Lessons in Love From Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal
It's been 46 years since Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal starred in "Love Story," the 1970 blockbuster film based on the best-selling book by Erich Segal.
Now, the actors — she's 76, he's 74 — reunite to tour the country as another loving pair in A.R. Gurney's bittersweet two-hander, Love Letters.They play two childhood friends who maintain separate lives but remain close over the decades through their exchange of letters.
We caught up with the actors on the tour's latest stop, The Bushnell Center for the Performing Arts in Hartford, CT. Having experienced their share of romance and commitments — MacGraw married three times and O'Neal married twice — we asked the pair for their relationship advice and if love still means never having to say you're sorry.
Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw in "Love Story" Photo by Paramount Pictures
Tell the truth: "This takes tremendous guts when you're younger," says MacGraw. "Communicate clearly, without anger and be willing to compromise. Say, 'Here's who I am,' and, 'Here's an area that produces so much pain so please don't go there.' And then say, 'OK, your turn. What would you like me to not do?' I don't want to pretend to read someone else's mind and I know they can't read mine."
Be compassionate and forgiving: "We all screw up sometimes, and over the course of a long life you come to realize that some of those problems weren't the gigantic life-wreckers that we assigned them at the time."
Appreciate the love of friends: "I just know that it's possible to have extraordinary friendships," says MacGraw. "I think its easier to maintain a friendship than a romance. That wild passionate piece in romance that sets up jealousy, insecurity and double-talk isn't there with friendships.