Why Judith Light Says Living Apart Is the Secret to Her Lasting Marriage

Judith Light knows a little something about maintaining a long-term (and long-distance!) relationship with her husband of 32 years, Robert Desiderio.

The longtime actress opened up to PEOPLE’s Editor-in-Chief Jess Cagle in this week’s issue about her journey to stardom, the friendships she’s made throughout her career, and the secret to a lasting relationship.

“I met [Robert] on One Life to Live — he was the one who said, ‘You have to leave the soap, you have to go,’ ” Light, 68, said of the early stages of her relationship with 66-year-old Desiderio, a former television actor. “I said, ‘Go? Where am I going? I’m living in the city of my dreams, the city that I love. I’m the girl from New Jersey, I got to be in New York.’ ”

“He said, ‘There are people in another area of this business that don’t know what you can do,’ and I said, ‘Are you talking about California?’ He said, ‘Yeah, I think we should move to California.’ I thought, ‘I don’t drive. I don’t want to see sunshine every day. I want the rain. I want the snow. I want to put on my galoshes,’ and he said, ‘No, you really have to do this,’ ” shared Light.

The couple dated for four years before tying the knot in 1985.

For years after, Light — who currently lives in New York — and Desiderio — who resides in California — have navigated a long-distance marriage.

“It’s been the best,” she said. “I highly recommend it. He loves California, and I would never ask him to leave there and he would never ask me to leave here.”

  • For more from Light, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday

“Now, mind you, I go back and I shoot Transparent and I’m there four or five months, so I’m there all the time, so then when I’m done there, I come back here and he’s flying here today, so we’re going to be together for a few days and then I’ll go back to California, so it really is this kind of supportive … we’re on each other’s team,” shared Light.

Though Light, who currently plays the role of Shelly Pfefferman alongside Jeffrey Tambor‘s Maura Pfefferman in Amazon’s Transparent, acknowledged that her marriage is different from most, she admitted that it’s beautiful in its own way.

“There’s a solid, different kind of intimacy that comes about out of this and the support for each other and each other’s lives,” she said. “I think people need alone time. I know I’m one of those people that needs that.”