Judith Light on her bicoastal marriage: ‘I highly recommend it’

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Most of you know Judith Light as “Angel-UH!” from Who’s the Boss. Others of you know from her current role as Shelly Pfefferman on Amazon’s superb comedy-drama series Transparent, which has already earned her Golden Globe, Primetime Emmy, and Critics’ Choice Television Award nominations. Now, the 68-year-old actress shared some surprising marital advice that has kept her and her husband, actor Robert Desiderio, happy for many of the 32 years they’ve been together.

Judith, who met her husband on the set of the soap opera One Life to Live, is from New Jersey and loves the Big Apple. Robert is a west coast guy. When production for Ugly Betty, which Judith was working on, moved to New York from LA, she was excited to go back. Robert, not so much. The solution? The two live on separate coasts, but manage to make their marriage work. Judith told People Magazine’s Jess Cagle that “It’s been the best. I highly recommend it. He loves California, and I would never ask him to leave there and he would never ask me to leave here.”

The two aren’t apart for long. In fact, Judith shoots Transparent in California and Robert makes many visits east to see his wife. She says of their situation “it really is this kind of supportive … we’re on each other’s team.” She went on to share, “There’s a solid, different kind of intimacy that comes about out of this and the support for each other and each other’s lives. I think people need alone time. I know I’m one of those people that needs that.” I know I need my “me time,” and if this works for them, great. I know lots of couples who live together under the same roof and probably see less of each other than Judith and Robert do, so I see nothing wrong with their arrangement.

And – she isn’t the only one with a non-traditional marriage either. Helen Mirren employs the same technique with her husband, director Taylor Hackford, admitting back in 2008 that “It really helps if we don’t see each other too much.” If only I had known. Back in the day, I was asked to move to California to write celebrity news full-time, but my husband refused to leave Florida. We might still be married had we subscribed to this way of thinking. Or not. Probably not, but now that I know it’s an option, I’ll filing this information away if the bright lights of LA again try to beckon me.

Back to Judith, she looks amazing. The secret to her continuing beauty is yoga. In a recent interview with the LA Times, the flu shot advocate talked about her practice of Kundalini yoga, admitting “I’ve been doing yoga for close to 20 years.” She adds “It’s a great breadth of core work, which is why I like it so much. It keeps my body working properly and functioning at a high level.” She also walks the streets of her beloved New York, asserting “The city is my gym.” No wonder why she wants to stay there – I would definitely stay somewhere if I end up looking like her at 68.

Robert and I way back when!!

A post shared by Judith Light (@judithlight) on

Robert Desiderio and Judith Light

Judith Light and Robert Desiderio

The 69th Emmy Awards

Thanks to Jezebel for the tip! Photos: Getty Images, WENN.com

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34 Responses to “Judith Light on her bicoastal marriage: ‘I highly recommend it’”

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  1. Penfold says:

    I’ve always liked her.

    Walking the streets of NYC is a great way to keep fit. I was in such great shape when I lived there, and it was definitely from walking.

  2. Green Is Good says:

    It’s nice to read a positive celebrity couple story. Cheers to them.

  3. Giulia says:

    I totally agree with her – a bit of separation is a good thing. Then you bave so much more to share with each other.

  4. lightpurple says:

    Good for them. People have to do what works for their relationship which doesn’t always mean conforming to certain “norms.”

    • Esmom says:

      Yes. I’m realizing that more and more. Although I do think the arrangement would be trickier if young kids were involved.

      • Yup, Me says:

        My husband and (together 11 years) do not live together and we have a (now) 7 year old. It works really well for our family. We aren’t a plane ride apart but live and work in towns an hour apart.

  5. QueenB says:

    A lot of people also move in together simply for economic reasons. (Raising children would also be better to be in one place and not in two places seperated by long flights).
    This sounds very tone deaf to the reality of most people. Most people simply cant afford that lifestyle. Not to talk about the pollution.

    • Gigi LaMoore says:

      She is not speaking to the reality of most people. She is speaking about her own reality, which she is allowed to have. Not tone death at all.

