Oscar-winning director Ron Howard, 65, first ran into his wife, Cheryl, when he was just a junior at John Burroughs High School in Burbank, Calif. and says there was a connection right away. “I met her, and there was never anybody else.”
The happy couple recently marked their 44th wedding anniversary on June 7 and Howard says the amazing secret to their healthy and long marriage is “communication.”
“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,” says Howard. “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.”
Howard starred as Opie on The Andy Griffith Show at the ripe age of 5 and later was featured as Richie Cunningham on TV’s Happy Days from 1974 to 1980, but he says he always knew he would work behind the camera.
“I was an actor who dreamed of being a director,” says Howard, who won two Oscars for 2001’s A Beautiful Mind. His latest film is the documentary Pavarotti, which movingly tells the life story of the famed opera singer.
Throughout his illustrious career, Cheryl has been by his side supporting him. The couple were able to bring up their four children—actress Bryce Dallas Howard, 38, twins Paige and Jocelyn, 34, and son Reed, 32 outside of Hollywood in Greenwich, Conn., and now have five grandkids.
“She’s unbelievably supportive and always has been,” Howard says of his wife. “Our compatibility has endured through all kinds of experiences.”
Pavarotti is in theaters now.