What You Didn't Know About Barbara Walters' Ex-Husbands

Although Barbara Walters' final years were spent away from the public eye before her death on December 30, her impact will be felt for generations to come. The legendary TV journalist was known for her ability to land interviews with just about any famous figure, and for putting them on the spot when she did. 


Walters' love life was almost as dramatic as her interviews. Throughout her nine decades of life, she dated a number of prominent men, including Clint Eastwood, former Federal Reserve chairman Alan Greenspan, and Virginia Sen. John Warner, the ex-husband of Elizabeth Taylor. Walters created a scandal when she dated Massachusetts Sen. Edward Brooke, who was married at the time, per the N.Y. Daily News. Only after realizing the damage they were doing to their careers did she break it off.

Barbara Walters was also married four times — twice to the same man — and outlived at least two of her ex-spouses. Here's what we know about them all.

Barbara Walters' first marriage was a short one

Though born in Boston, Barbara Walters spent parts of her childhood and high school years in Miami Beach, where her father, Lou Walters, operated nightclubs, per the Miami Herald. After college, she got a job at a local New York City TV station. In 1955, while visiting her parents, she happened to meet a casual friend at the airport. Bob Katz was a Navy veteran and successful businessman whose family ran a children's hat company. 


After a whirlwind romance, they married, but Walters regretted the decision even before saying her vows. Finding her fiancé boring and feeling boxed in, she tried to persuade her father to call off the wedding, as she recalled in her memoir, "Audition". But Lou talked her down, pointing out that he'd already paid for a fancy Plaza Hotel reception. "My heart never felt so heavy," she wrote.

The marriage proved to be just as disastrous as Walters feared. The couple had little in common, she recalled in her book, and she still had hopes for an entertainment career. She and Katz had no children together and divorced in 1957. Four years later, Walters finally got her break as a writer on NBC's "Today" show, which led to her hosting spot. No reports are available on Katz's life after the divorce.


Barbara Walters and Lee Guber share a daughter

Several years after her divorce from Katz, Barbara Walters met theatrical producer Lee Guber on a blind date. She fell for him, although she was wary of his profession, as she penned in "Audition": Her own father's success in the entertainment industry was ruined by his poor financial sense. Indeed, the couple's life together got off to a bumpy start. Engaged to Guber in the summer of 1963, Walters started experiencing "all the old terrors about marriage," as she wrote in her memoir, and broke off the engagement. The assassination of President Kennedy that November served to bring the couple's life back into perspective, and they wed just a few weeks later. Even then, as Walters admitted in her memoir, their relationship was so shaky that she was tempted to shred their marriage license.


Walters and Guber tried to start a family with no success. "I...had several miscarriages," Walters told Jane Pauley in a 2002 interview. "And when I did, they were never reported." Finally, in 1968, they adopted a baby girl, whom they named Jacqueline after Walters' older sister. 

Despite their joy in parenthood, Walters and Guber proved incompatible partners. They divorced in 1972, and Guber died in 1988. Sadly, Jacqueline Guber Danforth has had a difficult life, marked by substance abuse and the shuttering of a wilderness intervention program she founded. Not much has been reported about her since she was arrested for DUI in 2013. 

Barbara Walters wed Merv Adelson — twice

Barbara Walters' next marriage involved another media powerhouse. Merv Adelson (seen here at right) was the co-founder of Lorimar Productions, the studio behind such iconic TV shows as "Dallas" and "Full House," per Deadline. Prior to that, he had already made millions building real estate projects in Las Vegas. Walters and Adelson wed for the first time in 1981, but split just three years later, per Hollywood Life.


The couple made another go of wedlock in 1986, but Adelson's past became an issue between them. One of his Vegas resorts had been accused in print of having ties to the mob, and Adelson was involved in a lengthy libel suit. The negative press put a strain on their marriage and careers. "Merv was never a member of organized crime. He had nothing to do with that," Walters told Roger Friedman in his Fox News' Fox411 column. "When we were married, [the attention] happened because he wanted to buy a very large chain of [television] stations. The fact that he was married to me might have made him more vulnerable." The two divorced for the second time in 1992.

Merv Adelson's successes faded almost as quickly as they began. According to the Los Angeles Times, he lost most of his wealth through poor investments in early internet ventures and in stock of Time Warner. Married and divorced once again, he lived his final years in much humbler surroundings before his death in 2015 at age 85.