James Garner and His Wife, Lois, Had a Forever Love Story

    July 22, 2014
    Pam Wright
    Comments are off for this post.

There are few more beautiful Hollywood love stories than the forever love story enjoyed by James Garner and his wife, Lois Clarke Garner.

Garner, who died Sunday of natural causes at the age of 86, met Lois Fleishman Clarke at an “Adlai Stevenson for President” rally in 1956. They were married 14 days later on August 17, 1956, and would have celebrated 58 years of marriage in August.

“I met my wife and married her in two weeks. We went out every night for about 13 nights and then got married on the 14th,” said Garner in a 2005 People magazine interview. “I was just absolutely nuts about her. I spent $77 on our honeymoon, and it about broke me. We’re still at it. After 48 years we think that it’s going to work.”

Garner adopted his wife’s nine-year-old-daughter, Kimberly, after they were married. About a year later, James Garner’s only biological daughter, Gigi Garner, was born in Santa Monica, California.

Like most marriages, the couple did go through difficult times, including a lengthy separation, which Garner explained in an interview with Rebecca Murray.

When Murray asked Garner if he and his wife ever argued like the characters in his hit movie, The Notebook, Garner said:

“My wife and I have never had any real loud arguments. I had a separation once, but it had nothing to do…Well, it had something to do with my wife, but not totally. It had to do with my health. It had to do with my work. It had to do with my children. It had to do with her. I said, ‘Honey, I just have to go get away from everyone or I’m going to crazy. If I do, I’ll blow the whole store.’ My wife was caring enough and all her girlfriends told her, ‘You’ve got to divorce this son of a bitch,’ and she didn’t. I went back and we’re still happily married,” said Garner.

Garner said he did leave, for nearly two years.

“I got a house out in the valley and for the first six or eight months, I didn’t do anything. I was just tired and worn out,” he recalled.

During the filming of The Notebook with Ryan Gosling, Garner had some advice to share with the young actor who was skeptical about true love.

Ryan Gosling said he didn’t believe in love at first sight and loving somebody that long, and I said, I’ve been married 47 years, and it seems to work,” Garner told PEOPLE. “I only knew my wife [Lois Clarke] two weeks before I married her. We’re both devoted to each other. We’ll be there for each other forever.”

Garner and his wife, Lois, were together until the end.

Image via YouTube

  • jglimmer

    As a widow of long-term marriage, I know too well that “forever” isn’t what it’s cracked up to be. My heart goes out to her!

    • Lily Munster

      jglimmer – Many hearts go out to you as well.

  • Richard from Colorado

    Garner had what by any standard in Hollywood a great marriage and a long career that many should envy. It’s not the affairs one has missed you regret, is that you always looked elsewhere and asked what if. Soul mates are words used by bad romance novelists and fools who’s ego believes that the universe is there just for them. The test is the greying hair, the loss of a step, and realizing that your spouse is traveling the same road as you and will fall behind at times. A great lover is not those that loved and slept with every one they can, but one who made another brave when afraid, and laugh when the unimportant things went bad.

  • Jan

    Forever is Forever, My husband and I went out on two dates, He asked me to marry him, I said yes and we were married one month later. When I lost him in 2001, I thought I would die. But then I started to remember all the wonderful little times and the big things we had in our 48 great years togeather I never married because we were married for eternity forever and forever. Mrs. Garner was a very Blessed Women and like it was said it is forever.

  • Anthony Parkes

    what can you say except what a man and what a woman, A few days short of their 58th wedding anniversary, He said that they parted for 18 months during the late 70’s because of the stress of doing the Rockford Files, He said that his love for his wife and marriage was never in doubt or danger, He was the winner of two Purple Hearts in the Korean war, Unfortunately we are losing a lot of great older actors and actresses. the like of that we will never see again a bit like the music revolution of the 50’s, 60’s and 70’s I trust that his wife Lois is okay, I should think that it’s a hard thing to take in and get used to after 58 years of being together. R.I.P. Jim and Sincere best wishes to Lois.