Ron Howard Says His Relationship 'Shouldn't Have Worked' But It Is Still Strong After 46 Years

Nov 25, 2021 by apost team

Ron Howard might have swapped being in front of the camera for a legendary career behind it, but the Hollywood icon is still very well known thanks to his early start on "The Andy Griffith Show" at the age of 5, where he played Opie. Later on, he starred as Richie Cunningham on TV’s "Happy Days" from 1974 to 1980, as well as a leading role in the coming-of-age movie "American Graffiti."

But Ron says he always knew his true calling was to work behind the camera as a director. He once told People, “I was an actor who dreamed of being a director.” So that's exactly what Ron did — turned his attention to behind the camera. Now, he's a world-famous director and producer of movies such as "Apollo 13," "A Beautiful Mind," "The Da Vinci Code" and many more. 

What's more, two of Ron's daughters — Bryce Dallas Howard and Paige Howard — have followed their father into show business, with both carving out careers as actresses in Hollywood. 

But one aspect of Howard's life that isn't as talked about is his 46-year marriage to his wife Cheryl Howard, née Alley. The couple first met while attending John Burroughs High School in Burbank, California, and have been together ever since. The director told People in the same interview, "I met her, and there was never anybody else." He described the "instant connection" that existed between them, and clearly, that's never faded, as the couple is only a few years off from their 50th wedding anniversary. Let's take a look at their sweet love story.

Ron Howard, Cheryl Alley (1974), (Ron Galella/Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images)

Ron Howard revealed on his Instagram last year that his first date with his wife Cheryl Howard took place on Nov. 1, 1970. It went like this:

"We went to see a re-release of Stanley Kramer’s It’s a Mad Mad Mad World and then got some pizza at now defunct Barnone’s in Toluca Lake. Quite a start, Right?"

In an interview with HuffPost, Ron added that he "felt really lucky" when they first met.

"It's crazy — we were teenagers, it shouldn't have worked. We got married young, that shouldn't have worked either, and yet it really and truly has," Howard said.

One of Hollywood's most understated long-term couples, Ron and Cheryl, have raised four children together, including Bryce Dallas Howard, 40, twins Paige and Jocelyn Howard, 36, and son Reed Howard, 34. They now have five grandkids as well. 

Throughout his incredible career, Ron admires how Cheryl has been a constant support for him, telling People

“She’s unbelievably supportive and always has been. Our compatibility has endured through all kinds of experiences.”

That compatibility has also helped bring the couple to their 46th wedding anniversary, which they celebrated in June. Ron usually honors the couple's wedding anniversary each year, and this last one was no exception. Sharing a sweet photo of them with two balloons spelling out "46" behind them, Ron stated they were celebrating "quietly but beautifully" in Gold Coast, Australia, where he had a day off from filming the upcoming movie "Thirteen Lives." He ended his touching post with, "I'm a lucky fella."

Ron Howard, Cheryl Alley (circa 1978), (Richard Nairin/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)

For last year's anniversary, Ron shared a longer heartfelt caption, which he used to send a positive message amid a challenging year. Alongside a photo of the couple with red roses beside them, Ron wrote:

"45yrs ago today Cheryl & I wed. Our journey has been one of many blessings & lessons experienced both together & as individuals. In these often heartbreaking times we will continue to listen & learn & hope our country will grow, unify, flourish & set a positive example for the world. #BlackLivesMatter"

Hitting milestones of 46 years married and 50 years dating is no small feat, so it's no surprise that people want to know how Ron and Cheryl do it. The director told People:

“People say, ‘How’d you do it?’ There’s no technique. There’s no tactic other than communication is really important. You have to learn to communicate and have difficult conversations in constructive ways."

That's some excellent advice, but Ron is also aware that some luck plays into how things turn out too. He added:

"Beyond that, there’s an element of luck because people either grow together or they don’t and I don’t think you can force that."

Ron and Cheryl clearly work hard at maintaining their relationship, and it seems they're just as dedicated to their children as they are to one another. Bryce has previously said that she looks at her dad as her mentor. She and her father have always been close, so much so that Bryce told People in June 2018 that she and her husband Seth Gabel have modeled their parenting style after her parents'. Considering how well Ron and Cheryl's marriage has lasted and how happy and close their entire family appears to be, theirs is a great influence to have.

Ron Howard, Cheryl Alley (2013), (Dave J Hogan / Getty Images)

Did you know about Ron Howard's personal life and his long-running marriage to Cheryl? If this article moved you, then be sure to pass it on to others so they can enjoy it too!

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