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Marlo Thomas Recalls Favorite Wedding Memory After 44 Years With Phil Donahue: ‘It’s Just Him and That Was It’

Thomas recalled telling her father before the wedding, 'I'm kind of scared because I didn't ever want to get married'

<p>Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty </p> Phil Donahue (left) and Marlo Thomas photographed at the

Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty

Phil Donahue (left) and Marlo Thomas photographed at the 'Hillary' New York premiere at the Directors Guild of America Theater on March 4, 2020 in New York City

Marlo Thomas is taking a trip down memory lane.

The That Girl actress, 86 — who wed Phil Donahue in 1980 — recalled that their nuptials didn’t start off very smoothly as she dealt with a case of cold feet.

“I was so scared and it was in my parents' house and my father came in,” Thomas shared. “I was in the guest bedroom with the hairdresser, the makeup and the this and the that and my father came in and he said, ‘Honey, you're a half hour late.’ ”

She recalled that he asked her what was wrong since it would only take her a moment to get from her bedroom to the living room, where the ceremony was being held at their home.

<p>Chelsea Lauren/Variety/Penske Media via Getty</p> Phil Donahue (left) and Marlo Thomas photographed during an event

Chelsea Lauren/Variety/Penske Media via Getty

Phil Donahue (left) and Marlo Thomas photographed during an event

“I said, 'I'm kind of scared because I didn't ever want to get married,' ” she recalled telling her father.. “And he said, ‘Well, then don't do it, honey.’ ”

Related: Marlo Thomas Celebrates Husband Phil Donahue's 88th Birthday by Toasting a Custom Cocktail with Pals (Exclusive)

Thomas said she eventually gathered the courage to leave her bedroom and exited her room with her father to walk down the aisle.

“And as I'm walking down the aisle of my parents’ living room, I see Phil standing there with his hands like this like a little altar boy, and I thought it's just Phil. What am I so scared of?’ ” she said. “It's just him and that was it.”

<p>Sean Zanni/Getty Images for National Arts Club</p> Phil Donahue (left) and Marlo Thomas photographed at the Joseph Fioretti exhibition at The National Arts Club on October 5, 2019 in New York City

Sean Zanni/Getty Images for National Arts Club

Phil Donahue (left) and Marlo Thomas photographed at the Joseph Fioretti exhibition at The National Arts Club on October 5, 2019 in New York City

The pair have since been married for 44 years. Thomas recently celebrated Donahue’s 88th birthday with a star-studded dinner party on Thursday in New York City where she toasted him with a custom cocktail she created in his honor.

Related: All About Phil Donahue and Marlo Thomas' 5 Children

"I called Jameson on a lark. I said, 'You're the greatest Irish whiskey there is. Phil is such a famous Irish guy, there are bars named Donahue. I don't want to pay you anything, and I don't want you to pay me anything, but would you just create a drink for me? That's all I want,' " she recalls. "And they generously agreed to help."

Dubbed "The Donahue," Thomas served the beverage up to guests Thursday night — in her tortoiseshell double old-fashioned glasses from her William Sonoma collection, naturally — to toast Donahue's milestone.

<p>Bruce Glikas/Getty</p> Marlo Thomas (left), George Stephanopoulos, Al Roker and Ali Wentworth pose as Marlo Thomas toasts husband Phil Donahue with a new Jameson drink "The Donahue" at Pete's Tavern on Dec. 7, 2023

Bruce Glikas/Getty

Marlo Thomas (left), George Stephanopoulos, Al Roker and Ali Wentworth pose as Marlo Thomas toasts husband Phil Donahue with a new Jameson drink "The Donahue" at Pete's Tavern on Dec. 7, 2023

The couple first met in the late 1970s when Thomas appeared as a guest on Donahue's eponymous talk show. The pair then embarked on a long-distance relationship before finally tying the knot a few years later.

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When the couple celebrated 43 years of marriage in 2023, Thomas told PEOPLE about the "Three L's" they've followed throughout their romance that kept their relationship strong: "Love, listening and lust."

"Those are the three L's," she explained. "You have to listen and then you'll know what the other person is really thinking and going through. You have to love each other. And without lust, you don't have anything."

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