Barbra Streisand is an absolute legend in the entertainment industry. One of the few entertainers to have been awarded an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Award (EGOT), Streisand can really do it all.
After getting her start by performing in nightclubs and on Broadway in the 1960s, she soon transitioned to film and won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her iconic portrayal of Fanny Brice in “Funny Girl” in 1968. She continued to have success both musically and in Hollywood, even winning a second Oscar for her work composing music for the 1976 version of “A Star Is Born.” Now in her 80s, Streisand is still a force to be reckoned with.
But one aspect of her life that isn’t in the public eye as much as her career is her love life. She was married to actor Elliot Gould for much of the 1960s, and together the couple has a son, actor Jason Gould. Streisand and Jason even appeared as mother and son together in “The Prince of Tides.”
After divorcing Gould in the early 1970s, Streisand went on to have a couple of other relationships over the next couple of decades with people such as Don Johnson, Richard Gere and Andre Agassi. However, she married the man who would go on to become her longtime husband on July 1, 1998. The pair have been happily married ever since, celebrating more than 24 years together. Today, Streisand and her husband, actor James Brolin, have a wonderful life together and have continued to show that some Hollywood relationships can stand the test of time.
Barbra Streisand (circa 1975), (Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)Barbara Joan Streisand – professionally known as Barbra Streisand – was born on Apr. 24, 1942, in Brooklyn, New York. She is the daughter of Diana Ida, a woman who once considered a career in music, and Emanuel Streisand, a high school teacher. He met Ida at the school he worked at as she worked there as a school secretary.
Sadly, Streisand lost her father at a very young age, as he passed away just a few months after her first birthday from an epileptic seizure. The loss was devastating for the family and something that Streisand had to grieve for many years to come, especially once she understood the gravity of not having a father like many of her classmates.
Streisand’s mother later remarried in 1950 to a man named Louis Kind. She already had one older brother named Sheldon, and the marriage gave her a half-sister, singer Roslyn Kind.
As a child, Streisand had big hopes and dreams. She aspired to be someone famous one day. While many people would enjoy the hustle and bustle of New York, Streisand wanted to stray away from Brooklyn and hopefully move somewhere where she could make something of herself. She was known around the neighborhood as the girl that could sing, as she always had a beautiful voice.
While Streisand today is a talent recognized around the world, she had very humble beginnings, as her singing debut was at a PTA assembly. She went on to sing at weddings and summer camp and slowly started to work on finding a way to be more professional with her musical gift.
Barbra Streisand (1968), (Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)When she was 13 years old, Streisand made a four-song demo tape with the help of her critical yet increasingly supportive mother. Despite her amazing talents as a singer, Streisand had dreams of becoming an actress. She saw her first Broadway play, “The Diary of Anne Frank,” when she was just 14 years old, and from that point on, she was completely hooked on the idea of acting. Streisand immersed herself in the art, and she studied everything from stage actresses to plays to acting theories.
However, Streisand told NPR in 2003 that she never really took singing lessons or properly learned how to read music. She explained:
“I never approach singing as singing… I once tried to take a singing lesson many years ago.” Streisand explained how the teacher tried to explain how to enunciate her vowels differently to carry the sound better, but Streisand insisted that she had “to sing like I would speak,” so she stopped taking lessons.
The hopeful starlet attended Erasmus Hall High School in Brooklyn and excelled in her studies. She also joined the school chorus, which included choir member and classmate Neil Diamond. Later on, once both singers were established, Streisand and Diamond teamed up for a song together called “You Don’t Bring Me Flowers,” which was released in 1978.
Streisand’s intelligence and her desire to finally venture into show business full-time helped her graduate high school early at the age of 16. Afterward, she immediately set out and began auditioning for roles on various New York City stages.
Barbra Streisand, Elliott Gould (1965). (Bettman/Contributor/Getty images)
Streisand picked up odd jobs to support herself, as she lived in the heart of the city, and continued putting in all of her effort to finally make her dreams become a reality. Even though Streisand long desired to be an actress, she decided to audition for the role of a choir singer for a production of “The Sound of Music” once she heard a casting director explain how they were looking for more talent. She didn’t get the gig, but she continued to market herself as a singer and actress from that point on. She has a mezzo-soprano vocal range, giving her great strength in her middle and higher singing registers.
Streisand also tried to stand out with a name change. According to CBS News, she dropped the second “a” in her name when it came to her professional career. “Well, I was 18 and I wanted to be unique, but I didn’t want to change my name because that was too false,” Streisand explained:
“You know, people were saying you could be Joanie Sands, or something like that. (My middle name is Joan.) And I said, ‘No, let’s see, if I take out the ‘a,’ it’s still ‘Barbara,’ but it’s unique.”
During the 1960s, Streisand finally began to land roles. She auditioned for a musical comedy called “I Can Get It for You Wholesale.” Streisand landed the part of secretary to the lead, who was played by Elliott Gould. Gould was not well known at the time, and he and Streisand fell in love behind the scenes. They married in September 1963 and had one child together before divorcing in 1971.
Barbra Streisand (circa 1983). (Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The performer was beginning to truly make a name for herself as she went from a hopeful star to a real celebrity. She began appearing on stage and television and even professionally released music. Her performances on stage earned her a great reputation, and Streisand used her name to her advantage, naming her first two albums “The Barbra Streisand Album” and “The Second Barbra Streisand Album.”
