Carol Burnett Recalls Betty White's 'Great Love' with Late Husband Allen Ludden

"When you've had the best, who needs the rest?," Betty White once said of her relationship with her husband, who died in 1981

Carol Burnett is reflecting on fellow comedian Betty White's "loving relationship" with her late husband, Allen Ludden.

White, who died Friday at age 99, was married to Ludden from 1963 until his death in 1981. Burnett, 88, looked back on her memories with White and Ludden in PEOPLE's latest cover story, which celebrated White's upcoming 100th birthday.

Burnett told PEOPLE she had known White since before the Golden Girls star wed Ludden, and that following her husband's death from cancer, White said she would never marry again because she'd already "had the best."

ALLEN LUDDEN;BETTY WHITE
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Burnett recalled White's 2014 appearance on Larry King Now, during which she told the host, "When you've had the best, who needs the rest?," referring to her late husband.

White and her husband were "terrific together," Burnett told PEOPLE. When Ludden fell ill, White was working on The Carol Burnett Show. Despite her husband being "very, very sick," at the time, Burnett said White still "soldiered through."

ALLEN LUDDEN and BETTY WHITE, Carol Burnett
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"I just felt so bad because we were doing this show, and she would come and rehearse and then leave and go to the hospital," she told PEOPLE. "She had to be suffering something awful, because they loved each other so much, but she didn't let it hinder coming to rehearsals or during the performance. And she was brilliant as always."

Things We're Looking Forward to in 2022 - BETTY WHITE
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Burnett said White and her husband were "very loving, but also funny" together. She added, "She's very funny, and Allen had a great sense of humor. I'm sounding like Pollyanna here, but it was joyful. There's no other way to describe it."

Although White turned down her husband's proposals multiple times before finally saying yes — "She wanted to be sure," Burnett explained — she "had a great love" with Ludden, the comedian told PEOPLE.

Burnett said she could "only imagine" how losing Ludden affected White, adding, "They were very, very devoted to each other."

"We are deeply saddened by the news of Betty White's passing," said PEOPLE editor in chief Dan Wakeford. "We are honored that she recently chose to work with PEOPLE to celebrate her extraordinary life and career."

White's agent and close friend Jeff Witjas confirmed her death to PEOPLE Friday. She would have been 100 years old Jan. 17.

"Even though Betty was about to be 100, I thought she would live forever," Witjas told PEOPLE in a statement. "I will miss her terribly and so will the animal world that she loved so much. I don't think Betty ever feared passing because she always wanted to be with her most beloved husband Allen Ludden. She believed she would be with him again."

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