Despite his split from Rhea Perlman in 2017, Dumbo star Danny DeVito reveals the two have remained close friends
The 74-year-old actor says in this week’s issue of PEOPLE that he and Perlman, 70, have remained “very close.”
“We’re friends,” says DeVito, who next stars in Disney’s live-action Dumbo, in theaters March 29. “We’re happy. Everybody’s happy.”
The two have acted together many times over the years, including on his classic TV show Taxi and the 1996 family film Matilda, in which they played a married couple.
He adds, “She’s a good actress and I love working with her.”
Perlman and DeVito began dating in 1971 and married in January 1982. The pair have three children together: Lucy, 36, Grace, 34, and Jacob, 32.
They first announced their separation in October 2012 after 30 years of marriage and over 40 years together, but later reconciled in March 2013.
The two separated again in March 2017. They’re both as busy as ever in their careers: Perlman costars with Diane Keaton in the upcoming movie Poms, while DeVito stars as ringmaster Max Medici in Dumbo, directed by Tim Burton.
For more about Danny DeVito, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.
DeVito tells PEOPLE that Burton called him to star in the film alongside Michael Keaton, Eva Green and Colin Farrell. DeVito previously worked with the director on 1992’s Batman Returns, in which DeVito played The Penguin.
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“I felt really honored to be in his movie. I wouldn’t have been able to live with myself if I wasn’t in this film,” says DeVito, whose family are big fans of the original 1941 animated film. “This is one of my favorite Disney movies.”
The new film, he says, “captures all the feelings and sensibilities of [the original]—how people push away something different. And then also the idea of figuring out how to conquer the fears and insecurities that we have in life.”
“It’s all there with Tim’s incredible artistry,” DeVito says.