Jeff Bridge is a Hollywood film legend, known for his roles in Crazy Heart and The Big Lebowski. While some might say that Jeff was destined to be an actor, Jeff himself would say that he was destined for so much more. The film actor has made quite a name for himself, but his true accomplishment is in his 40+ year marriage to his wife Susan.
Destined for greatness
Born in Los Angeles, California to famous actor Lloyd Bridges and his wife, Dorothy Simpson, Jeffrey Leon Bridges has something special about him.
At the age of two, he appeared in his first feature film produced by RKO Radio Pictures, The Company She Keeps. Even as an infant, the producers knew he was destined for greatness.
After his film debut, Jeff didn’t star in another movie for about 20 years. But when he finally got back in costume and in front of camera, he really proved himself. At the young age of 22, Jeff portrayed Duane Jackson, a teenager finding his way in the world.
Although shot in 1971, the film was presented in black and white, giving it a more “old-timey” feel. Jeff received an Academy Award nomination for his role as Best Supporting actor. Although he didn’t win, film viewers knew they had witness something monumental.
Too cool for school
Because of his incredible success with The Last Picture Show, Jeff decided to stay in the genre of western films. This time, however, his character Jack Mckee, in Rancho Deluxe, was a bit more wild and rambly.
Jeff’s character actually played a cow herder who payed his bills with the meat from the cows, instead of the traditional money payments. The film received mixed reviews, one critic even saying that it was a bit too cool. Well, if there’s one thing we know about Jeff, it’s that he’s the epitome of cool.
Mind on other things
One reason the film might have not gotten the best reviews is because Jeff’s mind was on something other than his role. The cast was shooting a scene in a hotel restaurant in Paradise Valley, Montana, when a woman caught the full attention of Jeff.
Later, Jeff would tell us that he didn’t know if she was a waitress, or a maid. All he knew was that he couldn’t take his eyes off of her – even while attempting to film the scene. It was as if he was struck by Cupid’s arrow in that moment.
Not exactly slick
Jeff had been extremely bashful, and he tried to peer at the breathtaking waitress from on top of his magazines. The waitress, however, could feel Jeff’s eyes on her, and would always look up at him.
Jeff noticed that she had two black eyes and a broken nose – from what he would later learn were from a car accident. Finally, one too many time after making eye contact with the beautiful woman, Jeff knew he had to do something. He walked over to the woman, and asked her on a date.
If at first you don’t succeed
Sadly for the for Jeff and his aching heart, the woman – who’s named turned out to be Susan – was not interested in going out on a date with him. Perhaps she wasn’t interested in going out with a big time movie star and all the complications that it came with.
Nevertheless, at the film’s wrap party at a local bar the two did indeed meet again. This time, Susan agreed to dance with Jeff. From that moment, the deal was sealed and the two officially began their romance.
With you in Malibu
Jeff and Susan spent Jeff’s last remaining days in Montana together before Jeff had to head back home to Los Angeles. He wasn’t there for very long, however, and he head out with a big camper RV to go pick Susan up and take her back to California.
Jeff made it all the Susan, and the passionate waitress never looked back. The two drove off into the sunset. Thankfully, Jeff was pretty established and quite successful, meaning the two shacked up pretty easily in his beach home in Malibu.
Basking in the glory
At first, the two spent their time just as any new couple does. They got to known one another more intimately, and discussed their hopes and dreams for the future. Jeff took Susan to his movie premiers, and the two could always be seen laughing or hugging one another.
However, as time went on, Susan wanted more from the relationship. Susan wanted the future to be the present, as opposed to some distant goal to work towards. These ideas freaked Jeff out.
Resistance to change
Jeff obviously loved Susan, and was deeply committed to her. Susan knew that Jeff was committed to her, but she wanted something more. The waitress from Montana wanted to get married, and she wanted to start a family.
This idea deeply scared Jeff. Jeff’s father had been married to his wife for 50 years, and the thought of being with someone that long simply made Jeff feel trapped. He didn’t want to ruin the amazing situation he had with Susan.
At the time when Susan was beginning to let Jeff know that she needed the relationship to move forward, Jeff was still only in his mid 20s. According to an interview given later, Jeff said at this time in his life he felt like marriage was something to be feared.
He considered it to be something that people do that was just a step on the way towards death. He knew he wanted to spend the rest of his life with Susan, he just wasn’t ready for the step of marriage just yet.
Susan wasn’t particularly jazzed about Jeff’s outlook on marriage, because she knew beyond a reasonable doubt that it was something she wanted – and soon. The two separated for a little bit of time (although they promised not to date anyone else) just to clear their heads.
