Inside Whoopi Goldberg's love life including THREE failed marriages

Inside Whoopi Goldberg’s VERY turbulent love life as she breaks her silence on sexuality rumors – from three failed marriages to a ‘painful’ affair with Ted Danson… before she swore off romance FOR GOOD

  • Whoopi, 67, confirmed she is not a lesbian during an appearance on The Best Podcast Ever with Raven-Symone
  • Sister Act star has been married and divorced three times – but says she’s only ever loved one man 
  • READ MORE: Whoopi Goldberg reveals the truth about her SEXUALITY

Whoopi Goldberg has made no secret of the fact that she’s ‘much happier’ being single and has no desire to live with someone ever again, but The View host is certainly no stranger to romance.

The 67-year-old TV host has not only walked down the aisle a total of three times, she’s enjoyed some high-profile relationships with fellow actors Timothy Dalton and Ted Danson, and even had a live-in boyfriend up until 2000.

In recent years though, Whoopi has made it clear that she ‘doesn’t want to live with anybody’ and has stated that being single is her personal choice.

Commenting on the idea of entering a relationship again, Whoopi – whose real name is Caryn Elaine Johnson – said back in 2019: ‘For me, there is a commitment. When you make a commitment to someone else, it’s a commitment to ask their opinion and listen and work it out with them. I don’t want to do that. I don’t want to share money. I know it’s terrible, but I don’t want to do it.’ 

Speaking during the appearance on The Tamron Hall Show, she added: ‘People keep saying, “Well, you’ll find somebody”. I’m not looking for anyone. I am very happy.’

Her choice: Whoopi Goldberg has made no secret of the fact that she’s ‘much happier’ being single

No more weddings: The 67-year-old previously said that getting divorced was ‘expensive and boring’

On air: Whoopi regularly shares her thoughts on relationships when hosting The View

More recently, Whoopi shared her thoughts on marriage during an episode of The View and admitted she was ‘dancing and prancing’ every single time her relationships ended in divorce.

Whoopi has been divorced a total of three times, with her final marriage to union organizer Lyle Trachtenberg ending in 1995.

The Ghost actor admitted that by the time her third marriage was over, she felt it was ‘getting expensive and boring’, hinting that this is one major reason she has never said ‘I do’ again.

Speaking with her co-hosts on the ABC program on August 1, she said: ‘I was dancing and prancing around, I was so glad to get out of there! Every time! Because I always knew, I always thought, “you didn’t want to do this from the giddyap! You knew you didn’t want to do it and you did it anyway so shut up and move on!”‘ 

Having seemingly been single for many years now, Whoopi has been plagued by rumors regarding her sexuality and many questioned if she was a lesbian.

However, during an interview with Raven-Symoné on The Best Podcast Ever, Whoopi shut down those rumors after her former co-host told her: ‘You give me lesbian vibes!’

‘Women have been asking me this for as long as I’ve been around, I am not a lesbian. But I know lots of them, and I’ve played them on television,’ Whoopi said.

She continued: ‘But I have always had lesbian friends because they’re just my friends,’ before recalling a conversation she had with one of her pals.

‘I’m not gonna kiss you, but I’ll kiss you over here, I’ll do this but I’m not going to do this… And they’re like, “OK!”‘ she explained.

So, as Whoopi sets the record straight about her sexuality, takes a look back at her past loves, failed romances, and everything she’s said in regard to those lesbian rumors.

Tying the knot at 18: Before she was famous, Whoopi married her drug counselor, but sadly the six-year marriage ended in divorce in 1979

Throwback: Whoopi, pictured here in 1983, was married to her first husband in the 70s before she found fame

Mother and daughter: The View host shares her only child, daughter Alexandrea, with her first husband Alvin Martin

Finding fame: Whoopi pictured in 1986, the year she starred in the comedy Jumpin’ Jack Flash

Before she found fame onstage and onscreen, Whoopi said ‘I do’ to a man named Alvin Martin in 1973.

According to reports, Alvin was working as a drug counselor at the time and that’s how he and Whoopi met. 

In May 1974, the couple welcomed a daughter named Alexandrea, who now works as an actor and producer.

