Judy Collins Says 'Separate Sleeping Spaces' Is Key to 25-Year Marriage with 'Amazing' Husband Louis

Judy Collins tells PEOPLE in this week's issue that her husband Louis Nelson also recently became "best buddies" with her ex Stephen Stills

Judy Collins and Louis Nelson
Judy Collins and Louis Nelson. Photo: Amy Graves/WireImage

After 18 years of marriage, Judy Collins knows that the secret to a happy relationship with husband Louis Nelson is doing everything together — well, almost everything.

The singer-songwriter says that although she believes in separate sleeping spaces ("It's the snoring!" she says), she and Nelson still share plenty of quality time.

"We do all kinds of things and are always together. He's just an amazing person," she tells PEOPLE in this week's issue. "We love to walk, and we've walked Central Park and along the Hudson River a lot in the past couple of years. We love to go to the movies and to the theater. We love to go to museums, and we love socializing with our friends. We do this as much as possible."

Collins, 82, and Nelson, a designer who created the Mural Wall for the Korean War Veterans Memorial in Washington, D.C., first met in 1978 at an Equal Rights Amendment fundraiser.

Stephen Stills and Judy Collins. Chris McKay/Getty Images

Though the "Both Sides, Now" singer, who was married once before to first husband Peter Taylor, says she was "not interested in meeting anybody" when Nelson, 85, came along, the two eventually married in 1996.

"We're very opposite: He is absolutely organized and needs this pile of papers to be this way, while I can trash a room so fast," she says. "But he's such a steady guy. He had determination. He has persistence. He's absolutely present, and he's supportive."

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His steadiness was only proven further when he forged an unlikely friendship with Collins' ex Stephen Stills, 77, while Stills and Collins toured together in 2017 and 2018.

Though the star says she's unsure if her longstanding friendship with Stills is Nelson's "favorite thing in the world," he "really did fine" befriending the man who was once so besotted with Collins, he penned the Crosby, Stills & Nash song "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes" as an ode to her.

"Stephen and I managed, though all these years, to keep a friendship," she says. "Louis and Stephen became best buddies [during the tour], which is the tops. Having a friendship that lasts 60 years is pretty awesome and pretty rare."

Collins — who built her career making her own of songs written by others — is set to release her 29th album, Spellbound, on Feb. 25. It'll be her first album written entirely by her.

"You have to be somehow in a place that you can trust yourself and the rest of the world," she says her revealing new music. "It takes courage, and I wanted this to be my story."

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