Ted Danson didn’t ‘grow up emotionally’ until his 40s, but he ‘wouldn’t choose a do-over’

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Ted Danson is getting honest about his past.

In a new interview with NPR, the “Cheers” star admitted he had been emotionally immature for about the first half of his life.

“… I won’t be too specific, but I didn’t really grow up emotionally until I was in my 40s, and I was a bit of a liar in my relationship. I’ll leave it at that,” Danson said. “And I started to work on myself very seriously around that time. I went to clinics and a psychologist and a mentor. I worked very hard to not be that person who hid his emotions and left out the back door.”

Danson confessed that the situation had been hard on his parents, and it had apparently played out in public.


“So, that was all kind of messily in the press, and my poor parents were going, ‘What?’ And I finally called them, and they were very sweet, and they came to support me and everything,” he said.

He added, “The press sounded horrible. But the work underneath the press was invaluable. I’m very glad for that time, even though it was messy, very messy.”

Danson would have been in his 40s during the early 1990s, when his marriage to Cassandra “Casey” Coates ended in 1993, and he briefly dated Whoopi Goldberg. 

His hit sitcom, “Cheers,” was also coming to a close, with its series finale airing in 1993.

George Wendt, John Ratzenberger and Ted Danson look on, seated on stage at the ATX TV Festival

“My life was a hot mess at the time, and if I had not stopped and gotten it together, I would never have met my wife,” Danson said last year during a panel discussion about the show during the ATX TV Festival in Austin.

In 1995, Danson married Mary Steenburgen, who had previously been married to Malcolm MacDowell, and is stepfather to her children, Charlie MacDowell and Lily Walton, from that marriage.

In his NPR interview, Danson said that despite everything, he wouldn’t change a thing.

“I wouldn’t choose a do-over. You know, if I did something differently, and I took a different path, I wouldn’t be with my wife, Mary Steenburgen. I am horribly embarrassed about many things in my past, things that are cringeworthy, but that’s my life,” he said.

Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen posing together


The “Good Place” star added, “I wish I hadn’t become a liar and walked out the back door early in life. I wish that hadn’t been me, but even your wounds, you kind of have fondness for if you’ve gone through them and live through it and acknowledged it and made amends and all that stuff.”

He also revealed that Steenburgen accepted his past “from day one.”

“I was like a convert to truth. And our life together is so empty of secrets,” Danson said. “If there’s even a moment when I didn’t exactly tell the truth, it’s so devastating to me that I immediately grind to a halt and say, ‘I got to talk to you.’ Being truthful, it greases the skids of life. But our life together is very full of laughter and joy. We’re very blessed.”

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