Shirley MacLaine: Sleeping with Other People Leads to a Successful Marriage

In this Tuesday, Oct. 28, 2014 photo, Shirley MacLaine, a cast member in "Elsa & Fred," poses at the premiere of the film at Sundance Cinemas in West Hollywood, Calif. At 80, MacLaine returns to headliner status in the new big-screen romantic comedy, which opens in the U.S. Nov. 7, …
Chris Pizzello/Invision/AP

Veteran actress Shirley MacLaine bragged about the success of her open marriage — which ended in divorce — this week during an interview.

The 81-year-old — who has never been shy about sharing her unconventional, and sometimes bizarre, ideas and beliefs — detailed her 28-year marriage with producer Steve Parker on Thursday, telling PEOPLE during a Sirius XM town hall that she and Parker had an “open marriage.”

Although the marriage (1954-1982) ended in divorce, MacLaine still swears by the couple’s ideas on intimacy and friendship.

“I guess you would say [we] ‘practiced an open marriage’ in 1954, which was another lifetime … No one understood it, we did. He lived in Japan basically, I lived in America working, and this and that.”

She continued, “We’d meet up, always great friends, traveled sometimes together.”

The actress also added: “I think that’s the basis for a long-lasting marriage, if you really want to do such a thing … I would say better to stay friends and we don’t have enough time to talk about the sexuality of all. I was very open about all of that and so was he.”

Associated Press

MacLaine and Parker ended their union in 1982.

The Oscar-winning starlet, sister of actor Warren Beatty, admitted that now, in her autumn years, she has mostly replaced a revolving door of sexual partners with a trio of dogs. However, she admits even that relationship is lacking in monogamy.

“I’m having a relationship now, that is teaching me about possessiveness with intimacy and it’s with my three dogs,” she said. “I adore my dogs. And I’ve had to get a dog nanny/food lady for the dogs because I’ve been working so much.”

MacLaine has become notorious for her opinions on reincarnation in recent years. In her 2013 memoir, she made an assertion that the roughly six million Jews and other ethnic and religious minorities murdered by Hitler’s Holocaust were simply “balancing their karma” by paying for sins in a past life.

She has also expressed a belief that her dog Terry is a reincarnation of Anubis, the Egyptian god of the afterlife.

MacLaine is a lifelong Democrat.


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