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As a veteran actress in Hollywood, Bette Midler has made quite the name for herself. With more than 50 years in the industry, fans have known her for roles such as Winifred Sanderson in 1993's Hocus Pocus and Hocus Pocus 2. While she's built a long-term career, she has had the support of her husband, performance artist Martin Von Haselberg, behind the scenes.
Like a lot of celebrity marriages, Bette and Martin's romance started off in a whirlwind. The couple first met in 1984. Despite just getting to know each other, the two headed to the Starlight Chapel in Las Vegas and eloped six weeks later on December 16. Among those who witnessed them exchange their vows was an Elvis impersonator who conducted the ceremony.
"He got all dressed up in this suit that I was like, 'I'm not getting married to you in that suit!'" Bette revealed on Live with Jimmy Kimmel in February 2021. "So he had to change his suit and then we went to one of the little churches and we went to get the license."
While the couple's road to marriage may have been quick, Bette and Martin's wedding was only the beginning. Two years after they married, the Oscar nominee gave birth to their only daughter Sophie on November 14, 1986. Having Martin help raise Sophie gave Better the creative space to star in roles like Beaches, What's more, it was an accomplishment both of them take pride in today.
"I didn’t do it by myself," she told People in November 2014. "My husband is probably the greatest father who ever lived. He’s fantastic. He picked up the slack when I was on the road. He taught her a foreign language. He taught her to cook."
Despite the mutual love the couple had for their child, it doesn't mean Bette and Martin didn't have their tough moments. During a segment on Good Morning Britain in 2014, the "Wind Beneath My Wings" singer admitted the duo went through a rocky patch when Sophie was little. But for the sake of their daughter, they were willing to work out their issues and come out on top.
"We used to fight bitterly," she said at the time. "We came to the conclusion that we wanted to raise a child, we wanted to raise a really wonderful child, we never wanted to hurt that kid in any way and we stayed together until it got better, and it did get better and it was really fascinating."
Now, as they approach their 40th wedding anniversary, it's clear the couple has dedicated themselves to having a long-lasting marriage. Bette spoke to People about the secret to her successful romance. She revealed it comes down to for one another through the ups and downs of life.
"]Deciding to give in is] very hard," she told the outlet. "But sometimes you have to say, ‘It’s not worth it. The fight is not worth it. You have your way and maybe next Thursday I’ll have mine.’ Keep supporting each other. That’s hard, too ... It’s best to pick your fights wisely and just meditate. Stay calm. Don’t go from zero to 60 in two seconds. Just stay calm and try to breathe."
Above all else, Bette recognizes the rare love she found with Martin. She believes there's one crucial element to her marriage: learning to accept responsibility when it's necessary and simultaneously accepting her partner for who he is.
"Don't diminish each other. Don't make each other less. Don't try to make each other wrong all the time. Don't blame. Stop assigning blame," she continued telling People. “The blaming, I think, is the worst part. It's so [easy to do], because you don't want to carry the burden yourself. You want to push it onto someone else … But honestly, you have to learn not to do that."
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