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Betty White and Allen Ludden’s Love Story: Inside One of Hollywood’s Most Talked about Fairytale Romance

One of the most admired aspects of Betty White’s life story was her lovely union with late entertainer Allen Ludden and the fairytale-like love they enjoyed.

Among the epic love stories of celebrity couples stands the fairytale romance of the late TV icon Betty White and legendary presenter Allen Ludden. The two had a sweet love story despite being in the public eye.

A few weeks after White passed on, Ludden’s name came up again in the media. Reports showed that his name was the last word on White’s lips. Here’s a look through the love story that White cherished the most.

Betty white
PASSWORD – Ludden At Home Layout – Shoot Date: February 14, 1972. (Photo by ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty Images) ALLEN LUDDEN WITH HIS WIFE BETTY WHITE

How Did Betty White Meet Her Husband?

Betty White’s career in the 1960s was getting to its peak, and she was very much up to the task. Also, in that period, White seemed to have maxed out her trial for marriage, being that she had been married twice.

White was married to Army force pilot Dick Barker in 1945 and headed to the divorce court the same year. This was because Barker preferred her away from Hollywood and in his chicken farm in Ohio. 

The Hollywood legend walked down the aisle a second time in 1947 with Lane Allen, who was a talent manager. The marriage lasted only two years because Allen did not want Betty to work so much, but she seemed to have her eye set on her sterling career. 

After the first two marriages crashed, White carried on with her career, and by the 1950s, she had gained widespread recognition. Her TV show, “Life With Elizabeth” won her a Los Angeles Area Emmy Award and opened the door to more successful gigs. 

White was also romantically active, and she had a few love interests, albeit nothing serious. In 1961, a few weeks after “Password” was launched, White met the host, Allen Ludden. 

betty white
image: Pinterest

Inside Their Love Story

Betty White appeared on the American game show, “Password,” which was her first contact with the host, Allen Ludden. After that episode, where she appeared as a celebrity guest, White was constantly seen on the show.

When they first met, Ludden had just lost his wife, Margaret McGloin, who died of cancer. However, their romance blossomed after they worked closely on 1962’s “Critic’s Choice.” The two filmed for weeks, and according to Betty, Ludden always had a “warm hello” waiting for her.

However, it soon graduated into him asking the question, “will you marry me?” each time he saw White. She told the TV Academy Foundation that she initially thought it was funny, and she would often laugh it off.

White also shared that in that time that Lidden kept asking her to marry him, she had a “steady” relationship with someone else. Ludden’s proposal would go on for a year, and it got to the point that White was pissed off. 

Ludden refused to be deterred as he was determined to be with the woman he fell hard for. The peak of it all was when the TV star brought White a wedding ring. She narrated the events of that day saying:

“One night at dinner, he gave it to me, he said, ‘You might as well take it because you’re going to put it on one day. I said, ‘I am not’… and I gave it back to him, and I said, ‘That’s it, that does it.”

betty white
19th March 1974: American actor Betty White stands smiling with her husband, TV producer and host Allen Ludden (d. 1981), wearing a tuxedo, at an International Broadcasting Awards dinner tribute to Mary Tyler Moore. (Photo by Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images)

Ludden Won Betty White’s Heart 

Even rejection couldn’t stir Ludden’s heart away from White. Betty rejected his proposal, and instead of returning the ring to the jeweler, the emcee put the ring in a chain and wore it around his neck. 

Whenever White was around Ludden, she would see the ring and get a soft reminder. However, Betty, who was already falling for him, got another chance. White recalled the proposal that made the difference:

“Finally Easter came along and this fluffy, little stuffed bunny came along with beautiful little diamond and sapphire earrings on its ears. So when [Ludden] called that night, I said, OK, yes.”

The two went on to enjoy a union that lasted close to two decades before Ludden died in 1981. He died of stomach cancer, and Betty never remarried. 

Image: Pinterest

Ludden Was the Love of Her Life

Following Ludden’s passing, there were times when White spoke about him, noting that one of her biggest regrets was wasting a whole year before marrying him. She once told CNN that she was reluctant to “take another chance” when Ludden came along. 

It is safe to say that Ludden’s love lasted a lifetime even though he died in their 18th year of matrimony. White once told Anderson Cooper that her first two marriages were rehearsals and Ludden was “the love of her life.”

Exactly 40 years and six months after Ludden passed on, the world was thrown into a bitter mood about White’s death. The “First lady of Television” succumbed to eternal rest a few hours shy of the new year and a few weeks to her 100th birthday.

How did Betty White pass away? The “Golden Girls” actress died of a cerebrovascular accident after suffering a stroke for six days. Fellow classic star Carol Burnett shared that White took her last breath with her late husband’s name on her lips. 

Ashabi
Ashabi
Ashabi is a writer who enjoys reading and putting her dynamic thoughts on people, places, and concepts into writing. Her range of writing interests includes literary works, creative writing reviews, lifestyle, celebrity catchups, health, travel, world news, and Poetry. Ashabi is a graduate of Linguistics, and she has an avid interest in entertainment, languages, and global history.
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