They tied the knot on June 14, 1963, at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, honeymooned in Laguna Beach, Calif., and settled for a time in Chappaqua, N.Y. White admitted that she was nervous about becoming a stepmother to Ludden’s then-14-year-old son David and daughters Martha, 13, and Sarah, 10, but the family of five—plus poodles Willie and Emma—lived fairly harmoniously, the usual teenage growing pains aside.
Asked later in life if she ever regretted not having children of her own, White said she was “blessed” to be that trio’s stepmom—and she had no regrets. “I’m so compulsive about stuff, I know if I had ever gotten pregnant, of course, that would have been my whole focus,” she told Katie Couric for CBS News in 2012. “But I didn’t choose to have children because I’m focused on my career. And I just don’t think, as compulsive as I am, that I could manage both.”
Ludden would leave love notes around the house for White to find, one of which she credited with helping her finally see, no pun intended, that it was time to get her eyes checked. In her 2011 book If You Ask Me (And of Course You Won’t), she shared that one night he left a card under her pillow that read on the front, “If you can’t see I love you…” and on the inside said, “SQUINT!”
She had a good laugh, but also made an appointment with the eye doctor the next day. And she saved every single one of those notes.