After only six weeks of dating, a 39-year-old Bette Midler asked Martin von Haselberg for his hand in marriage.
Serving as a reminder to enduring love and commitment, the beautiful couple reveals the past almost 40 years wasn’t effortless but they “stayed together until it got better, and it did.”
Keep reading to learn more about this amazing pair who have outlasted many other Hollywood marriages!
Bette Midler, known for her indelible voice and impressive acting skills, was already a Grammy, Golden Globe and Tony winner when she met the 35-year-old Martin von Haselberg in 1984.
Then 39, the star of The Rose locked down her relationship with the Argentinian man and popped the question after only six weeks of dating.
The pair eloped to Las Vegas and wed at the Starlight Chapel with Elvis officiating their nuptials.
“My wedding was two people – my husband and me – and, of course, the Elvis impersonator that married us,” the Hocus Pocus star recalled about the 02:00 am wedding that cost only $45 and a wardrobe change for her husband-to-be.
“He got all dressed up in this suit that I was like, ‘I’m not getting married to you in that suit!’ So, he had to change his suit and then we went to one of the little churches and we went to get the license. We had a tape of Nino Rota music…and we walked down the aisle,” said the Beaches star, referring to Nino Rota, the composer of the music for The Godfather trilogy.
The “spur of the moment” wedding turned out to be a great decision. Only two years later, the couple welcomed their only daughter Sophie, now 36, an actor whose credits include Woody Allen’s 2015 film Irrational Man.
But up until a couple of years ago, the singer of “The Rose” and her artist husband, known for his roles in the 1980’s The Kipper Kids, had no photos to look back on their magical wedding event in Vegas.
Then, after more than three decades of marriage, a surprise arrived in the mail.
“Apparently, there was a photographer there,” Midler explained on a 2021 episode of Jimmy Kimmel Live. “When the Starlight Chapel closed its doors about five years ago, they sent us the pictures. We had never seen the pictures [before].”
The years following that day haven’t always been easy.
Celebrating their 40th wedding anniversary next year, the “Wind Beneath my Wings” singer revealed that the commitment she shares with von Haselberg once heavily hinged on compromise, and their determination to be the best parents to Sophie.
“We used to fight bitterly,” Midler shared with Closer, adding that the birth of Sophie helped change their priorities. “We came to the conclusion that we wanted to raise a child. We never wanted to hurt that kid in any way. [So] we stayed together until it got better, and it did.”
The key, von Haselberg said, was putting family first. “There was a conscious effort to create exactly the life we have,” says the former performance actor who left his job as a commodities trader to support his wife’s career and help raise their daughter.
Meanwhile, the First Wives Club star gushes over her husband, whom she calls the “greatest father.”
“My husband is probably the greatest father who ever lived. He taught [Sophie] a foreign language. He taught her how to cook,” Midler continued, “He has looked after me for many, many years. He’s sacrificed a lot.”
In turn, Midler shares that she’s learned to compromise, something the strong-willed woman hadn’t done before.
“Listening is very hard. And compromise. Compromise is the hardest of all,” the star of Stepford Wives said, adding that she also learned accountability. “The blaming, I think, is the worst part…It’s because you don’t want to carry the burden yourself. You want to push it off on someone else. But honestly, you have to learn not to do that.”
In 2020, the proud parents – who were “over the moon” – walked their daughter down the aisle at her wedding, which only had 11 guests due to Covid 19.
“It was so sweet. They had a great time,” Midler said of her daughter and son-in-law, Harry J. N. Guinness. “They stayed up all night and they drank. They had a ball.”
If you’re wondering, Elvis did not make an appearance.