Streisand wowed audiences with her acclaimed performance as Fanny Brice in “Funny Girl,” in which she sang “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” The play was an overnight success, and Streisand went on to receive plenty of fame and recognition immediately and was even nominated for a Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical. She reprised the role a few years later in her first film titled “Funny Girl,” which was based on the Broadway hit. This earned Streisand the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1968.
While it’s clear everyone took Streisand’s talent and career seriously, the rising star continued to show off more aspects of her personality and starred in several screwball comedies, including “The Main Event” and “For Pete’s Sake.” In 1976, she starred in “A Star is Born,” and won an Academy Award for Best Original Song for the song “Evergreen,” along with lyricist Paul Williams.
According to her biography, Streisand is the first woman to direct, produce, write and star in a major motion picture. She is also the first female composer to win an Academy Award and the only recording artist to achieve No. 1 albums in six consecutive decades.
Barbra Streisand (2013). (Dave J Hogan/Getty Images)
She also has proven to have even more tricks up her sleeve and used her abilities as an actress to move behind the scenes, rightfully sitting in the director’s chair. Streisand spoke with CBS News about her decision to work as a director on top of still working as a singer and actress.
“…When you’re just an actress people think you’re stepping out of line if you suggest something to do with the whole film. When you’re a director you’re expected to know the answers. You’re expected to tell people what to do.”
While she has led a very busy life, Streisand has also made time for her loved ones. In her personal life, Streisand has been married twice. Her first marriage was to Gould. Afterward, she dated former Canadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau. In 1973, she began dating hairdresser and producer Jon Peters, who went on to become Streisand’s own manager and producer. However, the pair split during the making of the 1982 film “Yentl.” While the film was revolutionary in Streisand’s career, earning her more awards, it wasn’t as beneficial for her relationship with Peters. Fortunately, the two have remained friends.
During the 1980s, Streisand also had brief relationships with Richard Gere and Clint Eastwood. It was clear that Streisand was putting her all into her relationships as she continued searching for the right one, but nothing worked out until she met the man she now calls her husband.
Barbra Streisand (2016), (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images/Tony Awards Productions)
Streisand is undoubtedly an absolute legend. She has a plethora of talents and has been praised for several decades for all of her hard work and dedication, showing that she is truly unstoppable. While Streisand has gotten used to being a pivotal figure in the spotlight for many years now, she has also opened up about her long-lasting marriage to actor and director James Brolin. They had met when they were in their mid to late 50s.
Brolin is best known for his roles on the TV series “Marcus Welby, M.D.” from 1969 to 1976 and “Hotel” from 1983 to 1988. He has also been in several films, including “Skyjacked” and “Westworld.” His work has earned him a handful of awards, and he even has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. Over the years, Brolin has been married three times and has three children, including actor Josh Brolin.
With how strong Streisand and Brolin’s relationship is today, people may think that they’ve known each other their entire lives. However, the pair actually met on a blind date, according to People. It wasn’t exactly as romantic as the movies. In fact, their first encounter was Streisand making fun of Brolin’s hair.
“We were set up as a blind date, and I was so shy that I came into the house and I went downstairs to be with the children and play with them until I had to sit down at the table,” Streisand explained.
Fortunately, the chemistry between them was undeniable. Streisand said that Brolin told her “he knew (right away)” that she was the one for him, although it took her “a few days” for the feelings to reciprocate.
James Brolin, Barbra Streisand (1998), (Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection/Getty Images)
When Brolin and Streisand first started dating, Brolin recalled that his friends initially discouraged him from marrying the singer. “I heard it over, that she’s a tough one,” he said on The Talk. Fortunately, he did not heed their warnings.
Nowadays, Streisand and Brolin are celebrating more than 24 years of marriage. The two tied the knot on July 1, 1998, after dating for two years. They had a small wedding ceremony full of their famous friends, including Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Quincy Jones and John Travolta.
According to People, Streisand sang two songs at the celebration, and Brolin gave a famous speech saying:
“I can’t tell you how lucky I am that this would happen to me so late in life. Every night is a new adventure. Sleeping is a waste of time. I can’t wait to see her again in the morning.”
There are many factors that play into their long, successful marriage. Neither celebrity has sacrificed their career or independence for the other. Brolin told HuffPost Live that he and Streisand both have their own money and try to maintain that independence, so things do not get complicated.
Streisand credits their successful relationship to “kindness,” as she told Extra. She believes this simple advice can help couples keep their own relationships flourishing. She said:
“The Dalai Lama says, ‘Give truth with compassion…’ I used to use truth as a weapon years ago, actually, ‘Well, you look fat ’cause you’re fat… I’m telling you the truth.’ Truth with compassion would say it a different way — I don’t think you can take each other for granted.”
Now, Streisand is 80 and Brolin is 82, and the pair are just as in love as they were when they first met.
Barbra Streisand, James Brolin (2016), (Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for BSB)
What do you think about Barbra Streisand and James Brolin’s long-lasting love? Are you a Streisand fan, too? What’s your favorite film, play or album of hers? Tell us your thoughts, and don’t forget to send this on to all the musical theater fans you know!