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Jeff Bridges credits his 48-year marriage with his longevity. Science backs that up.

Caralynn Matassa   

Jeff Bridges credits his 48-year marriage with his longevity. Science backs that up.
  • Jeff Bridges has been married to his wife Susan for 48 years, and she supported him through cancer.
  • He credits his long, happy life to their relationship: "Marriage is a wonderful thing."

Jeff Bridges has one of Hollywood's longest-lasting marriages, and it might be the key to his longevity.

Bridges, 74, was presented with the Chaplin Award, which honors legendary actors and filmmakers, at Lincoln Center's Alice Tully Hall in New York City on Monday. On the red carpet for the event, which was attended by Business Insider, Bridges divulged his secret to living a long, happy, and healthy life. And spoiler alert: A lot of that has to do with his wife, Susan Geston Bridges, who was with him.

"Find a wonderful person to share your life with," he told reporters. "I've been married 48 years now. Marriage is a wonderful thing. It's sort of the playing field for how you relate to the rest of the world."

"I heard a great phrase recently: 'You can be married or you can be right,'" he joked. "So often we're so certain about our opinions and stuff, and that can get in the way of a lot of happiness. But when you're with somebody else, as my mom used to say, it's not just the two of you. There's an 'us' — a third entity you take care of."

The actor met his future wife while filming "Rancho Deluxe" in Montana in 1975. At the time, Susan was working as a waitress. He later described their meeting as love at first sight, at least on his part — she turned him down when he initially asked her out, but the two crossed paths again a few days later at a local bar.

"We danced, and that was about it, man," Bridges said on "Oprah's Master Class" in 2015. "I mean, I was head over heels. I was head over heels the first time I saw her."

They married in 1977 and went on to have three daughters together.

Bridges' sentiment is sweet, but also backed by science

"The Big Lebowski" star has publicly praised his wife for years, including crediting her with advocating for him when he nearly died in 2021 after contracting COVID in the middle of his chemotherapy treatment. (Bridges, who is now in remission, was diagnosed with non-Hodgkin's lymphoma in 2020 after doctors discovered a 9-by-12-inch tumor in his stomach during a pandemic-mandated break from filming "The Old Man" season one.)

"My wife Sue was my absolute champion," he told AARP in 2023. Susan, who also contracted COVID at the same time and was sent home after being hospitalized herself, returned to the hospital to keep watch over Bridges while he remained there.

"She really fought to keep me off a ventilator," Bridges said. "I didn't want to be on it, and the doctors didn't necessarily want that. But Sue was adamant."

Beyond having someone to provide critical support during health challenges, science has shown that being in a loving romantic relationship can be good for both physical and mental health, BI's Hilary Brueck previously reported. Forming strong emotional connections with other people can influence how long someone lives, according to Dr. Robert Waldinger, the director of the Harvard Study of Adult Development.

"Relationships don't just make us happier — they keep us healthier," said Waldinger, whose book "The Good Life: Lessons from the world's longest scientific study of happiness" details the ways in which good relationships are the foundation of a happier and physically healthier life.

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