Barbara Walters, who turned 90 years old on Sept. 25 and has not appeared in public since 2016, has one child, daughter Jacqueline "Jackie" Danforth. Walters and her second husband, Lee Guber, adopted Danforth the year she was born, in 1968. Like her mother, Danforth has also stayed out of the spotlight in recent years.
Since The View creator did not make any public appearances on her 90th birthday, concerns about her health have been raised. A source told Radar Online she has not spoken to her friends in two years. Rosie O'Donnell told Us Weekly this week she thinks Walters is not "up to speaking to people now."
During an episode of Oprah's Master Class in August 2015, Walters revealed she had three miscarriages during her marriage to Guber before she became a mother. Walters said a double date with a couple they rarely saw led to her adopting Danforth.
The couple told them they had an opportunity to adopt a little girl, but had dreamed of adopting a little boy. Since they were going to pass on adopting the girl, Walters and Guber agreed to adopt the baby.
"I adore my daughter. To know that you can have this kind of love that I feel for her," Walters told Oprah Winfrey.
“I’m laughing because my daughter said to me recently, ‘Mom, when you have Alzheimer’s, you can come down and live next to me. Not if you have Alzheimer’s, but, Mom, when you have Alzheimer’s,’” Walters told Winfrey with a smile. “I take that as a very loving compliment.”
Danforth did not have an easy time growing up. In an intimate 2003 interview with Jane Pauley for NBC News, Danforth described skipping school at 13 and going to Studio 54. At 15, in 1984, she ran away and was reported missing. She hitchhiked to California and used drugs throughout her youth.
“I did marijuana,” Danforth told Pauley. “It was called crank then, but it’s now methamphetamines. Quaaludes were all over the place. Valium. And the drugs numbed all the other feelings. But it didn’t take away the issues that I had. They got bigger and bigger. I was more and more isolated from my mom’s world. And I thought running would solve all my problems.”
At the time Danforth ran away, Walters was engaged to film executive Merv Adelson and her career was back on track. Danforth was enrolled in summer school and disappeared after one day. After locating Danforth, Walters and Danforth enrolled in an intervention program in Idaho.
"I did not want to read about Jackie in a tabloid," Walters told Pauley. "I did not want — I just knew that for this child, who was struggling enough to be her own person and not be Barbara Walter’s daughter, to have this be headlines. I could have lived with it, OK. You know? But it would have been terrible for her."
Danforth credited that program with saving her life. She stayed there for three years before she set out on her own in Oregon and avoided telling people who her famous mother was.
In 2000, Danforth moved back to the East Coast to live in Maine, where she established a wilderness camp and met her first husband, Mark Danforth.
"To be Jacqueline Danforth, is a very special person. She is doing something that she loves," Walters told Pauley in 2003. "In that way, perhaps it’s like me, her mother. And she says, ‘You see, I take after you.’ Whenever she says that, I’m so touched."
Unfortunately, the last time Danforth made headlines was in 2013 after she was arrested for a misdemeanor DUI charge in Naples, Florida, NBC2 reported at the time. The passenger of the vehicle, Danforth's husband Dennis Pinkham, was arrested with marijuana in his pocket, police said.
Months later, Walters told ABC News that not spending more time with Danforth was one of her biggest regrets.0comments
“I was so busy with a career. It’s the age-old problem,” Walters said in 2014's Barbara Walters: Her Story. “And, you know, on your deathbed, are you going to say, ‘I wish I spent more time in the office?’ No. You’ll say, ‘I wish I spent more time with my family,’ and I do feel that way. I wish I had spent more time with my Jackie.”
Photo credit: Ron Galella, Ltd./Ron Galella Collection via Getty Images
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