Who Is William Daniels' Wife? All About Emmy-Winning Actress Bonnie Bartlett

William Daniels and his wife, Bonnie Bartlett, are college sweethearts

Bonnie Bartlett (L) and husband actor William Daniels visit Hallmark's "Home & Family" at Universal Studios Hollywood on October 25, 2017 in Universal City, California
Photo: David Livingston/Getty

William Daniels and Bonnie Bartlett have one of the longest-lasting marriages in Hollywood.

The couple met when they were both students at Northwestern University. After a few years of dating, they wed in 1951 and have been together ever since.

Over the course of their relationship, the pair raised two sons, became grandparents and shared the screen together a handful of times. Bartlett even played her husband's love interest on his hit show Boy Meets World.

However, their decades-long relationship has not been without its challenges. Over the years, both Daniels and Bartlett have been candid about the mutual infidelity they faced at the beginning of their marriage.

While it was a "painful" time for the couple, Daniels and Bartlett were able to overcome their relationship struggles and became stronger for it.

"So much happens and you live — the good things, you hurt each other," Bartlett told PEOPLE in March 2022. "We've hurt each other but you recover and you grow and you change and you adapt. You have to be able to adapt to the other person. You have to think of them first. It doesn't happen overnight. It took us years to get to a real companionship marriage."

So, who is William Daniels' wife? Keep reading for everything there is to know about Bonnie Bartlett.

She is an actress

ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content

While Daniels may be the more recognizable face thanks his role as the beloved Mr. Feeney on Boy Meets World, he isn't the only actor in the relationship. Bartlett has been acting since the 1950s and has dozens of film, TV and theater credits to her name. She is most known for her role as Grace Snider Edwards on Little House on the Prairie and as Ellen Craig on the medical drama series St. Elsewhere.

Bartlett has also appeared on the TV shows Home Improvement, The Golden Girls and Better Call Saul, among others.

She met Daniels in college

Bartlett met her future husband while they were both students at Northwestern University.

In 2021, Daniels spoke about their time at the university in an interview with Solzy at the Movies. "Life was filled with plenty at Northwestern for us, where I met Bonnie and started dating her," he recalled. "But also, we were in the theater department, which takes up just about all of your time. You will live over there at the theater. You do plays, you build scenery, you learn all about the art of the theater. We spent most of our time there but I have great fond memories of Northwestern."

She married Daniels in 1951

William Daniels and Actress Bonnie Bartlett attend the NBC Affiliates Party on July 15, 1989 at Century Plaza Hotel in Los Angeles, California
Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection

The couple got married on June 30, 1951. Ahead of their 70th wedding anniversary, Daniels and Bartlett reflected on their enduring marriage and their favorite things about each other in an interview with Forbes. "I think our relationship is based on mutual respect and I think she is smarter than me, better actor than me, and so I just hang on, you know, and try to get along," Daniels told the outlet.

Bartlett added, "He makes me laugh ... His humor, his sense of humor and his ability during every day to find something funny is really good for me, because I'm very intense."

She and Daniels have 2 sons

Bill Daniels and his family
Bill Daniels Instagram

Bartlett and Daniels have two sons, Michael and Robert, whom they adopted. In a joint interview with Forbes posted on Daniels' Instagram, Bartlett praised her husband's parenting skills, calling him a "great father."

Daniels and Bartlett are also grandparents. On his Instagram, The Graduate actor often shares photos of his family to celebrate holidays and milestone moments.

She and Daniels have worked together

On top of sharing a family together, the couple have also shared the screen. They first began acting alongside each other in the '80s on the NBC medical drama series St. Elsewhere, in which they played married couple Mark and Ellen Craig.

During a 2015 interview with the Los Angeles Times, Bartlett revealed that she was not initially cast on the show and it was supposed to be a one-time guest appearance.

"It was a fluke when I did the show almost as a favor," Bartlett told the outlet. "They liked us so much together."

