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Rita Moreno Reveals The Difficult Truth About 45-Year Marriage To Late Husband

Rita Moreno said Wednesday she “probably” stayed in a marriage with her “controlling” husband for their daughter’s sake, and that “having to be with somebody forever and ever is not necessarily a fabulous thing.”

The “West Side Story” legend got extremely candid with People while discussing her 45-year marriage to Leonard Gordon, who died at age 90 in 2010.

Rita Moreno and Leonard Gordon married in 1965.
Rita Moreno and Leonard Gordon married in 1965. Bettmann via Getty Images

Gordon was a doctor who became her manager in the 1980s. They had a daughter, Fernanda Luisa Gordon, in 1967.

Eventually, “things began to get very tense,” the EGOT winner confided to People. “And if it were not for my daughter, I probably would have left.”

Moreno said she and Leonard had an understanding.

“In my case, it was, ‘You’ll be the daddy and take care of me. And I’ll be your little girl and I’ll make you very happy.’ There came a time when I didn’t want that anymore. And that’s when the marriage got into trouble.”

Moreno noted that her husband was funny and a devoted grandfather, but their long-term union taught her a “big, deep lesson.”

Leonard Gordon and Rita Moreno at the White House in 1985.
Leonard Gordon and Rita Moreno at the White House in 1985. WWD via Getty Images

The “80 For Brady” actor, who’s in the exclusive club of performers who have won an Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony, has been promoting her new movie “The Prank.” (She’s also been giving her opinions on the presidential race.)

The icon was asked several years ago what she thought about retiring. “I’d rather eat glass,” she responded. It was the same answer she later gave about possibly remarrying.

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