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    The one lesson I’ve learned from life: James Brolin says every couple needs a counsellor

    The one lesson I’ve learned from life: James Brolin says every couple needs a counsellor

    • James Brolin, 80, been married to his wife singer Barba Streisand for 22 years  
    • Father of three lives in California and says his life lesson is about relationships
    • Recalls moment he fell in love with his wife on a blind dinner date 30 years ago

    Two-time Golden Globe and Emmy-winning actor and director James Brolin, 80, has been married to Barbra Streisand for 22 years. He lives in California and has three children (including Oscar nominee Josh Brolin) from his two previous marriages, and three grandchildren.

    Your parents don’t teach you about marriage, so you have to learn. I had two other marriages, which provided a really good classroom. Even if women are tough and opinionated, it’s kind of a wonderful experience. But then, before I met Barbra, I’d sworn to stay single.

    I had a theory that if you were looking for something, it wouldn’t be there. I was planning a long backpacking trip.

    James Brolin, 80, (pictured) has been married to Barbra Streisand for 22 years and the couple live in California, but he says the one thing he has learned from life is every couple needs a counsellor

    Then someone taps you on the shoulder, and you turn around and you’re in love. Barbra and I met on a blind date at a dinner with 30 others.

    I had been starring in the TV series Hotel for years, and had dyed dark hair. The day I finished filming I just sheared it off. I was left with grey hair but the ends were brown. 

    After Barbra met me, she said: ‘Who screwed up your hair?’ I thought: ‘I love her. I’ve got 29 Hollywood liars here, but there’s one person that tells the truth!’

    Soon after I had to do a film in the Philippines, and I spent my salary on our long phone calls — they cost $5 a minute, and one lasted six hours. She would lie on her stomach like a teenager during our calls, I could tell. When I came home it was like a shampoo commercial where we rushed into each other’s arms.

    For our first holiday I took her across America in a pickup truck for two weeks. She ended up loving it, buying provisions at truck stops and making sandwiches on the road. It was a whole new world for her after the limousines of New York.

    Once I got her to wear a baseball cap as a disguise so we could go to In-N-Out Burger for fast food. She’d never do it again because the hat didn’t look good. People spot her from two blocks away. They don’t see me, which is fine.

    We have a relationship counsellor who comes here. You walk into the session with gritted teeth, and an hour later the problem is dispelled. It’s vital to bring it into the open. There’s usually a pretty profound reason why you pick somebody. The bottom line is tolerance. I think marriages usually dissolve too quickly.

    I was lucky to have a laid-back mother who said: ‘Don’t worry about it. It will be gone tomorrow.’ Enjoy your time in the sun, enjoy meals, enjoy loving each other. It’s too bad more people don’t get that.


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