Ted Danson Has the Sweetest Advice for a Long-Lasting Marriage

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Ted Danson

Ted Danson is saying goodbye to Curb Your Enthusiasm, but not comedies anytime soon.

For multiple seasons, the Emmy and Golden Globe-winning actor has played "Ted Danson" in Larry David's world. Prior to joining Curb, which debuted in 2000, Danson felt he had reached the stage where he was no longer funny and had outstayed his welcome in the game. However, his outlook changed after David invited him and wife Mary Steenburgen to be on Curb Your Enthusiasm.

"It revitalized my desire to be around funny because it was so effortless," Danson, 76, told Parade in an exclusive new interview. "You just showed up and played. And so I owe Larry David a great deal and I love him even though he is a pain in the a-s."

<p>John Johnson/HBO</p>

John Johnson/HBO

While the HBO show is coming to an end on April 7 after 12 seasons, Danson has another comedy in the works: A Classic Spy. The Cheers alum reunited with the creator of The Good Place, Mike Schur, for the new Netflix series that's based on the Oscar-nominated documentary The Mole Agent.

Related: See the 'Cheers' Cast Then and Now

“He's so bright,” Danson said of Schur. “He's one of my favorite people in the world. He's all those things that The Good Place was. He's ethical. He leads a purposeful life. He's funny.”

Unlike his character Charles in A Classic Spy, who was retired before becoming a mole in a secret investigation (more on that later), Danson can’t fathom the idea of hanging up his hat just yet.

"I can't imagine retiring," he told Parade. "I really enjoy what I'm doing. I'm sure there'll be a time when I should gracefully bow out, but that ain't now."

The cast of 'The Good Place.'
The cast of 'The Good Place.'

During his interview with Parade, Danson was technically playing the part of spokesperson, promoting Bristol Myers Squibb’s SO, Have You Found It campaign, which spotlights the roughly two million Americans with plaque psoriasis, an autoimmune disease that causes scaly patches on your skin.

“I've had plaque psoriasis since I was 25,” he explained. “And for the majority of that time, 'till about 15 years ago, it kind of ran my life, to be honest. It was uncomfortable. It was unsightly. It made me feel less than. I felt like I had a secret that I had to hide." Then he found improved treatments.

When the opportunity to join Bristol Myers Squibb’s campaign came along, Danson was eager to help others who might be experiencing what he went through. “Secrets are no good,” he said. “Being embarrassed about yourself is no good. … The campaign is about finding that joy in life that you had before you had this condition. Have you found a way to empower yourself? Have you found a solution by going to a dermatologist and finding a treatment for you? It's about reclaiming yourself.”

“By the way,” he added shortly after, when talked turned back to his television roles, “Charles does not have plaque psoriasis. That was a decision I made.”

His next role

In A Classic Mole: Danson plays Charles, a guy who infiltrates a retirement home at the behest of a private investigator. His mission? To figure out if a resident is being mistreated, as her son expects she is.

“It came from a documentary out of Santiago,” Danson said of the adaptation. “The documentary ended with the retirement home [being] brilliant. It was that the person who made the complaint had never, ever, ever gone to visit their mother and the mother was dying of loneliness and grief. It's kind of a lovely message about, you know, don't let go of your parents completely just because they're in a retirement home. But I'm having a lot of fun. You don't think of retirement homes as funny, but ours is!”

As for whether Danson, like his character Charles, has ever gotten a new lease on life, he told Parade, “Yeah, 30 years ago, when I met Mary Steenburgen. Without doubt. It was like this divine miracle that came my way and just changed my life completely... We both know how blessed we are.”

Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen.<p>Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic</p>
Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen.

Photo by Axelle/Bauer-Griffin/FilmMagic

His secret to a happy marriage

With their 30-year anniversary coming up, one can't help but ask Danson if he has any advice for a long-lasting marriage.

"First off, no idea," he said. "My answer is, 'Fall in love with Mary Steenburgen.' I don't know. I'll tell you some of the things we happen to both enjoy and do: We celebrate how blessed we are. We laugh a lot. We are very supportive of the other person's creativity, wherever that leads. I don't know. It's really miraculous. The truth is, instead of offering advice, the only thing you can really say that's real is, 'Thank you. I don't know how and why I'm blessed. Thank you.'"

Of course, he adds, you do need to work at it. "You work hard every day to wake up and be in love. Try to stay in love and not fear. If one of us is into fear, the other one can go, ‘It's gonna be alright. It's okay.’ If we're both in fear, it's down the tubes. It's always a tough place to be if you're both fearful, but we kind of insist on not living there too long."

Related: Larry David's Net Worth In 2024 Is Pretty, Pretty Good! How He Made a Fortune From 'Seinfeld' and 'Curb Your Enthusiasm'

Saying goodbye to Curb Your Enthusiasm

Despite having a miracle of a marriage in real life, Danson and Steenbergen's characters on Curb (they play versions of themselves) are divorced. "That no-good lousy rat Larry David had us divorced," Danson joked. "I was so mad at him. I know, I know, I'm an actor. I know it's make believe and I know we're just pretending to play ourselves, but it was like wait, what? He just broke us up?"

That insult aside, Danson says he's going to miss the show quite a bit. "It was such a constant part of our life for such a long time, Mary and myself, that it was—I'll miss that," he said. "I mean, come on, the guy—I try to make fun of him, but he's really a genius. He really turned half-hour comedy on its ear. I will miss being around that incredible brain. And he's a good friend. He's a loyal friend. I'll miss the excuse to see each other."

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