October 06, 1997 12:00 PM

SUFFERING FROM A PRE-ULCEROUS condition in 1984, singer Kenny Loggins took a doctor’s advice to see a colonic therapist. “I can’t say I noticed the physical effects of the colonic,” says the two-time Grammy winner whose ’80s hits include “Footloose” and “I’m Alright.” “But I did notice something else”—the “peaches-and-cream complexion” of the therapist, Julia Cooper. “It was intimacy on an intense level,” Loggins says, adding with a wink, “She knew me inside and out.”

She knows him even better now; Loggins and Cooper have been husband and wife for four years, a pairing celebrated in their new book The Unimaginable Life: Lessons Learned on the Path of Love (a CD-ROM and album by the same title have also been released). Nine months in gestation (the symbolism is intentional), Life is based on entries from the couple’s separate journals. Kenny, 49, and Julia, 42, hope to show others how to reach the marital joys they’ve achieved. With Kenny, says his wife, “there was a sense of compatibility, friendship and safety that was different than what I had experienced with men before.” The couple, whose son Lukas, 4, inspired a song on the new album, are expecting a second child in October.

The authors realize their book will be dismissed by some as just another New Age, I’m-alright-you’re-alright therapy manual. But relationship counselor Joyce Breasure says it promotes the very honesty she recommends—”because thoughts will build up on the back burner and later explode like an atom bomb.” Not all couples, she adds, should be as brutally candid as Julia and Kenny. He, for instance, confesses to times when he finds his wife unappealing. “When you’re in love with somebody,” he reasons, “Monday night you’ll see them as the most beautiful person ever. Tuesday morning you might see them as a complete slob.”

Kenny, the youngest of three sons born to Robert, a traveling salesman who died in 1983, and Lina, 75, a homemaker, in Everett, Wash., attended parochial schools in several states as his family moved for his father’s job. Early tunes written for the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band led to a fruitful partnership (five platinum and two gold records) with guitarist Jim Messina until Kenny went solo in 1976. Julia, the older of two sisters born to L.A. insurance executive Daniel Cooper, who died in 1994, and homemaker Jackie, now 67, was afflicted with severe asthma and, as a teen, nearly died from an allergy to asthma medicine. Over the years, Cooper studied such holistic health treatments as wheat-grass therapy and in 1983 opened the private Santa Barbara counseling center that would be the site of her fateful appointment with Loggins.

At the time, Loggins was married to Eva Ein, the mother of his children Crosby, 16, Cody, 15, and Isabella, 9. Cooper was then married to nutritionist David Fries. Not until six years later, in 1990, did they split with their spouses and move in together. “The love that I’d experienced with Eva,” says Kenny, “was a shade of pink, and I didn’t know what red was because I’d never seen that color in my life.” Crosby, then 11, officiated at the pair’s unofficial 1992 wedding outdoors in California’s Big Sur, where about a dozen guests shed their clothes (but got dressed when it began to rain) because, says Kenny, “we wanted to let go of everything, recreating our lives in that childlike way, like a baby comes into the world.” A legal ceremony followed a year later.

Kenny and Julia readily admit theirs is not a perfect union. She was jealous of a masseuse who rubbed him the right way and once got so angry about an ex-girlfriend he mentioned in 1991 that she stormed out of their beach cottage (they now live in a six-bedroom house in Santa Barbara) while he stayed inside doing a TV interview. “Love brings up all your hidden stuff, your hidden demons,” he says. “We need to recognize that and trust the love more than the fear.”


PAULA YOO in Santa Barbara

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