Ron Howard met his wife in the most Mayberry way
The Opie actor grew up to marry his high school sweetheart.
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Opie Taylor fell in love a few times on The Andy Griffith Show - including a giant crush on Miss Crump when she was his teacher - but in the show's eighth season came an episode "Opie's First Love," which seems to represent the boy's first real romance on the show.
The episode finds Opie asking Mary Alice Carter on a date to a party at his buddy Arnold's house. If we go by actor Ron Howard's real age through the years on The Andy Griffith Show, by this point, Opie was about 13 and in junior high when he met his first love. When he asks her on their date, he does so in front of a row of green lockers, both carrying books, Opie clumsily drinking from a fountain and delivering his invitation with water still sloshed on his cheeks. His nerves don't dampen the moment, and she accepts!
But then, in a Brady-like twist Marcia would surely identify with after "The Subject Was Noses," Opie's date cancels right before the party. Why? Because Opie's first love has decided she wants to go to the party with a "cooler" guy. Who's cooler than the son of Mayberry's sheriff? Some guy named Fred, who, according to Mary Alice Carter, "really thinks he's something."
Because Opie's got pride, he goes to the party anyway, only to find his would-be date miserable, ignored by the cool-guy date she chose in the end. In case you're wondering, this is Fred in the red:
"Boy, Fred is really a great dancer," Opie says in the episode, wallowing a bit in the young girl's superficiality biting her in the end. Mary Alice Carter tells Opie how conceited he is, and Opie sees his in. He tosses out his line, "Well, since you're just sitting there. Why don't we talk?" The episode ends with them happily chatting, presumably Opie charming his first love.
If you've seen this classic episode, which kicked off the show's final season and served as almost a prelude to Happy Days, then you should know that you were watching almost exactly how Ron Howard's real life played out. In a recent interview with People, Howard talked about marrying his high school sweetheart Cheryl. Today, they've been married 44 years.
Howard said of finding his true love in the halls of John Burroughs High School in Burbank, California, "I met her, and there was never anybody else.”
And when asked the secret to the longevity of their marriage, from teenagers to today, Howard's response is firmly rooted in the Mayberry way, echoing talks Andy had with his boy on the show, episode after episode:
"People say, ‘How’d you do it?’ There’s no technique. There’s no tactic other than communication is really important. You have to learn to communicate and have difficult conversations in constructive ways.”