    • kaiko says:

      IMO that sounds like BS, ridiculous even for extremely wealthy people. No one’s sex drive is that low. Constantly flying across the country just to see the other person?? If you live happily like that it’s usually because someone has a side piece or an “agreement” ie open marriage….where’s Tony Danza these days? 😉 😀

  6. Louise177 says:

    Every relationship is different. What works for Judith can destroy other relationships. If there was a secret for a happy marriage nobody would be divorced.

  7. Jerusha says:

    Judith Light lights(!) up everything she appears in. She’s great and it’s wonderful her personal life works as well as her professional life.

  8. The Original Mia says:

    I was just watching him on Murder, She Wrote. I’ve thought about a bicoastal relationship and would it work. I definitely think it helps if the kids are either non-existent or aged out of the house.

    She remains a fave.

  9. KLO says:

    This dame is regal. That is all.

  10. Jess says:

    I agree. My boyfriend lives and works a couple of hours away so we only see each other 3 or 4 days a week. And so the other nights I get some alone time and I treasure it so much. Of course, it would be nice to have his help w the kids but they’re getting older so it’s not as hard as it would have been when they were younger.

  11. Serene Wolf says:

    I love Judith Light! I was just thinking about her yesterday (because of her surname) and here she is on Celebitchy! She’s a class act. That is all.

  12. H says:

    I remember watching them on One Life to Live back in the day. They had real chemistry. Glad they are still together.

  13. Eva says:

    This would be my dream arrangement for a relationship. Not living together all the time keeps the magic going longer.

  14. Jayna says:

    It sounds like for most of their marriage they were living together. It’s just when this opportunity came along later in life, when Ugly Betty, after a few years of filming in California, moved production to NYC that she moved back and realized how much she loved it.

    Plus, she shoots Transparent back in California, so they are living together that whole period of time out of each year. And when she’s not shooting, let’s face it, they could be visiting each other for weeks at a time, not a short weekend. They are rich with a lot of downtime in between jobs and the ability to go back and forth. They have money and probably travel a lot together. He’s probably mostly retired. Whatever works for them.

    She looks fantastic!

  15. HK9 says:

    She’s 68??!!?? Glow on girl.

  16. Cupcake says:


  17. Turtle says:

    I’ve had the chance to meet and chat with her a couple of times. She’s one of the most genuine people I’ve ever met, inside Hollywood and out. I walked away impressed by her warmth and presence.

  18. HoustonGrl says:

    Compatibility and friendship play a huge role in long distance relationships. The ones I’ve had have been tough, but workable. They require a good “phone” compatibility.

  19. holly hobby says:

    Hey whatever works! Glad they are still together after all these years. Yes I do remember them from OLTL!

  20. Jennifer says:

    I see people on here who are questioning how strong their marriage is, or that they have an open marriage. Let me point out that, just because two people are not living together, it does not mean that anyone is straying. I can tell you without a doubt that I would fully trust my husband if we lived in separate areas. If you don’t feel that way, then perhaps you should be looking more closely at your own relationship.

  21. Bothsidesnow says:

    I have done this for six years. I look forward to the significant other on the weekends. During the week, I work and do my own thing. On the weekends…look out! Love it.

  22. Cintra.C says:

    Oh, I love this couple! I also remember them from OLTL. Judith was so great in the role of Karen Wolek. I hadn’t read anything about her personal life in a number of years, so I’m happy to see that they are still together.

  23. IMUCU says:

    My husband and I would be perfectly comfortable in a long distance relationship, but that is how our relationship began and was for many years until I moved across the country. I miss California, but he’s worth it ;-)! Anyway, if both partners are up to it and support each other it’s a totally do-able situation…although if we had kids, I wouldn’t do it.

  24. Wilder says:

    I think this kind of marriage sounds awesome. I love my alone time and I don’t get enough of it anymore! But this kind of arrangement only works if you have money — my husband and I could never afford to maintain two households (at least not at this point in our lives). And Judith and her husband never had kids so they don’t have to add to their travel schedule/expenses with visits to other parts of the country to visit grandchildren.