Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman knew immediately that they were meant to be together.
“We were instant,” said Perlman, who went out for a bite to eat with DeVito after seeing him and one of her friends in an off-Broadway play in 1971.
Devito remembered the meeting well and shared the story during an appearance on “Live with Regis and Kathie Lee” in 1996.
“I was in a play off-Broadway, at the Mercury Theater, and I was playing this demented stable boy, I’m sitting on the edge of the stage, spitting into the orchestra pit. The young girl, who I was having my way with, the landowner’s daughter, comes out and she says, ‘Richie, what are you doing?’ I said, ‘I’m spittin’ on the swans.’ She was Rhea’s girlfriend, Rhea came to see the show, and Rhea saw me.”
It was after the show – “The Shrinking Bride” – when DeVito and Perlman “hung out a little bit,” that sparks flew.
“I really dug her,” he told Philbin and Gifford. “We spent all night talking, and finally, I asked her for her phone number, and it was a Brooklyn number. So that cinched it, right there.”
Just weeks after meeting, the two moved in together, and first worked together on the sitcom “Taxi,” which ran from 1978 to 1981. Devito played dispatcher Louie De Palma and Perlman appeared as Louie’s on-again/off-again girlfriend, Zena Sherman.
That’s kind of how it’s been for Perlman and DeVito – who also appeared in the film version of Roald Dahl’s book “Matilda” as the title character’s terrible parents, the Wormwoods.
The two split in 2012, just after their 30th wedding anniversary, reportedly due to infidelity on the part of DeVito, but got back together in 2013, only to split for good in 2017.
The two, however, are not divorced, and likely won’t be filing papers any time soon, at least according to Perlman.
She said the two have a happy relationship, despite not being together, during an appearance on the Bravo talk show “Watch What Happens Live with Andy Cohen” in 2019.
“I’m not getting divorced,” Perlman said. “No, no, no. What for? We do live separately. We see each other a lot, too. We have three amazing children together. We really agree on almost everything important.”
Both Perlman, 71, and DeVito, 75, are active Democrats.
Their children are Lucy, born in 1983, Grace, born in 1985, and Jacob, born in 1987.
“I don’t know why it’s difficult for other people, but Danny and I have always loved each other,” Perlman added during her appearance with Cohen. “We were together for 40 years. 40 years is a long time.”
The two were spotted enjoying a night out for dinner earlier this month at Crossroads vegan restaurant in Los Angeles, and last year, DeVito echoed Perlman’s words, telling People magazine that the two were “very close” despite being separated.
“We’re friends,” DeVito added. “We’re happy. Everybody’s happy.”
— Andrew Cuomo (@NYGovCuomo) March 22, 2020