Knight Rider and Disney Sitcom Star Had A Shocking Open Marriage

William Daniels, well-known as Mr. Feeny on Boy Meets World, had an open marriage with his wife of 72 years when they first tied the knot.

By Mark McKee | Published

Marriage is a tricky business anywhere, but in Hollywood, it feels impossible, with most marriages ending in record time. Of course, some stand the test of time and prove it is possible to go the distance, like Bonnie Bartlett and William Daniels, who have been married for a whopping 72 years. But it wasn’t all roses, as Bartlett recently revealed to Yahoo! Entertainment they had an open marriage in the early years. 

In her new book, Middle of the Rainbow, the 93-year-old actress gives a look into her personal life, including that the pair weren’t tied to fidelity when they were married. After tying the knot in 1951 to William Daniels, Bartlett reveals that the culture of sex in New York made it too easy for the two to step out of the marriage. While she did say she had a relationship outside her marriage with someone for a few months, it wasn’t until her Boy Meets World husband stepped out with a producer in the 70s that she felt the need to solidify fidelity. 

On the surface, this kind of relationship seems destined to fail in today’s world, much less 70 years ago. But Bonnie Bartlett says that this struggle was exactly what they needed to grow together. She met the Knight Rider actor when she was 18, and she and William Daniels have been growing ever since. 

One thing the pair have in common is their extensive history in the industry. Bonnie Bartlett is most known for her two-time Emmy award-winning performance as Ellen Craig on the television drama St. Elsewhere. William Daniels is best known now for the role of George Feeny in the series Boy Meets World, and the sequel series Girl Meets World

William Daniels as Mr. Feeny in Boy Meets World

The pair also made history together as they became only the second married couple in history to win Emmy awards on the same night, following in the footsteps of Alfred Lunt and Lynn Fontanne in 1965. The two have been much less active in the past few years, with Bonnie Bartlett’s last role on Better Call Saul in 2017, leaving her plenty of time to finish her book. William Daniels also last appeared on Girl Meets World in 2017 but lent his voice to the role of KITT in 2020’s Super Intelligence along with Melissa McCarthy

The marriage between the two successful TV actors shows not just Hollywood but everyone what can happen when you weather the storm together. Of course, a seven-decade-long marriage will have the ups and downs you would expect. Still, Bartlett reveals that she and William Daniels outlasted the struggles through mutual respect and allowance to grow together. 

If you grew up in a time when Boy Meets World was on TV every week, you remember the wisdom of George Feeny. Many of us could even say that William Daniels had a part in raising us, teaching us right along with Shawn, Cory, and Topanga how to weather the storms of life. Now, as adults, we can apply his real-life wife’s wisdom to weather our marital storms as well.