Duffy's Loss Turns to Love
- Patrick Duffy, 72, lost his wife to cancer in 2017. Now, he’s found love again during the pandemic; he is dating Happy Days actress Linda Purl.
- When a spouse has cancer, it can be a litmus test for the strength of the relationship, one cancer survivor tells SurvivorNet.
- Duffy has spoken about how his Buddhist faith helped him deal with his feelings of loss.
“We didn’t sit in the same room for almost four months but we spoke to each other every day.”
The actor endearingly recalls their early phases of dating, saying, “We kept texting and texting became Facetime and for two and a half months plus we zoomed every night for two or three hours. We didn’t have that thing after the third dinner, do I kiss? Do I take her to my house?” After those early Zoom romance days, Duffy drove 23 hours to see his love face to face, and “we’ve never been apart [since],” he says.
Purl and Patrick Duffy will star together in a new production of Catch Me If You Can, which will tour nationwide this year. The pair could not be cuter, as they travel the world together, and share their love story with fans. Purl recently shared an adorable, wintery picture of the TV stars all bundled up in London. “Sunny in London!” she writes.
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How Cancer Can Impact a Marriage
When the late wife of Patrick Duffy who’s named Carlyn Rosser received her cancer diagnosis, it no doubt had a profound impact on their marriage and the way they spent their time together. When a spouse gets cancer, it can be the litmus test for the strength of the relationship – revealing cracks or reinforcing existing bonds. This is how actress and melanoma survivor Jill Kargman feels about cancer:
In a previous interview, she says, “I think cancer is a great way to find out if you’re with the love of your life or a shithead. I think it presses the fast forward button on getting to the bottom of that answer, because a lot of people in middle age are kind of at a crossroads, waiting for their kids to fly the coop.”
“And I think if you’re with someone who is not supportive and kind of emotionally checked out or doesn’t tell you you’re still beautiful with that, this might not be your person,” says Kargman.
Coping with Loss of a Spouse to Cancer
After his wife’s death, Duffy wrote on Twitter: “On this day 6 months ago my heart stopped yet I live on as she wishes We will be together eternally.”
On this day 6 months ago my heart stopped yet I live on as she wishes We will be together eternally Thank you for the love and concern ❤️🙏💃🍀
— Patrick Duffy (@therealpduffy) June 23, 2017
Coping with the loss of a partner or spouse is heartbreaking, and the grief process may be helped with the use of formal support systems, like therapy or counseling. Reach out to loved ones if you’re suffering. People want to help.
Support groups can also benefit those who are feeling isolated in their feelings of grief. And faith can be a powerful coping mechanism for some. Duffy has spoken about how his Buddhist faith helped him deal with his feelings of loss.“Fundamental to all Buddhist philosophy is the eternity of life,” he explained once to the New York Post. Duffy said that his late wife introduced him to Buddhism.
A Guided Meditation for the SurvivorNet Community