Joan Collins credits separate bathrooms for the success of her marriage

Joan Collins has a new memoir out called Behind the Shoulder Pads: Tales I Tell My Friends. The book shares tales of her younger years in Hollywood and her adventures with and grief for her sister Jackie’s passing. It also delves into relationships and talks about her happy marriage to producer Percy Gibson, who is 32-years younger than she is. While doing the press rounds for the book, Joan gave PEOPLE magazine some additional insight into what makes her marriage to Percy work. For Joan and Percy, it’s all about shared hobbies and separate bathrooms.

Collins tells PEOPLE in this week’s issue that there are a few elements that have kept her marriage going strong for so many years, and they range from shared hobbies to separate facilities. To the actress, success lies in keeping a balance in her relationship, which she says she and Gibson have worked out to be “separate bathrooms and the same bedroom.”

“First of all, Percy and I were working together and we became great friends,” Collins, whose new memoir, Behind the Shoulder Pads: Tales I Tell My Friends, is now available to purchase, explains. “We found we had a lot in common. We like the same things. We like doing the same things.”

As for what those “same things” are, Collins, 90, says, “We both adored the theater, and particularly musical theater. We love reading. We love playing cards or playing Scrabble. Neither of us are particularly outdoor[sy] people. You know, he doesn’t go running out to football games. And we love going to the theater and films and we just got along.”

The combination of those mutual interests led the Golden Globe winner to conclude that she and Gibson are in “the same blood group.”

Collins and Gibson’s story began when the former starred in a play managed by Gibson’s company in 2000. She had been married four other times before their meeting, but addressed the distinction between her relationship with Gibson from past loves in her 2011 memoir The World According to Joan. She said at the time that she “kissed a lot of frogs before I found my prince.” By 2002, the couple officially wed and have been together ever since.

When it comes to critics who have called out the 32-year age gap between her and Gibson, 58, Collins makes it known that the naysayers don’t affect her.

“They don’t do it in England anymore because everybody knows how happy we are together,” she explains. “And, you know, age is — as far as we’re concerned — just a number, and that’s the way that we both feel.”

She doubles down , telling PEOPLE, “Obviously, we talked about it before we got married, but it isn’t in the slightest importance.”

[From People]

Separate bathrooms…that’s the dream right there. I was just thrilled that our bathroom has two sinks! We have two bathrooms upstairs and another downstairs. The first upstairs bathroom is the master bathroom and the other one is the one my two elementary school-aged boys use, so that’s only usable to everyone else for a short period of time after a thorough cleaning, lol. The closest my husband and I ever get to separate bathrooms is usually accompanied by the phrase, “I’m in the shower, go downstairs!”

I do think what Joan says about having similar interests with your significant other is important for most relationships to make it long term, especially during that period in life when you’re both really busy. It’s good to have common ground so you can pause and reconnect. However, I also think it’s healthy for couples to have different interests, too! You’re both individuals and being well-rounded means enjoying doing things both together and apart. I suppose having the same interests is more important when there is a 32-year age gap, though. It’s kinda blowing my mind that someone who is the same age as my grandma is married to someone who is younger than my father, but I won’t judge. Good for Joan for finding her prince and being happy. I guess the fifth time was the charm.

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13 Responses to “Joan Collins credits separate bathrooms for the success of her marriage”

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  1. Danbury says:

    I can see what she’s saying about same bedroom but honestly I’m a big fan of separate bedrooms – I have such a bonkers sleep schedule poor Mr Danbury was going crazy with my constant moving around. We have only one bathroom though (live in an apartment) and I have to say I would LOVE separate bathrooms. The dream

    • ML says:

      Separate bathrooms: Where I live, the majority of people have a “toilet room” and a “bathroom,” of which the bathroom may not have a toilet in it. This is normal throughout Europe, including the UK. Just saying that her way of having a successful marriage is not going to be accessible to most couples. Having teenagers, I am jealous of her arrangement. (My husband isn’t the problem, it’s the kids…)

      • Anonymous says:

        Yes, I live in Europe and we had that in our last place. Sadly our new apartment has it all in one and it’s annoying!

      • TikiChica says:

        I’m in the UK and my husband and I have separate bathrooms. But I have friends who share one bathroom and one toilet between a family of four.
        We moved houses during the pandemic, and before that, we used to share a bathroom for many years. I understand I’m privileged, and my current arrangement is not the norm.
        Of course, I love it. But I wouldn’t go as far as to say that this is the secret to a happy marriage. How simplistic! Compatibility, respect for each other and enjoying each other’s company, is in my opinion the secret(s) to a happy marriage.

    • Megan says:

      I’ve been married for 30 years and we’ve has separate bathrooms for 26 of those years. I am convinced it’s the key to a happy marriage.

  2. Jan says:

    I still miss Peter Holmes??? the Gigolo.

  3. C says:

    Ah. So the naysayers about her marriage are wrong, but her implying nasty things about the Sussexes’ marriage with Piers Morgan (and repeatedly mentioning Harry and Meghan negatively for clicks, this wasn’t just one random reference) is fine.

  4. Lulu says:

    I guess she’s a bigger deal in the UK, I don’t think she was ever more than a b list actress until she was on Dynasty. I miss her sister.

  5. Angelica+Schuyler says:

    I haven’t liked Joan Collins since she spouted all her negativity about the Sussexes, but I have to say, she is spot on about the separate bathrooms. I’ve been married for 28 years and I have to say that I believe separate bathrooms have contributed to the longevity of our marriage. Twenty years ago we moved out of our tiny apartment with one bathroom to a medium sized house and never looked back. My husband was so annoying with the bathroom that I kicked him out of the main bathroom and made him share the hall bath with the kids. But the kids got fed up with him and kicked him out of their bathroom into the basement bathroom. And we’ve had that type of arrangement ever since.

    I don’t have to be mad at my husband about leaving the seat up, or leaving toothpaste residue in the sink…He’s happy to have his own domain where we leave him alone. Also, it helps keep the ‘mystery’. There are just certain things he doesn’t need to see me doing, and vice versa.

  6. AnneL says:

    I think separate bathrooms AND bedrooms can be very helpful in marriages. My husband often snores and/or tosses and turns at night. We have a spare bedroom now, so I have a place to go get a good night’s sleep when he’s keeping me awake. I wouldn’t say we have separate bathrooms, but ours does have separate sinks and a good deal of storage which is key. And there is another one I can go use if necessary.

    I will never relate to couples who are OK with keeping the door open when one is using the toilet. That’s a level of intimacy I do not want.

    I’m not a fan of hers but she’s not wrong.

  7. B says:

    Hold on. Separate bathrooms sure.
    But she’s probably also treated better within the marriage because she has her own money and -lots- of it at that, and she could probably continue to generate more if she wanted to.

  8. lucy2 says:

    I think the only way I could get married is separate HOUSES.
    I can’t imagine being 38 and marrying a 70 year old, but I guess it’s worked for them if it’s been 20 years.

  9. ama1977 says:

    I love many, many things about my current house (top awards go to the giant kitchen with miles of counter space) but 5 years ago when we were looking to move from the 1700 sf townhouse that our family of 4 had long since outgrown, the single feature that made my husband’s eyes light up was the separate vanities and his and hers closets in the primary bathroom. We had a dual sink vanity in the other house but shared a continuous countertop and the closet. It is very, very nice to have enough space for each of us to have our own areas!