Barbara Corcoran is one of the savviest boss ladies on the block. Before becoming a mainstay and fan favorite on the popular investment show Shark Tank, she conquered the real estate world with a dogged determination. This same mentality also helped her land her husband, Bill Higgins, after he initially rejected her.
Corcoran and Higgins, a former FBI agent and Navy captain, met in 1981 at a conference in a suburb outside of New York City. Corcoran, who was just as popular then as she is now, had, according to Higgins, “a whole entourage of people with her — everybody wanted to meet her.” So, rather than “being obnoxious and interrupting everybody,” Higgins waited until Corcoran was alone to make his move.
Although Higgins first made his approach with “business intentions only,” Corcoran was charmed and thought he had a “million-dollar smile” and was the handsomest man she’d ever met.
After a few strictly business interactions, Corcoran asked Higgins to spend the weekend with her — and he respectfully declined. “By me saying no, I think, knowing Barbara now, that just did it,” Higgins recalls.
So Corcoran actively pursued Higgins, and six months after their first meeting, the pair began dating. It wasn’t long after that that Corcoran moved in with Higgins and his four children from a previous marriage in New Jersey. Corcoran quickly took on an important role in the kids’ lives while also thriving as a Manhattan real estate business owner.
Two years and many professional accomplishments later, the couple took a trip to Norway. Higgins decided to surprise Corcoran with a ring that he wasn’t even sure would fit. “And when Bill proposed to me and said, ‘Want to marry me?’ I swear to God my thought was ‘Eh, I’m not sure, I’ll give it a whirl,’” Corcoran admits.
Now, three decades later, their relationship has proved to have stood the test of time and circumstance. Corcoran conceived their son, Tommy, at age 46 after seven difficult years of vitro fertilization. Later, after a number of searches nationwide, they adopted their daughter, Katie.
Higgins and Corcoran do not hold back when describing their realistic outlook on making it through a long marriage in their tell-it-like-it-is love story. “We both have stick-to-itiveness,” Corcoran says. “I think tenacity keeps us happy,” Higgins adds.
Corcoran shares more on her lifetime of successes in her new podcast, Business Unusual.
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