Patrick Duffy at 71 Fell for Linda Purl & Embraced Her Son – Since Then Linda’s Boy Has Written Thank You Notes to Actor

    Dallas” star Patrick Duffy never thought he would find love again after the tragic passing of his wife.

    For years, Duffy was depressed, and his children even tried to set him up on dates a few times.

    Years later, at 71, he met and fell in love with “Happy Days” actress Linda Purl.

    The couple has been living a very happy life together, with Duffy even stepping in as a father figure to Purl’s son. The two share a great bond.

    Born in Montana and raised in Washington, Patrick Duffy has accomplished a lot in his varied career span. Before becoming famously known for portraying the dapper Bobby Ewing in “Dallas,” Duffy worked in the theater realm for quite some time. He previously worked as an interpreter for ballet, orchestra, and opera companies and taught movement and mime classes for a while.

    It was around this time that he met a beautiful ballet dancer by the name of Carlyn Rosser, who was traveling with the First Chamber Dance Company of New York.

    Patrick Duffy as Bobby Ewing in the premiere episode of "Dallas" in Los Angeles, 1978 | Source: Getty Images

    Rosser and Duffy had an instant connection. They became so close that Rosser even influenced Duffy to convert to Buddhism, which he has practiced for over 30 years.

    In 1974, the pair got married in a Buddhist temple and then moved to New York, where, in addition to getting gigs in off-Broadway plays, Duffy worked as a carpenter to support himself and his wife.

    After living in New York for a while, the married couple moved to Hollywood, where Duffy worked as a florist delivery man. He also managed to score some minor roles in television and film.

    In December 1974, a few months after they married, they had their firstborn son — Padraic. Four years after their first child was born, Duffy scored the most prominent role of his career on the classic hit TV show “Dallas.” Two years later, the happy couple welcomed their second son — Conor.

    The family enjoyed many fruitful years together before Rosser tragically passed away from cancer in 2017. Expectedly, the family was devasted, and Duffy, in particular, was shattered. For a long time, the actor was plagued with grief, making it difficult for him to carry on as usual.

    What made it even more challenging was that there had been no indication or warning signs that Rosser was anywhere near her deathbed. Duffy even admits he secluded himself on his ranch for 18 months, unsure of how to deal with all the emotions he was feeling. This, he said, started to affect his outlook on life:

    “I had all these emotions, not just about the relationship but about life. So, I would walk around the ranch and think in a way and to a depth I had not before.”

    Carlyn Rosser and Patrick Duffy at The Forty-Second TV Film Festival of Monaco in 2002 | Source: Getty Images

    Duffy was especially devastated after losing his wife and, for a while, could not imagine himself ever moving on from her. When his sons tried to set him up with someone new, Duffy was not receptive as he still considered himself a married man:

    “I can [still] hear her [and] I can [still] see her. I feel close to her all the time [but] what I miss most is her touch. I still consider myself a married man.”

    After 48 years of always being together, the “Man from Atlantis” star found it difficult to let go of his late wife’s memories. He accepted that he would most likely always be a widower. Instead of pursuing another relationship, he focused all his attention on being a loving grandpa to his grandchildren.

    The love lives of Duffy and Linda Purl are very different. While Duffy had only been married once and planned on remaining married to Rosser for a lifetime, Purl has been married four times.

    “The Young Pioneers” actress first married American actor and Lucille Ball’s son, Desi Arnaz Jr., in 1979, and the couple were together for a year before divorcing in 1980. Eight years later, she married an American screenwriter, William Broyles Jr., before divorcing him in 1992. Shortly afterward, in 1993, she married another screenwriter, Alexander Cary, with whom she had her son — Lucius, in 1995.

    Linda Purl photographed during a portrait session in Los Angeles, 2000 | Source: Getty Images

    When speaking about her love life in comparison to Duffy’s, Purl admits to the vast difference between the two. She jokingly quips that her romantic life has been more colorful than that of her counterpart:

    “Mine’s more colorful, but there has been a lifelong desire for continuity, consistency, and shared experience. It just took a different path to get here.”

    Outside of her chain of romances, Purl is known for her illustrious acting career, most notably when she played The Fonz’s girlfriend, Ashley Pfister, in the classic series, “Happy Days.” Since then, Purl has made several appearances on other television shows, like the American version of the popular quirky comedic show, “The Office.”

    Before scoring her big break on “Happy Days,” Purl had just started acting, only garnering a few guest roles in various productions. She was still waiting on her big break as an actress.

    It was during this time that she met and married her first husband, Arnaz. Reportedly, Purl was the only woman Arnaz’s mother, Ball, approved of.

