A 44-year-long marriage is not common in Hollywood. So what is Ron Howard’s secret?
The Oscar-winning director, 65, met his beautiful wife, Cheryl Alley, also 65, when he was just a junior at John Burroughs High School in Burbank, California. Finding the love of his life at such a young age is something that Ron has never stopped being grateful for. “I met her, and there was never anybody else,” the actor and director told People.
This week, Cheryl and I celebrated our 41st wedding anniversary!!
The couple celebrated their 44th wedding anniversary on June 7, 2019, and it was the perfect time to reflect upon how growing together for over four decades has kept their partnership happy and strong. Their “secret,” if indeed it can be called a secret, is communication, Ron said.
“People say, ‘How’d you do it?’ There’s no technique,” the director explained. “There’s no tactic other than communication is really important. You have to learn to communicate and have difficult conversations in constructive ways.” Ron also tipped his hat to “an element of luck, because people either grow together or they don’t,” he said, “and I don’t think you can force that.”
#tbt Backward Dance '71. As I recall Cheryl made that dress from a pattern she got at Sears!
Ron and Cheryl’s romantic connection was instant. “I felt really lucky when we met,” Ron told HuffPost back in 2013. “It’s crazy. We were teenagers, it shouldn’t have worked.” The couple married when they were only 22 years old. “That shouldn’t have worked either,” Ron joked, “and yet it really and truly has.”
The director wryly cited “compatibility” and “her good patience” as the other reasons that he and his wife have managed to stay happily married for so long.
The couple has four children: 38-year-old star of the Jurassic Park series Bryce Dallas Howard, 34-year-old twins Paige and Jocelyn, and their 32-year-old son, Reed. The Howards raised their children outside of Hollywood in Greenwich, Connecticut, and in more recent years have welcomed five grandchildren.
#tbt Here we are on our day wedding with my parents, Rance and Jean and brother Clint Howard . Cheryl and I are about to celebrate 40 years of marriage in a few days! Happiest day for us!
Ron has long been a household name in the United States after playing Opie on The Andy Griffith Show at the tender age of 5 and later for his role as the loveable Richie Cunningham on TV’s Happy Days in the 1970s. He found his true (vocational) love later in life, however: directing. “I was an actor who dreamed of being a director,” he said.
Cheryl, who appeared in 2001’s A Beautiful Mind, for which her husband won two Oscars, has been there for Ron every step of the way. “She’s unbelievably supportive and always has been,” Ron shared. “Our compatibility has endured through all kinds of experiences.”
Old Photobooth shot this time 40 yrs ago. I had picked up a few stitches and a shiner in an otherwise harmless…
Ron’s latest venture is a documentary film called Pavarotti that chronicles the life story of the famous opera singer. While working on the film, Ron shared an Instagram post, referring to the great man as a “cultural icon, who took an elite art form and made it entertainment for the masses.”
“Luciano Pavarotti was a voice, and a man, unlike any other,” the director continued, “and I am proud to share his story.”
Ron is openly nostalgic on social media. He recently posted an adorable throwback photo of himself and Cheryl around the time of their very first date. “I don’t want to hold it up as though I have some kind of inside secret,” Ron shared, humbly, “because I felt really lucky when we met.”
“I think these things are part effort,” he continued, “but I don’t think you can will that kind of thing into existence.” The Howards’ connection was immediate and has endured for over four decades. Now that’s a marriage model to aspire to!
“It just may not be for everybody,” Ron concluded, with a smile. “But it certainly is for Cheryl and I, and I’m grateful for it.”