Barbra Streisand and Elliott Gould — a red-hot passion cooled by diverging career trajectories and tempered in subsequent decades by a shared adoration of their son, along with a healthy dose of nostalgia.
How Did Barbra Streisand and Elliott Gould Meet?
When everyone and their proverbial brother have a version of the same story, it’s hard to discern fact from the fiction. What everyone does agree on was that Streisand and Gould met during the latter’s audition for a part in the musical, I Can Get It For You Wholesale.
Gould, who had previously scored the production’s leading role, was mesmerized by the nascent performer he saw before him. The next part of the story is where the confusion lies.
Did Streisand shout out her telephone number to the casting director leading Gould to commit it to memory and then place a call? Or did the two have no contact until Wholesale was up and running and she handed him — and several other cast members — her phone number in a desperate ploy to land a sympathetic ear? Only the two of them know for sure — and Gould has always re-told option number one.
The early days of Streisand and Gould’s courtship were characterized by quaint, quiet dates, dressing-room assignations, and raucous quarrels. At one point, it was alleged that Gould threw a completely nude Streisand outside his quarters and locked the door. In another similar incident, he refused her entrance after banishing her into the pouring rain.
By the time Wholesale made it to Broadway, the two were a bonafide couple, happily ensconced in Streisand’s rented apartment. It was situated above a seafood restaurant, and they shared the digs with a rat they nicknamed Oscar.
Sadie, Sadie, Married Lady
Despite Streisand’s telling a reporter from the San Francisco Chronicle that she and Gould were already married in the early months of 1963, the ceremony didn’t actually take place until September 13 of that year.
It was held in Carson City and presided over by Pete Supera, a justice of the peace. Martin Erlichman and Martin Bergman — Streisand’s personal and business manager, respectively — were witnesses.
Life As Mr. and Mrs.
Years after the fact, Gould remembered that “it was difficult to be married to someone who was married to their success.” More succinctly, trouble arose in the Gould marriage when Streisand’s star began to rise while her husband’s waned.
Post Wholesale, post-Tony, post-wedding, Streisand had become a force to be reckoned with. She had conquered a concert tour, released a Billboard Top 10-cracking record, and landed the lead role in Funny Girl, a Broadway musical that would soon change her life.
Meanwhile, Gould succumbed to booze binges, cannabis jags, and the lure of gambling parlors. The birth of a son, Jason Emanuel, on December 29, 1966, brought about a momentary reprieve for the quarrelsome couple.
However, Gould’s mental, physical, and monetary decline continued and Streisand reportedly sought emotional and sexual comfort from Sydney Chaplin and Omar Sharif, her co-stars in, respectively, the Funny Girl play and feature film.
Streisand and Gould Call It Quits
By 1969, the couple had drifted apart – first, metaphorically, and then literally. They called it a “temporary separation.” However, it was made final on July 9, 1971, in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic.
As recounted in an article, originally published in Time Magazine, it was Gould who filed the document at the island’s courthouse. A photograph accoupling the story showed a heavily bearded Gould with his arm around Jenny Bogart, his latest paramour, and the expectant mother of his second child.
Bogart informed the reporter that she and Gould would continue to live together without the benefit of marriage as neither one believed in the institution. Their state of mind was seemingly altered in 1973… and again in 1978.
Misty Water Colored Memories
“Marriage to Barbra was a fantastic experience,” a reflective Gould proffered decades later. “It had a lot of chocolate soufflé and things like that, but it was also like a bath of lava.”
In the Spring of 2010, during an appearance on the Positive Living podcast, the actor again spoke about his famous ex and their short but memorable romance. “We were very young and had, you know, limitations.
“And divorce is a very painful and difficult thing. And that’s also a process. But the time that we were together, and also the overview of what we are to one another in relation to our son, is something that is priceless and, as far as I’m concerned, eternal.”