Sadly, Whoopi’s first marriage wasn’t meant to be and she and Alvin got divorced in 1979 – and the Ghost actor has since admitted that she only got married because she was conforming to what society expected her to be doing.

Speaking in an interview with Piers Morgan in April 2011, Whoopi explained: ‘I wanted to feel normal, and it seemed to be that if I was married, I’d have a much more normal life. But clearly that’s not the case, that’s not a good reason to get married.

‘You have to actually want a life with someone through ups and downs and I discovered that wasn’t for me,’ she added.

During the same conversation, Whoopi revealed she’s only ever been in love with one man in her life – and it’s not anyone the public know.

Second attempt: Whoopi spent two years married to a cinematographer during the early days of her film career

Second attempt: Whoopi’s second marriage was to a man named David Claessen in September 1986

Back in the day: The mother-of-one met cinematographer David during production of a documentary entitled Who Are They?

Family trio: Whoopi pictured with her daughter Alexandrea and second husband David in September 1986

Not meant to be: David and Whoopi’s marriage only lasted for two years and they called it quits in 1988

Four years after kicking off her movie career, Whoopi got hitched to a cinematographer named David Claessen in September 1986 after they met earlier that year during production of a documentary entitled Who Are They?

Whoopi was 30 years old at the time, and David was four years her junior .It was his first marriage – but unfortunately it wasn’t meant to be as the couple had called it quits by 1988.

The mother-of-one has never spoken at length about her marriage to David, but she has commented about choosing men who are younger than her.

During an October 2021 episode of The View, co-host Sara Haines asked Whoopi if she preferred to go ‘older or younger’ when it comes to dating.

‘It depends on my mood,’ she teased. ‘Because it’s about the person. Sometimes you meet somebody who is younger than you and… look, it would be perfect if everybody was well matched and well put together, but they’re not. And you find it where you find it, and it may last a long time or it may not.’

She then revealed why she had stopped dating younger men, and explained: ‘Let me tell you why I stopped doing lots of things with younger folks… I went out with a younger dude and he said, “I did not know that Paul McCartney had another band,” and you kind of go, “The Beatles? You’ve never heard of The Beatles?”

‘So you have to know when you’re going younger, there’s a lot of information that you have to impart. And sometimes it’s tiring. But then there’s the other way where you’re like, “Yeah, you’re younger, but you look good! Yeah, you’re alright”, so you never know.’

Third time lucky: Whoopi’s marriage to a union organizer only lasted a year and she’s never said ‘I do’ again 

Not giving up: Whoopi married for a third time in October 1994 to Lyle Trachtenberg

Short run: Lyle and Whoopi’s marriage lasted a year or less as they split in 1995

Happier times: Lyle and Whoopi pictured together in March 1995 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel

Whilst riding high on the success of films such as Ghost (1990) and Sister Act (1992), Whoopi decided to try marriage for a third time and wed actor and unionist Lyle Trachtenberg in October 1994.

It’s thought the couple had met on set the year before, and while an exact date of their split is unknown – the pair didn’t make it through 1995 without getting a divorce.

This was the final time Whoopi decided to say ‘I do’ and she’s never committed to someone through marriage since, while Lyle married Adrianna Belan three years later and went on to have two daughters with her.

Whoopi has been grilled about her three failed marriages during many interviews over the years, and during an appearance on Friday Night with Jonathan Ross in April 2009, she made light of her past relationships. 

‘I like the party because everybody is very, very happy when they’re getting married,’ she told the TV host.

‘Everybody is cheerful, they wish you luck and everybody’s really supportive. My issue comes the next morning when you go, “wow forever? really forever?” and I just can’t commit, I’m terrible!’ Whoopi added.

Shaken, not stirred: In between marriages, Whoopi enjoyed a serious romance with James Bond actor Timothy Dalton 

The nineties: Whoopi enjoyed a two and a half year romance with Timothy Dalton in between marriages

Red carpet date: Whoopi and Timothy pictured at the 63rd Academy Awards in Mach 1991

A couple of years after her split from David, Whoopi enjoyed a two and a half year relationship with James Bond star Timothy Dalton, after they were introduced to one another by mutual friends in Los Angeles.

The pair were an item from November 1990 until April 1993, and attended many red carpet events together including the 63rd Academy Awards.

