At age 88, Barbara Eden is still happily in love.
The “I Dream of Jeannie” star said “I do” for the third time to architect Jon Eicholtz in 1991 and he has proven to be a keeper over the years.
The actress believes she has discovered the secret behind their lasting marriage.
“You should walk in the other person’s shoes if you’re having a little problem,” Eden recently told Closer Weekly. “Try to see their side of it. It’s not easy! But try.”
“You’ve got to be true to yourself — don’t try to be anyone else,” Eden continued. “The wonderful thing is we’re all different. At the beginning of my career I said, ‘Oh gosh, I’m supposed to be taller or prettier than I am.’ That’s silly! You’re treading water — you’re not making headway with what you are.”
Over the years, Eden has missed one other special man in her life — Larry Hagman.
Her “I Dream of Jeannie” co-star, who went on to portray one of television’s most popular villains, J.R. Ewing, in the CBS series “Dallas,” died in 2012 at age 81 from cancer.
He and Eden starred in “I Dream of Jeannie” from 1965 until 1970. The sitcom chronicled the misadventures of an astronaut named Maj. Anthony Nelson (Hagman) whose life turns upside down when he stumbles onto a bottle containing a genie named Jeannie (Eden).
Back in 2017, Eden told Fox News that there was one memory of Hagman that still makes her smile.
“Oh, there’s so many!” she said at the time. “We seemed to have the same rhythm in our comedic timing, which was fortunate for both of us. We enjoyed working together… The most outstanding story with Larry was the one when we had a lion as a guest. I had done two feature films with lions and I’ve been told how to treat them. They’re male lions, they’re lazy. If they’re well-fed, they don’t really want to eat you. But they do want to play with you if you run around! You have to be very quiet with them. So I went over and I told Larry, ‘We have to go make friends with the lion.’ He goes, ‘I’m not going to make any friends with any bleep lion!’ And walks off!
“And so, I walked over and I did the usual things I’ve been trained to do,” Eden continued. “I scratched him behind the ears. Never the ears, just behind the ears. And I rehearsed with the cat. He was 600 pounds, a big male lion. They put a little bowl of raw meat beside me. He put his head down and nom, nom, nom. Oh boy, that was good. He looks around and he’s very happy. Very, very happy. And then Larry came in. They started the scene.
“They put the meat down and he ate his meat. He turned around, looked at Larry, and let out a huge roar! It was the loudest roar you have ever heard in your life. Larry was on the next set. He was gone! But not only was he gone, but every single man on that set also ran. They broke the camera, one of the pieces fell over and I had a 600-pound lion on my lap purring. He put his head in my lap and started to lick my arm, like a great, big pussycat.”
At the time, Eden said it still felt really good to be recognized as an American TV icon and she has nothing but great love for the popular sitcom.
“I like it,” she said. “I’m still active, I’m still working. It’s always good to be recognized for hard work you’ve done in the years past. While you’re doing it, you don’t think of it so much. You’re just working. It’s a wonderful thing for someone to acknowledge it.
“I just like my work,” she added. “I think I’m very, very lucky to have found a profession that I fit in. So many people have to make their living doing things they don’t really enjoy but are necessary for their family. I’m just lucky — very lucky.”