Whoopi Goldberg’s Relationship History: Who Are Her Ex-Husbands?

Hollywood royalty! Whoopi Goldberg has quite the reputation, both on and off the screen.

As an actress and film producer, she is most well-known for her roles in Sister Act, The Color Purple and Ghost, as well as her longstanding cohosting duties on The View. She is the first African American woman to earn the coveted EGOT status (having won an Emmy Award, Grammy Award, Academy Award, and Tony Award) and is also an accomplished entrepreneur, humanitarian and activistPrior to becoming a household name, Goldberg, who was born Caryn Elaine Johnson, got her start as a young comedian in the ‘70s. After years on the performance circuit, she caught the attention of Steven Spielberg, who eventually cast her in 1985’s The Color Purple. From there, her career took off and she appeared in many films that would become classics including Boys on the Side and The Long Walk Home.

The actress earned critical acclaim for her breakthrough role as Celie in The Color Purple, winning the Golden Globe for Best Actress in a Motion Picture. She was also nominated for an Academy Award. While she didn’t win in 1985, the entertainer took home the Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 1990 for her work in Ghost.

Pivoting to the small screen, Goldberg joined The View in 2007 and won the Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Talk Show Host for her contribution to the long-running series.

“The moment that knocked me out was watching the President of the United States, Barack Obama, walk onto our stage before he was elected and after he was elected. It was a Black dude, and he was President of the United States,” she reminisced to People in 2021. “I remember my mother saying, ‘I never thought I would live to see this,’ and then looking over and seeing my big brother in the audience, I knew what it meant to my family to see that. To see that man sit down before and then after, it was just really groovy.”

Although Goldberg’s tenure on The View has spawned several special moments, there have also been a few controversies. In February 2022, she was briefly suspended for the distasteful remarks she made regarding the Jewish community.

“Let’s be truthful about it because [the] Holocaust isn’t about race,” Goldberg said. “It’s not about race. It’s about man’s inhumanity to man.”

In response, Kim Godwin, president at ABC News, said in a statement: “Effective immediately, I am suspending Whoopi Goldberg for two weeks for her wrong and hurtful comments. While Whoopi has apologized, I’ve asked her to take time to reflect and learn about the impact of her comments. The entire ABC News organization stands in solidarity with our Jewish colleagues, friends, family and communities.”

The Broadway alum later issued a formal apology via Twitter. “I should have said it is about both. As Jonathan Greenblatt from the Anti-Defamation League shared, ‘The Holocaust was about the Nazi’s systematic annihilation of the Jewish people — who they deemed to be an inferior race.’ I stand corrected.”She continued: “The Jewish people around the world have always had my support and that will never waiver. I’m sorry for the hurt that I have caused.”

While Goldberg has been in the spotlight for decades, she has rarely discussed her love life, despite being married three times. She was married to Alvin Martin from 1973 to 1979, David Claessan from 1986 to 1988 and Lyle Trachtenberg from 1994 to 1995.

“Look, people expect you to have a boyfriend. They expect you to get married,” the New York native told The New York Times in July 2019. “So I kept trying to do that, but I didn’t want to share information with somebody else. I didn’t want anybody asking me why I was doing what I was doing, or to have to make the other person feel better.”

Goldberg added, “I’d be thinking, Why don’t I feel the thing that I’m supposed to? If you’re in a relationship, you have to do those things, and it took me a while to figure out that I didn’t want to. One day … I thought, ‘I don’t have to do this. I don’t have to conform.’ I tried marriage, and it wasn’t for me. You can’t be in a marriage because everybody’s expecting you to.”

“I’m much happier on my own. I can spend as much time with somebody as I want to spend, but I’m not looking to be with somebody forever or live with someone. I don’t want somebody in my house.”

The television personality previously discussed her thoughts on marriage in an interview with Piers Morgan. “It seemed to be that if I was married I’d have a much more normal life. Clearly that’s not the case. That’s not a good reason to get married,” the Grammy winner told the British talk show host in 2011. “You have to actually want a life with someone through ups and downs. I just discovered that wasn’t for me.”In addition to her three marriages, Goldberg previously dated Ted Danson from 1992 to 1994 and Frank Langella from 1996 to 2001.

Alvin Martin
Goldberg’s first marriage to Martin began in 1973. The pair reportedly met in Los Angeles when Martin served as Goldberg’s drug counselor.

The actress, who has been open about her past struggles with substance abuse, married Martin when she was 18. That same year, Goldberg gave birth to their daughter, Alex Martin.

Alex is Goldberg’s only child, but the comedian’s daughter went on to have three children of her own – Amarah, Jerzey and Mason – with her husband Bernard Dean. Goldberg became a great-grandmother in 2014 with the birth of her Amarah’s daughter Charli Rose.

Although Goldberg’s career was just taking off during her first marriage, the couple and their daughter had their struggles in the late 70s. Alex opened up about the hardships the family faced at the time. “I remember we had the one room space and we slept in the bed together,” she revealed to Good Housekeeping. “I remember when we wanted to travel we would drive across the country in broke down bugs. We didn’t have the money to go to the movies.”

Alvin and Goldberg divorced after six years of marriage in 1979.

David Claessen
Seven years after her first divorce, Goldberg tied the knot again in 1986, this time to Dutch cinematographer Claessen. The couple attended a number of film premieres together and were married for two years before calling it quits in 1988.

Claessen is known for his work in directing music videos for artists like Britney Spears, Travie McCoy and Jason Mraz.

He has also worked in film and television, with credits on the film Diary of a Mad Black Woman and TV series The Hustle.Lyle Trachtenberg
The third time was not exactly the charm for Goldberg, who married IATSE union organizer Trachtenberg in 1994. The two divorced the following year.

“It took me some time but I realized that trying to turn myself into something I wasn’t ready for, for a man. Wasn’t his fault. It was mine,” Whoopi told The New York Times Magazine in 2019. “My marriages failed and I was the common denominator. My commitment was never that strong. I can say now that I was never really in love.”



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