Prior to his public romance with Whoopi, Timothy – who is now 77 – was in a relationship with Vanessa Redgrave and then Stefanie Powers.

The Licence to Kill actor has never married, and it’s unsure exactly why he and Whoopi broke up.  

Memorable affair: Sister Act lead fell for married co-star Ted Danson in 1993, but their romance ended with a very expensive divorce 

Affair to remember: Whoopi had a romance with her Made in America co-star Ted Danson, who was married at the time

The heartbreak: Whoopi described her split from Ted as ‘very painful and very public’

In between her second and third marriages, Whoopi had a high-profile affair with Cheers actor Ted Danson, who was married to Cassandra Coates at the time. 

The duo first met one another in late 1988 on The Arsenio Hall Show in late 1988, with Ted describing Whoopi as ‘a sexy, funny woman.’

They became friends and starred in the 1990 TV special Help Save Planet Earth together, before falling for one another on the set of 1993’s Made in America. 

Whoopi and Ted began an affair that became public soon after, eventually leading to his very expensive divorce – with no prenuptial agreement, the actor reportedly wound up owing his ex some $30 million.

The same year as his divorce, father-of-two Ted was criticized for his appearance wearing blackface at a Friars Club comedy roast in honor of Whoopi, and for using many racist slurs.

Whoopi later defended the sketch and revealed that she had helped write much of the material and referred Ted to the makeup artist who painted his face as a societal critique. 

It’s over: Ted was married to Cassandra Coates at the time of his affair with Whoopi, and the divorce reportedly cost him $30million

According to a transcript in Spy Magazine, the monologue centered on a scenario in which Ted took her home to his ‘stuffy and out-of-touch’ parents to find that ‘[she] fit right in. After she did the laundry and washed the dishes…’

Whoopi scolded critics who attacked Ted for the skit and said they should have expected tasteless, vulgar humor.

‘We were not trying to be politically correct. We were trying to be funny for ourselves,’ she said at a news conference in October 1993, but the following month, the couple ended their romance.

Years later, Whoopi reportedly told Closer magazine of the breakup: ‘It was really painful, and it was very public. And the loss of his friendship hurts a great deal. We can never go and have a soda, anywhere. I’m friends with almost every man I’ve gone out with, except this man.’

In October 1995, Ted married actress Mary Steenburgen, whom he had met on the set of Pontiac Moon in 1993, and became the stepfather to her children, Lilly and Charlie, from her previous marriage to actor Malcolm McDowell.

Meanwhile, Whoopi enjoyed a brief 1995 romance with an orthodontist named Jeffrey Cohen. 

Long-term love: Dracula actor Frank Langella romanced Whoopi for several years and they even moved in together 

Long-term love: Whoopi was in a relationship with Masters of the Universe actor Frank Langella for six years

Sweet couple: Whoopi and Frank, pictured here in September 1995, also lived together

Public date: The pair held hands on the red carpet at the 48th Emmy Awards in September 1996

When her third marriage was done and dusted, Whoopi entered into a relationship with actor Frank Langella, who is 17 years older than her. 

The duo met on the set of the sports comedy film Eddie, in which Whoopi plays Edwina Franklin and Frank takes on the role of William ‘Wild Bill’ Burgess.

Prior to dating and living with Whoopi, father-of-two Frank dated actresses Diane Baker and Elizabeth Taylor, and was also married to Ruth Weil from November 1977 until their divorce in 1995.

Several years after separating from Whoopi in 2001, Frank was linked to her co-host on The View, Barbara Walters. 

According to a report back in 2010, Whoopi was ‘barely’ speaking to Barbara when the cameras weren’t rolling.

An insider claimed to National Enquirer: ‘Whoopi still has feelings for Frank and doesn’t think it’s cool of Barbara to take up with her former lover. It’s created an awkward situation for them and others around the studio.

‘In Whoopi’s eyes, Frank’s just not any other guy. He was her man, and they lived together for years,’ the source added.

No more weddings: Whoopi told her businessman boyfriend Michael Visbal that she didn’t want to get married again

Former couple: Whoopi pictured with businessman Michael Visbal in October 2001

After her split from Frank, Whoopi struck up a romance with businessman Michael Visbal.

