After nearly 40 years together, Dr. Phil McGraw and his wife think they know the key to a successful marriage.
“In just eight days, we celebrate our 40th wedding anniversary,” Robin McGraw, Dr. Phil’s second wife, told PEOPLE at BELLA NEW YORK’s Hamptons White Party, during the celebration of her cover story at the Montauk Yacht club. “So he’s doing something right.”
The secret to their marital success is no secret, according to McGraw, 62.
“A lot of people say it is 50/50, but we both think it’s 100/100,” she said. “So, we both focus on the marriage – and we did our homework before we got married. We sat down and with both said what we needed from our marriage. I learned that would upset him, and I purposely didn’t do that. We’re not talking the little thing We learned each other’s needs and we focus on that still to this day.”
Both Dr. Phil and his wife have previously revealed that their fathers were both alcoholics, a pain that McGraw says drew the couple closer.
“I’ve been with him for 43 years, and I’ve never seen him take a drink,” she admitted. “When we first met, I asked him, ‘Do you drink alcohol?’ and he didn’t tell me then that his father was an alcoholic, but he said, ‘I actually think that I’m allergic to alcohol.’ And I said, ‘Oh, I think I love you.’ But it definitely defines who we are.”
“We both say that we grew up in a home, in a life of uncertainty,” she continued. “Because when you have an alcoholic parent who goes on binges, you never know what life is going to be like that day. It changed who we were. And I made a decision when I was very young that I would not marry a man who drank alcohol, who was an alcoholic, and that when I got married and grew up, I would not raise my children in a home with an alcoholic.”
Mcgraw also discussed how she admires her husband for handling the demands of his successful career.
“That’s one of things I admire in Philip,” she said. “His desire to work and work hard. So I support that in him. It doesn’t upset me, because that’s what I love about him, to see him working and creating, focused on what he knows and loves.”
And has living in the spotlight been difficult; the couple are presently suing the National Enquirer for $250 million, a subject that, according to her press agent, she was presently unable to discuss.
“It’s really not that hard,” McGraw indicated. “When we made that decision to leave Oprah and start that show, from day one, I always said, ‘I think you’re brilliant. I think you have the ability to change people’s lives. So whatever comes with that, being in the public eye. It’s okay.”
McGraw indicated that they do not plan to celebrate the big day with a big party, nor likely not a trip.
“We just finished our annual family vacation,” she said. “We chartered a yacht and went to the South of France and Italy with the family. We’ve been doing that for 20 years. Our very first time, Oprah gifted us with a trip just like this. And it’s so much fun to be together.”
McGraw does have a special anniversary gift in mind for her husband, Dr. Phil, 65.
“I have picked something out for him,” she told PEOPLE. “But it’s a surprise.”
The Dr. Phil Show airs weekdays (check local listings).