“I had this vision of an old guy thinking there was this girl from Montana, man, why didn’t I marry her?” Jeff Bridges mused, thinking of his wife of four decades, Susan Geston. Luckily for Bridges, he was bold enough to ask for what he wanted. And he got it, eventually, but not without a little challenge from Geston!
The pair met in Paradise Valley, Montana, while Bridges was filming the 1975 western movie Rancho Deluxe; Geston was working as a waitress in the local café to pay for college. Bridges was, by then, already a world-famous actor and a heartthrob to boot.
Bridges went to Geston’s café after a day of filming, and clocked the waitress immediately. According to AARP, “the slim blonde had two black eyes and a broken nose from a recent car crash,” but her beauty shone through. Bridges was hooked; the rest, as they say, is history.
Or it would have been, if Geston had said “yes!”
“I knew I was madly in love with my wife the minute I saw her,” Bridges revealed on Conan O’Brien’s talk show. The actor approached the waitress and asked her for a date, but Geston turned him down. If they really were destined to be together, she said, then they would surely meet again.
And mercifully, they did, in a bar a few days later. This time, they danced together and hit it off. In a way, they never stopped dancing; they married in 1977 and have never looked back.
“The relationship just keeps getting better,” Bridges told The Sun. “If you change partners every time it gets tough or you get a little dissatisfied,” he said, “then you don’t get the richness that’s available in a long-term relationship. My wife supports me and it makes me love her more.”
But despite the couple falling head over heels in love with one another, Bridges was reluctant to marry Geston at first. “When I was young and in my 20s,” Bridges admitted to Reader’s Digest, “I had a fear of marriage. I did everything in my power to resist it … the idea was frightening to me, man.”
But when Geston was offered a job back in Montana, she gave Bridges an ultimatum. As Bridges recalled, “Sue said, ‘I know you love me, but I want a family. If you can’t answer to that, I’m going to find it somewhere else.'”
Despite Bridges’s reservations, he knew he didn’t want to lose the love of his life. He proposed, and the couple married just five days later. “I said, ‘Oh God, I can’t let this woman go,'” Bridges told the Oprah Winfrey Network.
It wasn’t always perfect. The couple fought but developed a brilliant technique for defusing tension. “They sit face-to-face,” AARP shared. “One talks, and the other listens, no interruptions. Then they switch.”
Today, the happy couple has three daughters: Isabelle, 37, Jessica, 35, and Haley, 33. Isabelle has a child of her own, and Bridges and Geston, more infatuated than ever, are loving being grandparents.
“How wonderful marriage is,” Bridges reflected. “What a great opportunity … kids, all these kinds of emotions that you wouldn’t experience if you weren’t married.” With Bridges smiling broadly at the camera, it’s clear to see that marriage works for this inspiring pair.
Long may it continue!