Ralph Waite's wife has no idea he was on ''The Waltons'' when they went out for the first time
Imagine going on a date with John Walton Sr.
For a lot of people, dating a television star can feel like a dream come true. But the first time she met her future husband, Linda East had no idea that Ralph Waite had appeared on a show as popular as The Waltons.
According to a 1983 interview with The State, Linda East didn't know Ralph Waite was the Walton patriarch John Walton Sr. The article stated, "She knew, through a mutual friend, that he was a bachelor and that he had an 'interesting' background." 'Interesting' would be the understatement of the century. The Waltons originally ran from 1972 to 1981 and had a profound and lasting impact on viewers, sticking in their minds long after it had gone off the air.
However, perhaps even more important than discovering Waite's fame, East also found out that Waite had decided to never marry again. Waite, who had been divorced twice, had figured that he wasn't ever going to be ready for another marriage. He said, "I had lived with women. I had married them. I had had affairs. I had done what everybody else in this society seems to do. In many ways, I had been a renegade." Despite this decision, East and Waite kept in contact with what they called "occasional dating." Their correspondence was in fact, so occasional, that long spans of time would go by without even meeting. Waite said, "At one point, months went by and we didn't see each other."
Absence apparently really does make the heart grow fonder because as the relationship progressed, Waite found himself falling in love with East. He said, "It had been more than 30 years since I felt like that."
Suddenly, Waite's stance on marriage began to change, and in 1982, Waite and East were married. He said, "I decided to do what people normally do when they fall in love — get married."