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In this week's issue of PEOPLE, the iconic I Dream of Jeannie actress, 90, opens up about her amazing journey throughout the years, the challenges she's faced, the lessons she's learned and why she doesn't plan on retiring any time soon.
"Sometimes one is forced to slow down, but I'll do what I do until I can't," she says, with a laugh.
She's long been one of Hollywood's most beautiful and ageless stars, but, these days, Eden has largely given up glam to enjoy a low-key life in Beverly Hills with her husband of 30 years, real estate developer Jon Eicholtz, 83, and their Labradoodle puppy Bentley.
"I don't wear any makeup, just usually a mask and dark glasses," she says.
The Tucson native, who spent most of her childhood in San Francisco, discovered her love for performing early, singing in the church choir and competing in pageants. Her big break in Hollywood came in 1955 when she became a recurring sketch performer on The Johnny Carson Show before she landed her career-making Jeannie role on the NBC sitcom in 1965, starring alongside Larry Hagman.
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"She's easy to live with," Eden says of her iconic character, Jeannie. "She really is. I like her a lot. I think what makes me so happy is that so many people around the world like her. Not me. They like that character. And they like the show for what it is. It takes people out of themselves and into another world. and I appreciate that. I like it very much."
The show, which aired for 139 episodes from 1965 to 1970, followed a 2,000-year-old genie (Eden) and Hagman as an astronaut with whom she falls in love with and marries.
While Eden was finding great success in Hollywood, she faced a series of devastating blows after the show ended, including two divorces, the loss of an unborn child and her son Matthew's 2001 death at age 35 following a heroin overdose.
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Along the way, Eden says she learned the importance of asking for help.
"I carried my second son for almost eight months [in 1971] before the doctors told me he had died in the womb," she says. "It was awful. I became numb. You just deal with everything every day. I went right back to work and lost a lot of weight. I'd come home and look at my little boy who's adorable and think, 'I'm so lucky. I have this sweet child. I have a husband who loves me. What's wrong with me?' And nobody told me what was wrong with me. At that time going to a psychiatrist, people didn't do it. You just healed yourself. Now you go get help when you feel that bad. When you can't move or don't want to do anything, go and get help."
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If anything, the challenges she's faced — both professionally and personally — have taught her valuable lessons.
"People have to find their own way," she says. "Don't be afraid. Everyone's life is different. Everyone's beginnings are different. Learn to recognize in other people what you have inside yourself because that's the one thing we all have. We're all connected. Knowing that kind of got me over a lot of humps when I first came to town and started auditioning."
Watch the full episode of People Features: Barbara Eden on PeopleTV.com or on the PeopleTV app.
These days, Eden — who recently published her first children's book, Barbara and the Djinn, with coauthor Dustin Warburton — is happy with where life has taken her.
"I'm really lucky," she says. "I have dear friends. I have a wonderful family, a very supportive husband, a dog who is adorable, but a brat! Yes, I'm very happy. I think life, everything, has to work itself out. There's a reason for most things, and I can't wish for it."