    The former couple married at a Los Angeles temple on a Sunday, with only their closest relatives and friends in attendance. Though the couple remained happy for some time, reports claimed that when Purl got her big break on “Happy Days,” their relationship started to take a turn for the worse.

    After talking relentlessly, their bond grew incredibly strong. On one special call, while signing off for the night, Duffy professed his feelings for Purl with an “I love you” before hanging up.

    While on a promotional tour for “Happy Days” with a few of her fellow cast members, the actress brought her husband Arnaz as a tag-along. The couple had only been together for three months at the time.

    After attending an event that was part of the tour together, several reports stipulated that Arnaz had looked bored and completely uninterested. He apparently even scoffed at a question that asked whether “Happy Days” would last as long as “I Love Lucy.”

    Due to his uninterested behavioral patterns while on tour, a public consensus was that Arnaz was not as keen as his wife to spend time with the “Happy Days” cast. By 1980, after one year of marriage, the pair decided to call it quits. Arnaz, who had moved into Purl’s residence upon marriage, moved out after their divorce.

    Even though there were memorabilia commemorating their time together, Purl continued to stay in her house and claimed she was unfazed by the memories stored away in there. She reported to The Gannett News Service that her divorce had been amicable.

    Apart from her former marriages that did not work out in the end, Purl was blessed with becoming a mother to her son from one of her previous relationships. The proud mother is exceptionally close with her only child and never misses an opportunity to show him support in all his pursuits and endeavors.

    The love story of Purl and Duffy began one fateful autumn day in 2019. The two met at an event in Los Angeles orchestrated by a mutual friend.

    The friend then started a group text chat among the three of them and left the group to allow Duffy and Purl to get to know each other. Texting 24/7 turned into weekly FaceTime sessions. At the time, Duffy was working on a film project on location in Canada while Purl was performing in a play in New York.

    The pair would talk about everything going on in their lives during their weekly calls. Duffy recounted their FaceTime days from which the couple’s bond started to grow:

    “I’d say, ‘Here’s what my ranch looks like,’ and she’d say, ‘Here’s my apartment.’ We did a FaceTime every Wednesday. So about three weeks into that, I said, ‘Is there any reason Sunday can’t be Wednesday?’”

    When the couple went into lockdown and were confined to their respective homes, they leveled up their FaceTime sessions to daily Zoom calls. Purl recollects:

    “We Zoomed for a couple of months for two to three hours a night. We found all of this common turf, and then we would drop down to a different level. Patrick would read me a poem he’d written.”

    After talking non-stop, their bond grew incredibly strong. On one special call, while signing off for the night, Duffy professed his feelings for Purl with an “I love you” before hanging up. Purl was taken aback, as she did not see it coming.

    According to Duffy, the next night on Zoom was somewhat scary, not knowing how Purl would react to their last conversation. He decided to shift gears and steer the discussion toward the possibility of driving up to come and see her. Both parties were nervously excited as the anticipation of seeing each other grew, and Purl even admitted that she probably changed her outfit at least ten times on the day. Duffy recounts:

    “I drove 23 hours non-stop to end up on her doorstep. When the GPS told me I was five minutes from her home, I pulled over and changed from my shorts and…into good pants and a nice shirt. I water-slicked my hair back; I gargled [mouthwash] [and] I put a little cologne on, and I got back in the car.”

    Upon arriving at Purl’s house, Duffy greeted her, and shortly after, asked permission to give her a kiss. The two have been happy together ever since, and that happiness extends to their children. According to Purl, her son adores Duffy and has thanked him for making his mother happy on many occasions.

    Duffy’s boys, Padraic and Conor, were also delighted to see their father finally find happiness in love again. Duffy stated:

    “[Lucius] has, on several occasions, written specifically to say, ‘I’m so glad you’re in my mother’s life. I’ve never seen her so happy.’ And my boys have seen me happier than I had been in five years.”

    The “Dallas” alum feels lucky to have found love a second time around and does not take the gift for granted. Duffy was dead set on staying single after his wife’s passing but now celebrates his loving relationship with Purl:

    “I’m in an incredibly happy relationship [and] I never thought for a minute this would happen again. I never thought I’d feel this way again. I feel, quite honestly, that it is [in] keeping with the desires of my wife, the fact that we are intended to be happy. So when it’s offered, think about it, do whatever you do, but don’t let it pass you up if it’s the right thing.”

    Purl and Duffy have found incredible happiness and share a deep love for each other that few get to experience in their lifetimes. The couple has done a superb job of blending their families, and they spend nearly every family holiday together. All their loved ones are thrilled about their union.

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