Henry Winkler’s ‘Happy Days’ Fame Stunned His Wife When ‘the Entire Theater Came Over’ on First Movie Date (Exclusive)

Henry Winkler’s first date with his now-wife Stacey Weitzman didn’t go exactly as planned.

IN PEOPLE an exclusive look at AARP Magazine Cover story for the October/November issue, the 77-year-old Emmy-winning actor recalled his first romantic date with Weitzman, whom he met in 1976 while walking into Jerry Magnin’s clothing store in Beverly Hills, where Weitzman also happened to be.

When Winkler called Weitzman, 75, Happy days he was on for three seasons, and his role as cool heartthrob Arthur “Fonzie” Fonzarelli catapulted him to stratospheric levels of international stardom. So figuring out what to do on a date together turned out to be a real challenge.

Henry Winkler on the cover of ‘AARP Magazine’s’ October/November 2023 issue.

aarp

Who is Henry Winkler’s wife? All about Stacey Weitzman

“She wanted to go to the movies,” Winkler explained. “And I told her it might be difficult. She wanted to know why. I said, ‘I don’t know how to describe it to you.'”

“When we got to the theater, I told her we should sit in the back,” he continued. “She didn’t understand, so we sat in the middle of the theater. And the whole theater came and said goodbye. And Stacey said, ‘Oh!'”

Winkler and Weitzman finally married in 1978 at a New York synagogue, and in the years since, they’ve raised three children together: Zoe, 42, Max, 40, and Jed, whom Weitzman shares with ex Howard Weitzman.

Henry Winkler (L) and Stacey Weitzman at the WE Day Celebration Dinner at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on April 6, 2016 in Beverly Hills, California

Jason Kempin/Getty Henry Winkler reveals the secrets of his 40-year marriage to wife Stacey: ‘We really enjoy each other’

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The couple are now grandparents. In 2019, they shared how much their grandchildren mean to them, and Weitzman told PEOPLE that the two have a lot of fun with them.

“As a grandparent, you always have a “fall,” she said then. ‘Do you want a hot sundae? Let’s call Mom!’ But they make so many of us!”

As with all marriages, Winkler and Weitzman’s relationship had its ups and downs. Around the time Winkler began playing Barry Zuckerkorn on the TV series Arrested development in in 2003, Weitzman revealed she had breast cancer. But when his wife needed him most, Winkler admitted he was mostly emotionally unavailable.

“I went to her chemotherapy infusions, but my support consisted of falling asleep on the chair,” he also told AARP Magazine. “I wasn’t there. I’m not proud of that.”

Winkler has since spent years in therapy to deal with childhood trauma, and thankfully, the couple have maintained a close relationship in the years that followed.

Henry Winkler and Stacey Weitzman at the Warner Media Entertainment TCA Party on July 24, 2019 in Beverly Hills, California

Henry Winkler and Stacey Weitzman in Beverly Hills, California in July 2019. Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic The cutest photos of the longtime celebrity couple.

While speaking with PEOPLE in August 2019, Weitzman revealed that the key to her long-lasting marriage with Winkler was that they grew together. “We’re not the same people we were when we got married,” she admitted. “But some of the principles you hold are still intact.”

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Weitzman also added that long-term love takes effort. “There are breakdowns in the road, and you get a little distracted,” she continued. “But if you have the ability and steadfastness based on love, your friendship and your relationship only get better.”

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