During that same time, Susan also received a job offer back in Montana. At this point it was do or die. Susan told Jeff that if he did not want to marry her, then she would move back to Montana and create her own family.
An unpleasant premonition
Jeff thought his options over, and he felt completely stuck. And then, out of the blue, he had this vision of himself as an old man thinking about the girl he had once dated from Montana.
In his vision, Susan had moved on, and Jeff was a lonely old man who had never gotten over his fear of marriage. That vision struck a nerve, because from then on, Jeff knew what he needed to do. He called Susan up and told her wanted to marry her.
Going to the chapel
Just five days after Jeff had proposed to Susan, the movie star put on his suit. Susan put on her lacy white dress and walked down the aisle. On June 5, 1977, when Jeff was 28 years old and Susan was 25, the two committed to each other forever.
Even though Jeff had been extremely trepidatious about getting married, his wedding day was still one of the happiest days of his life. After all, he knew Susan was the love of his life from the moment he had laid eyes on her.
Adjusting to married life
Still, after the joy of the wedding ceremony wore off, Jeff was still not feeling so great about the marriage. The first could months were a bit rough, and he had didn’t know how to adjust to the new norms.
However, as time went on, he realized marriage was not as bad as he had feared it would be. Instead, according to Jeff, marriage turned out not to be the end other potential opportunities, but rather a catalyst for other, even more exciting opportunities.
After the fear of being married dissipated, Jeff finally understood just how incredible the experience of marriage could be. According to Jeff, after marriage an entire slew of possibilities – possibilities that would not be happen otherwise – are thrown on the table.
These opportunities include greater intimacy, the ability to start a family, and the feeling that you always have someone to rely on. This part, the fact that you’re going through life with a partner by your side, is the best part of all.
Creating a family
Jeff never knew he could experience the feelings he had after he married Susan. Indeed, the two created the family that Susan had always known she wanted. Together, Jeff and Susan brought three daughters in the world.
They waited for around three years after got married, but in August, 1981, Jeff and Susan welcomed Isabelle Annie. Two years later, Susan had Jessica Lily, and two years after that they had Haley Roselouise. Jeff’s daughters became the most precious things in the world to him.
Not all paradise
Like any couple, however, Jeff and Susan still have their arguments. Apparently, their most common fight revolves around the fact that Susan believes Jeff will never understand what it is like being married to “Jeff.”
While that is quite true, Jeff actually sees this as their strongest commonality. Jeff will never know what it’s like to truly be in Susan’s shoes, but Susan will never understand what it’s like to be married to “Susan,” either. Nevertheless, the two have managed to stay together.
Managing the fights
After 40 years together, however Jeff and Susan have discovered a system that allows them to feel as though they are each appreciated and understood. Apparently, once emotions have calmed down a bit, the two lovebirds will sit face to face with one another.
Jeff will speak for as long as he needs to so that Susan can understand his point of view, and then Susan will speak for as long as she needs to. The majority of the time, this practice works. Clearly – as the two are still madly in love!
Thoughts on infidelity
People often expect famous movie stars to cheat on their spouses. After about 35 years of marriage, Jeff finally opened up about his own viewpoints on the matter of infidelity. Jeff believes that you shouldn’t suppress desire, but that you also need to be aware of the difference between suppression and refraining.
He said that if someone wants to cheat on their spouse, he or she should go ahead and see how it goes. Apparently, we live and then we learn, and Jeff has an extremely relaxed approach to infidelity.
Jeff said that he believes that when someone in a relationship, and they have a desire to explore other. options, that the suppression of that desire can be even more detrimental to the relationship than the cheating itself.
Jeff compared cheating on a significant other to having the curiosity about the temperature of a hot stove. However, once you’ve touched the stove, the impulse to touch it again goes away. When asked if he ever “touched a stove”, Jeff explained that he didn’t want to get further into the topic.
The tricks to a successful marriage
When asked what the secret to a 40+ year marriage is, Jeff – in true Jeff fashion – gave a very cheeky answer. He said that the ultimate secret to a long lasting marriage is not a get divorce!
While the answer is simple, it is, in fact, very true. Jeff went on to explain that he thinks that divorces happen because people give up. According to Jeff – only when you work past the hardships will you be able to reach the true pleasures of a long term relationship.
Jeff and Susan clearly have not had the perfect relationship. The have had their ups and downs just like any other couple. Nevertheless, the two clearly have found a way to make it work that makes them truly grasp the notion of “until death do us part.”
Jeff is one of the coolest guys in Hollywood, and Susan has been there to help him through every step of the way. Jeff now realizes that marriage isn’t about feeling trapped, but rather, it’s about being free to experience the deeper intimacies of life.