into combat for World War II. After he returned home, the couple married in 1945 when Betty was 23. They moved to Dick’s home in Ohio, where he had purchased a chicken farm. The marriage was over in less than a year, as Betty yearned to move back to California, according to Closer. “Oh, it was a nightmare,” Betty quipped to the outlet. “I married my first because we wanted to sleep together. It lasted six months, and we were in bed for six months!”
Two years after she split with Dick, Betty said “I do” again, this time to Hollywood talent agent Lane Allen. Even though Betty’s star was rising with several gigs on television, Lane wanted Betty to give up acting. “We had a couple of very good years. But he wanted me to stop working. He didn’t want me to be in show business,” she told Newsweek. Lane was also looking forward to Betty staying home and raising a family. “I knew that a career was very much in my future, so I decided not to have children,” she revealed to Closer. “In those days, people didn’t understand that as much as they do now.” The pair would split after two years together.
Vowing never to get married again, Betty changed her tune in 1961 when she met Allen Ludden, the host of the game show Password, per Newsweek. “He was enthusiastic about everything. He was intellectually wonderful. He was silly. He was romantic,” Betty gushed to the outlet. “Eventually, he wouldn’t even say hello—he’d say, “Will you marry me?” And I’d say, “No way!” After Allen kept on proposing, Betty decided to take him up on it one night after he sent her a “stuffed bunny with diamond earrings” as an Easter present. The adorable couple would marry on Jun. 14, 1963.
While the pair didn’t have children together, Betty became stepmother to Allen’s three children he shared with his late first wife. “I am most proud of the children that this career girl inherited,” the Hot in Cleveland actress wrote in her 2011 memoir If You Ask Me. The couple would have a wonderful relationship, which Betty fondly remembered to Newsweek. “Even long after we were married, he’d call me up during the day and ask me out on a date. He’d barbecue a chicken. We’d have a glass of wine, put on a stack of records, and dance.” Sadly Allen would die from cancer at the age of 63 in 1981, four years before Betty starred on Golden Girls.Click to Subscribe to Get Our Free HollywoodLife Daily Newsletter to get the hottest celeb news.