Barbra Streisand And James Brolin Spilled Their Racy Secret That Started Their Marriage 25 Years Ago

Nov 17, 2023 by apost team

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." 

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 since, celebrating their 25th year together in 2023. 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.

As Streisand released her memoir, “My Name Is Barbra” on Nov. 7, 2023, she and Brolin reflected on their relationship and marriage in an interview with CBS’ Gayle King – revealing a cheeky secret that started their relationship back then. Read on to find out what it is!

Barbra Streisand (circa 1975), (Silver Screen Collection via Getty Images)

Barbara Joan Streisand – professionally known as Barbra Streisand – was born on April 24, 1942, in Brooklyn, New York. She is the daughter of Diana Ida, a woman who once considered a career in music, and her father, 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/Moviepix via 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/Bettmann via 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 efforts 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/Moviepix via 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.

James Brolin, Barbra Streisand (1998), (Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Streisand finally found her true love in her 50s when she was set up on a blind date with the actor and director James Brolin. James 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.” Over the years, James has been married three times and has three children, including actor Josh Brolin.

However, the date wasn’t as romantic as the movies, according to People. In fact, their first encounter was Streisand making fun of James’ 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.

Streisand said that James told her “he knew (right away)” that she was the one for him, although it took her “a few days” for her to reciprocate.

When James and Streisand first started dating, James 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. 

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 James 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."

James Brolin, Barbra Streisand (2011), (Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images News via Getty Images)

On July 1, 2023, Streisand became only the fourth individual to receive the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Woman of Leadership Award. She was bestowed the medal in a private ceremony by Justice Sonia Sotomayor and Dwight D. Opperman Foundation Chair Julie Opperman. In a post to mark the occasion, Streisand shared a photo of her with the award and wrote in the caption that the date held special meaning in more ways than one.

“Proud and deeply honored to receive the Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg Woman of Leadership award yesterday, on the day of my 25th wedding anniversary to Jim,” Streisand wrote.

As for the secret to their long-lasting love? James shared some key marriage advice with Fox News on what he believed keeps his and Streisand’s relationship strong.

“I think we’re both very opposite and very good negotiators,” he explained.

James elaborated on this later with TMZ and said:

“Learn to negotiate. There’s always one of the two people that cop out and say, ‘Aaah, I tried that. Didn’t work.’ But you’ve got to stick with it.”

According to the actor, also having an objective third party – whether “you pay the guy or a smart friend” – involved during times of conflict is a lifesaver.

“Have a mediator you both are easy sitting with and resolving things. It solves it immediately,” he remarked.

James had some final advice for couples looking to make it through the long haul: “Cry together.”

Streisand’s career is still going strong, and more importantly, so is her family. The 81-year-old is also a grandmother to Josh’s four children. “I like real life, you know?” she once remarked. “I like being in real life, and I love my garden and my dogs and my husband and my son and my widening family.”

Streisand released her highly-awaited autobiography and memoir on Nov. 7, 2023. Spanning 970 pages, the book chronicles Streisand's early life as he tries to make it in the business, and the challenges she overcame. 

As Streisand recollects the ups and downs of her life, the singer talked to King on CBS Mornings about how she stopped performing in public and to whom she dedicated her memoir. 

In the same interview, Brolin accompanied Streisand to answer questions about their lovely relationship and union. Like most memoirs, people are opened to new secrets and sneak peek into the artists' lives. 

When asked by King why Brolin had to ask Streisand for her hand in marriage, Streisand said that she was “trying” Brolin out. 

As the music icon was pressed for answers, Brolin spilled a saucy secret that Streisand thought was too personal to disclose. 

“I had been — literally it’s a wild word — but I had been celibate for three years, saying, ‘Who needs this?’” Brolin confessed, causing him to get a playful reprimand from Streisand who told him that he’s “not supposed to tell that.” 

Clarifying why he was celibate, Brolin explained: “I had not had any interest in getting involved in a lousy situation.”

King pressed for more, “After three years, that must have been a hell of a night then?” The lovely couple confirmed that it was indeed “wild.”

Fans on social media shared their own anecdotes, particularly on Streisand declining the proposal and the celibacy. 

“My husband asked me 8 times. High school sweethearts. I felt we weren’t ready. And we surely weren’t,” a user wrote.

“My husband asked me twice and then I asked him to marry me lol ❤,” another commented. 

“He was married twice before!  I get her hesitancy.  Smart woman,” someone raved.

Are you a fan of Barbra Streisand? What can you say about her decision to be hesitant about marrying Josh Brolin? Would you have done the same thing if it were you? Were you surprised about their secret? Let us know, and pass this on to your friends, family, and other Barbra Streisand fans!

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