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Barbra Streisand and Don Johnson Split Because Their Duet "Made Him Very Insecure"

The star opens up about the end of their relationship in her new memoir, My Name Is Barbra.

Don Johnson is better known for his starring roles in shows including Miami Vice and Nash Bridges than he is for his musical ability, but the actor did have a singing career back in the '80s. He released two albums and also collaborated with his girlfriend at the time, Barbra Streisand. In her new memoir, My Name Is Barbra, Streisand writes that their duet actually marked the beginning of the end of their relationship, because Johnson was so "insecure" about singing with her.

RELATED: Barbra Streisand Says Marlon Brando Propositioned Her With His Wife in the Next Room.

As reported by Entertainment Weekly, Streisand reveals in her autobiography that she was attracted to Johnson right away when she met him during a trip to Aspen, Colorado. "This guy was lean and tan, with an easy grin (and good teeth)," she writes. "His name was Don Johnson, and he was the heartthrob of the moment on the TV series Miami Vice. I have to admit, I'm very attracted to attractive men. (Okay, so I'm superficial!) It's almost like an aesthetic thing… like a piece of art. I collect!" Streisand says that their relationship was "pure fun."

When they were together, Streisand and Johnson recorded the song "Till I Loved You," which was released in 1988 and reached No. 25 on the Billboard Hot 100. She says in her book that this is when their previously carefree relationship started to splinter. Streisand went to see Johnson in Canada where he was working, which she calls "a painful visit." She felt that Johnson didn't want her there and writes that "he didn't want to listen to a demo of [their] song."

The now 81-year-old goes on to explain that it wasn't the song itself that was the problem. "It was Don's attitude afterward… singing with me apparently made him feel very insecure," she writes. "And instead of talking about it honestly, he just became very cold, and mistrustful, and angry. I tried to be sympathetic. I certainly had no intention of ruining his career, but it turned out he was concerned about exactly that. It seemed like an overreaction to me, but clearly he was upset, and therefore so was I."

Streisand withdrew from the relationship, because she wasn't getting the "honesty and communication" she craved from Johnson. She says that the final straw was when she called Johnson only for his ex-wife Melanie Griffith answered the phone. Griffith and Johnson had been briefly married in 1976.

"At that point she was in rehab, and Don had conquered his own drug habit and was trying to help. (By the way, I'm not revealing any secrets. Both of them have been very open about it.)," the memoir continues. "I had no problem with him talking to her, but I did have a problem with him not having the courtesy to tell me the truth about their current relationship. I can't be with a man who is not straight with me emotionally." Johnson went on to get back together with Griffith. They were married for a second time from 1989 to 1996.

USA Today asked Johnson about "Till I Loved You" during a 2021 interview. Questioned about whether they'd ever record a follow-up, the actor said, "I'd say no, but you never say never. Hell, anything can happen. Honest to God, I spend most of my days going, 'I cannot wait to get up tomorrow and see what the [expletive] is going to happen next.' My life has turned into a very entertaining place."

He also commented on his relationship with Streisand in a 2014 interview with The Telegraph (via Yahoo!). "I found her fascinating," Johnson said. "A profoundly interesting and funny woman. She opened my eyes to a lot of things I hadn't even considered. We're still close. We don't see each other much, but when we do it's like that. [He snapped.] Like a minute hasn't passed."

In My Name Is Barbra, Streisand says that she sometimes sees Johnson at events to this day. "Thirty years later, I'll sometimes run into Don at a party given by mutual friends. We hug, and he always whispers in my ear, 'I love you,'" she writes. "I don't say it back."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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