Daniels and Bartlett became an on-screen couple again during season 6 of Boy Meets World. Bartlett joined the cast as Dean Lila Bolander and by the end of the season, her character had fallen in love and married Daniels' Mr. Feeney.

Of working with his wife on the show, Daniels described the experience as "easy."

"We work well together. We respect each other's talents and we know each other so well that we can make certain that she learns her lines," he said during a September 2019 interview with Today.

Bartlett added, "We worked for so long on St. Elsewhere because we played man and wife on that, and won Emmys and all kinds of stuff … And we had worked together when we were kids. We've been together for 68 years, so we've worked a lot together."

Bartlett and Daniels also starred in the 1977 film Killer on Board and 1981's All Night Long.

​​She and Daniels are both Emmy winners

William Daniels and Bonnie Bartlett celebrate their Emmy Awards backstage at the Emmy Awards Show, September 21, 1986 in Pasadena, California
Bob Riha, Jr./Getty

Both Bartlett and Daniels are Emmy winners. In fact, they each won Emmys for St. Elsewhere, the medical drama in which they starred alongside each other. Bartlett won her first Emmy in 1986 for her role on the show, and she took the statue home again the following year.

After being nominated for his role on the show two years in a row, Daniels won the Emmy for outstanding lead actor in a drama series in 1985. He won again the following year in 1986, the same night his wife received her first big win. According to the L.A. Times, Daniels and Bartlett were the first married couple to win Emmys on the same night since 1965, when Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne both won for The Magnificent Yankee.

She and Daniels overcame infidelity

In her 2023 memoir Middle of the Rainbow, Bartlett revealed that she and Daniels had both been unfaithful during the first 10 years of their marriage.

The actress admitted to having a brief affair with another actor in 1959 and shared that her husband's affair with a New York-based producer in the early '70s left her "devastated" to the point where she "could no longer tolerate any kind of open marriage."

"I guess it was a little bit of an open marriage at first, but that was very painful," she told Fox News Digital while promoting the memoir. "That didn't work well. And it was a time when people were doing that. It was at a time in New York when there was a lot of sex and a lot of people doing all kinds of things, you know – very free."

Despite their relationship struggles, their love for each other never waivered and they were eventually able to work through the rough patch.

"Bill and I have moved forward day-by-day and eventually, the days added up. We've been happy together and sad together, and somehow stayed together for seven decades," she told the outlet.

She echoed the sentiment in an interview with PEOPLE published on Jan. 24, 2023. "The marriage could have broken apart at any time those first 10 years, if one of us had, say, fallen in love with somebody, but we never did," she said. "That was never part of it. Both of us really wanted to be together. The love has never stopped."

She is Daniels' "biggest win in life"

Bill Daniels and Bonnie Bartlett
William Daniels and Bonnie Bartlett Daniels. Bill Daniels Instagram

While the accomplished actor has had many successes throughout his career, he describes his wife as his "biggest win in life." Shortly after the couple celebrated their 70th wedding anniversary, Daniels posted a video slideshow on Instagram that featured photos of him and Bartlett through the years.

He penned a loving message in the caption, writing, "70 years with the love of my life! Remember to celebrate your wins. Bonnie has been my biggest win in life. We were gifted this video for our 70th anniversary by our dear friend @jeff_conway and I had to share our walk down memory lane. So many memories, so many decades, and so many grandkids! These last 70 years have been quite the ride!"

She and Daniels celebrated his 96th birthday with the cast of Boy Meets World

In March 2023, ahead of the Chicago Comic & Entertainment Expo 2023, Daniels celebrated his 96th birthday with Bartlett and several members of the Boy Meets World cast, including Will Friedle, Danielle Fishel and Rider Strong. The group enjoyed dinner and drinks at Chicago's The Loyalist.

The day before meeting up with the Boy Meets World cast, Daniels marked his birthday with an Instagram post. "Time flies! Spend it with the ones you love," he captioned photos of himself with Bartlett. "Thank you for all the birthday wishes, they make me feel so young!"

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