The couple were together for three years until 2004, and before their split, it was rumored that they’d even spoken about their future.

A source at the time told WENN: ‘Whoopi and Michael are very happy together, but she’s told him that she doesn’t want to get married again.

‘She has a great thing going with him, they have an incredible chemistry going on – intellectually, emotionally and sexually.’

They continued: ‘She believes that she and Michael were brought together for some mystical reason, but Whoopi wants to know “why” before taking the big step of plunging into marriage for the fourth time.’

True ally: Whoopi has been a supporter of the LGBTQ+ community for decades 

Her support: Whoopi, pictured in July 2023, is a proud supporter and ally of the LGBTQ+ community

Whoopi is no stranger to being grilled about her sexual orientation as rumors have been swirling for well over a decade.

She has been a supporter and ally for the LGBTQ+ community for many years and lent her high-profile support to the 1987 March on Washington to call for an end to discrimination against gay and lesbian people and to call for more federal money for AIDS research. 

In 2014, Whoopi told Pride Source that she had always considered herself to be straight, but said that people made assumptions when she played a lesbian in films The Color Purple (1985) and Boys on the Side (1995).

Whoopi said she was more than happy to be welcomed into the LGBTQ+ community and explained: ‘You know, no one was trying to claim me, nobody wanted me. Black folks didn’t want me. Nobody wanted me. But I’ve always been claimed by the gay community. Always.

‘There are a lot worse things people could have accused me of – things that would really be upsetting! That’s not one of them. It never has been. I grew up in the theater. I grew up in a neighborhood where there was always gay folks,’ she added.

The following year, during an episode of The View, Whoopi responded to Matt Damon’s controversial statements regarding actors keeping their sexual identities private for their professional careers, and said she did not agree with it.

Group hug: Whoopi pictured on The View set in 2015 alongside Nicolle Wallace, Raven-Symone, and Rosie Perez

At the time, Whoopi said she thinks actors should be able to play everything convincingly and play it in all kinds of situations, and explained that whether or not a person knows or believes she is gay has little to do with her abilities.

‘People out you. People tell your business whether you tell your business or not, in terms of mystique and all of that stuff, you know, you used to be able to make that choice for yourself,’ she said.

In May 2017, she spoke in support of transgender rights at the 28th GLAAD Media Awards.

Whoopi served as executive producer for the show Strut and took to the stage to accept the award for Outstanding Reality Program.

‘If you’re listening to people who are saying there’s something wrong with transgender people, and we have to make all these crazy changes, maybe it’s time for them to go,’ she said alongside the transgender stars of the show.

‘You’ve got two years before the next group of folks are to be put out,’ she added, referring to politicians on the ballot in the midterm elections. ‘Pay attention. If it ain’t about the people, it’s about the party, and it should never be about the party.’

Whoopi finished her acceptance speech by thanking TV network Oxygen for taking a chance on her transgender modeling show, which she said ‘scared the s**t out of everybody else.’

‘The reason it scared people was because everyone had expectations about what “transgender” meant, as opposed to saying, “Oh, it’s just another person.”‘

Single and not ready to mingle: Whoopi doesn’t ‘want to do the work’ that comes with a relationship

Single lady: It’s unclear if Whoopi is currently in a romantic relationship, but in recent years she’s been rather vocal about being content on her own

Being honest: The actor said she realized she didn’t ‘want to do the work’ that comes with being in a relationship

Big night: Whoopi took her daughter Alexandrea to the 2016 Oscars as her plus one

It’s unclear if Whoopi is currently in a romantic relationship, but in recent years she’s been rather vocal about being content on her own.

During an appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert in 2015, Whoopi admitted that she is single because she ‘doesn’t want to do the work.’

‘It took me all those times to realize I’m okay being on my own. And I didn’t realize that, and I kept trying to do something and couldn’t figure out why it wasn’t working,’ she explained to the talk show host.

‘I was a decent person. The guy I was with was a decent person. And then I realized, “you don’t want to do the work, Whoop.”‘

More recently in late 2021, she appeared on The Drew Barrymore Show and opened up about relationships again.

‘I think they’re great for other people,’ she said. ‘For many, many years I thought, “I’ve got to get this right.” And then I realized one day, “I don’t got to get this right. I got this right for me.”‘

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