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Rhea Perlman Explains Why She and Danny DeVito Separated But Will Never Divorce

The actors separated in 2017 after 35 years of marriage.

After 35 years of marriage and 45 years as a couple, Rhea Perlman and Danny DeVito separated in 2017. But, just because they made a change to their relationship status and living arrangements doesn't mean that they plan to divorce. In a new interview with Yahoo!, Perlman shared some updates on her relationship with DeVito, including the "freedom" she feels now that they have given each other some more space. Still, they have a close connection and never plan to officially end their marriage.

Read on to find out what both Perlman and DeVito have shared about their separation and to see why they don't plan to ever divorce.

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Perlman and DeVito separated six years ago.

Rhea Perlman and Danny DeVito circa 1991
Bart Sherkow / Shutterstock

Perlman and DeVito got married in 1982 after being together for over 10 years. During their marriage, they welcomed three children, who are now all in their 30s: Lucy, Grace, and Jack DeVito. The pair also share grandchildren and have worked together several times over the years, including in the movie Matilda and the TV show Taxi.

DeVito and Perlman separated in 2017. They had separated once before, in 2012, getting back together in 2013.

Perlman just shared an update on their relationship.

Rhea Perlman and Danny DeVito at the 2016 Tribeca Film Festival
Ron Adar / Shutterstock

In a March 2023 interview with Yahoo!, Perlman opened up about where her and DeVito's relationship stands post-separation and continued to refer to him as her spouse.

"I like not always having my husband here—I love that we see each other when we want to," the 74-year-old actor said. "He doesn't have to take me to every function, and I don't have to take him. We can do separate things and still have a really great time when we're together."

She continued, "It's great to have the freedom to do whatever you want, to watch whatever you want, to not have the TV on if you don't want to." But, she added of marriage, "I have to say, there are times I do miss it. It's a mixed bag."

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Perlman said they became better friends after the separation.

During a 2019 appearance on Watch What Happens Live, Perlman was asked if her friendship with DeVito had improved since the final years of their marriage. "Absolutely," she answered. "It's much better because all the tense stuff is gone. It's not in your face. I'm not in his, he's not in mine."

The Cheers star also said that it was a "hard transition" for their family, but that everyone gets along great now.

"Danny and I have always loved each other and we have three amazing children together," Perlman said. "And we really agree on almost everything important. You know, we were together for 40 years. Forty years is a long time, you might have to do something else."

They won't ever get a divorce.

Rhea Perlman, Danny DeVito, and their children at DeVito's Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in 2011
admedia / Shutterstock

Despite the separation working out well for them, Perlman said that she doesn't plan to ever divorce DeVito.

"We're separated, but I'm not getting divorced," she said on Watch What Happens Live. "That is not in the picture." Asked why not, she said, "What for? … We do live separately. We see each other a lot, too."

Similarly, Perlman told the New York Post in 2018, "We've been together a very long time, so there's a lot of love and history. We agree on enough things, so why [ruin] that with the yucky things that come with a divorce?"

DeVito says they're still "very close."

Danny DeVito, Lucy DeVito, and Rhea Perlman at the premiere of "Avatar: The Way of Water" in 2022
DFree / Shutterstock

In 2019, DeVito told People that he and Perlman were still "very close." The It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia actor further explained, "We're friends. We're happy. Everybody's happy."

He also touched on their artistic collaborations, saying, "She's a good actress and I love working with her."

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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