NY Times Bestseller
What Makes a Marriage Last

40 Celebrated Couples Share with Us the Secrets to a Happy Life

From power couple Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue, a compelling and intimate collection of intriguing conversations with famous couples about their enduring marriages and how they have made them last through the challenges we all share.

Available in Hardcover, Paperback, Ebook and Audiobook

“Phil and I broke an ironclad rule of our marriage: for the first time ever, we decided to work on a project together. Talk about putting your marriage to the test! But it was worth it, for all the secrets and surprises we learned about.”

— Marlo

“One couple shared with us their promise to say ‘I love you’ aloud to each other every morning and night. Another told us they intentionally go to bed angry, and hope to forget the fight by morning. That was the fun part: no two marriages are alike.”

— Phil

What's the Secret?

What makes a marriage last? Who doesn’t want to know the answer to that question? To unlock this mystery, iconic power couple Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue crisscrossed the country and conducted intimate conversations with forty celebrity couples whose long marriages they’ve admired—from award-winning actors, athletes, and newsmakers, to writers, comedians, musicians, and a former US president. Along the way, Marlo and Phil also revealed the rich journey of their own forty-year marriage.

What Makes a Marriage Last collects practical and riveting wisdom for couples of all ages, offering a rare glimpse into the lives of husbands and wives we have come to know and love. Marlo and Phil’s frequently funny, often touching and always engaging conversations span the marital landscape—from that first rush of new love to keeping that precious spark alive, from navigating hard times to celebrating triumphs, from balancing work and play and family to growing better and stronger together. At once intimate, candid, revelatory, hilarious, instructive, and poignant, this book is a beautiful gift for couples of every age and stage.


“Delightful and instructive…Love and understanding shine through in this inspiring collection.” – Publisher’s Weekly

“Warmhearted testimony to enduring relationships…The authors’ disarming ebullience makes them endearing interviewers.” – Kirkus Reviews

“An intimate and surprising look at what keeps couples together.” – AARP

“Marlo Thomas, Phil Donahue explore ‘secret sauce’ of marriage with celeb couples in new book.” USA Today 

Watch Marlo and Phil talk about What Makes a Marriage Last:
“Chock block full of wisdom… an easy read because there’s so many interesting stories.” Today Show

“Featuring 40 famous couples who stood the test of time, and many other tests.” CBS Sunday Morning

“That’s what’s beautiful about the book, you get so many couples and everybody’s take on what makes a marriage last is different.” Ellen

Marlo Thomas and Phil Donahue Unveil Celebrity Secrets to a Long, Happy Marriage – AARP

Encore Events

Politics & Prose with special guests Judy Woodruff and Al Hunt

Commonwealth Club of California

Books & Books with Special Guests Gloria & Emilio Estefan.

Northshire Books in conversation with Joe Donahue of WAMC/Northeast Public Radio host of “The Book Show” and “Roundtable.”

Books-a-Million 40th Anniversary Celebration with special guest Ray Romano

About the Authors

Marlo Thomas is an award-winning actress, author, and activist whose body of work continues to impact American entertainment and culture. She has been honored with four Emmy Awards, the George Foster Peabody Award, a Golden Globe, a Grammy, and has been inducted into the Broadcasting Hall of Fame. In November 2014, President Barack Obama awarded Marlo the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor a civilian can receive. This is her eighth book.

Phil Donahue is a writer, producer, journalist, and media pioneer who revolutionized the talk show format, ushering in a new era of broadcast television. The Donahue show was honored with twenty Daytime Emmy Awards, and in 1996, the Daytime Emmys presented Phil with a Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to television journalism. He has been inducted into the Academy of Television Arts & Science Hall of Fame and is a recipient of the George Foster Peabody Award.


Alan and Arlene Alda

Kevin Bacon and Kyra Sedgwick

President Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter

James Carville and Mary Matalin

Deepak and Rita Chopra

Patricia Cornwell and Staci Gruber

Bryan Cranston and Robin Dearden

Billy and Janice Crystal

Jamie Lee Curtis and Christopher Guest

Ted Danson and Mary Steenburgen

Viola Davis and Julius Tennon

Gloria and Emilio Estefan

Michael J. Fox and Tracy Pollan

Chip and Joanna Gaines

Sanjay and Rebecca Gupta

Mariska Hargitay and Peter Hermann

Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka

Ron and Cheryl Howard

Jesse and Jacqueline Jackson

Elton John and David Furnish

John and Justine Leguizamo

LL COOL J and Simone I. Smith

Melissa McCarthy and Ben Falcone

John McEnroe and Patty Smyth

Mehmet and Lisa Oz

Rodney and Holly Robinson Peete

Letty Cottin Pogrebin and Bert Pogrebin

Rob and Michele Reiner

Kelly Ripa and Mark Consuelos

Al Roker and Deborah Roberts

Ray and Anna Romano

Tony Shalhoub and Brooke Adams

Judges Judy and Jerry Sheindlin

George Stephanopoulos and Ali Wentworth

Sting and Trudie Styler

Capt. Chelsey “Sully” and Lorrie Sullenberger

Lily Tomlin and Jane Wagner

Judith and Milton Viorst

Judy Woodruff and Al Hunt

Bob Woodward and Elsa Walsh