While many forget this infamous Hollywood coupling, Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Danson dated for several years in the 1990s. The relationship occurred during the peaks of the two stars' respective careers: Danson was still starring in the hit show Cheers, and Goldberg had recently won an Oscar for Ghost.
Whoopi Goldberg and Ted Danson stories are reminiscent of many other Hollywood power couples: they fell for each other while filming the comedy Made in America, resulting in a very costly divorce for Danson. From 1992 to 1994, the two were the talk of the town until their relationship fizzled out. While the two were still dating, Danson infamously performed in blackface as a contentious expression of his love for Goldberg.
If you don't remember when Whoopi Goldberg dated Ted Danson, or even if you do, keep reading for a glimpse at one of Hollywood's more unusual couples.
On one 1986 episode of the short-lived Late Show Starring Joan Rivers, Danson and Goldberg greeted one another with a kiss before taking their seats on the talk show couch. Sparks weren't yet flying, however, most likely because Goldberg had just married cinematographer David Claessen at the time.
When Ted Danson and Whoopi Goldberg filmed the rom-com Made in America, Danson was happily married. According to People Magazine, Danson adored his then-wife, Casey Coates: "We are committed to each other, totally,” Danson said in 1989. “The idea of my having more relationships boggles my mind.”
Once filming began on Made in America, however, his feelings seemed to change:
By the time of [the movie's] publicity tour, [Danson and Goldberg's] public sightings had become too numerous - and affectionate - to ignore.
Danson and his wife, Casey Coates, had two young children together. The couple overcame significant adversity during their relationship: Coates suffered a stroke during her first childbirth, and Danson remained by her side throughout the lengthy rehab process.
When Danson and Goldberg played the romantic leads in Made in America, however, Danson began to stray. Not long after the affair began, it went public, leading to Danson and Coates's divorce. Coates allegedly received a payout of $30 million, making theirs one of the costliest celebrity divorces.
At Golderbg's 1993 Friars Roast, Danson demonstrated his affection for his then-girlfriend by painting his face in an offensive "blackface" fashion. Unsurprisingly, most attendees were less than amused, including famed film critic Roger Ebert:
[The audience] cringed in disbelief during the opening monologue by [Danson], who appeared in blackface and used the [N-word] more than a dozen times during a series of jokes that drew smaller and smaller laughs, until finally the audience was groaning.
In contrast, Goldberg defended Danson, stating, "Let's get these words all out in the open. It took a whole lot of courage to come out in blackface in front of 3,000 people. I don't care if you didn't like it. I did."