Friday, March 4, 2016


JFK+50:  Volume 6, No. 1878


Los Angeles, California (JFK+50) Sixty-four years ago today, March 4, 1952, actor Ronald Wilson Reagan married actress Nancy Davis in the Little Brown Church in the Valley here in Los Angeles.  The Reagans, who met in 1949, would have two children together Patti and Ron.

When Ronald Reagan was sworn-in on January 20, 1981, he became and remains today the only POTUS to have been divorced.  Just as Reagan, "the teflon president," became known for being able to remain popular despite controversial events during his tenure in office, he was easily able to overcome the stigma of divorce.

Political Science professor Michael Nelson of Rhodes College argues that the fact Reagan was married and divorced at a young age and was in a second stable marriage at the time of his election to the  presidency were two good reasons "voters didn't care."

Divorce, however, can still be an obstacle to political success.  Professor Nelson adds...."the political price of divorce, where (the presidential candidate) was the guilty party...would be significant,"

Ronald Reagan's first wife was actress Jane Wyman.  The couple married in Glendale, California on January 26, 1940.   The two co-starred in "Brother Rat," and had children Maureen and Michael.  They lost their daughter Christine after only one day of life.

The marriage became troubled reportedly by arguments over Mr. Reagan's political ambitions, but after their divorce, they remained good friends.  Upon the former president's death, Miss Wyman said...

"America has lost a great president and a great, kind and gentle man."

Nancy and Ron were devoted to each other.  After her husband was diagnosed with Alzheimer's, Nancy said...

"Our relationship is very special.  We were very much in love, and still are.  When I say my life began with Ronnie, well its true.  It did.  I can't imagine life without him."


"How Many Presidents Have Been Divorced?," by Stuart Fox, Live Science, June 18, 2010,

Brenda Marshall, Ron & Nancy, William Holden
The Little Church in the Valley
March 4, 1952
Photo by American Pictures

Jane Wyman & Ronald Reagan
August 5, 1942
Los Angeles Times Photo Archives
UCLA Library