How a 'Funny Girl' Met Her Man — Barbra Streisand and James Brolin's Relationship Timeline

Barbra Streisand and James Brolin met after years of failed relationships and decades of experience. Let's take a look at their relationship timeline.

Jennifer Tisdale - Author

Nov. 9 2023, Published 3:12 p.m. ET

James Brolin and Barbra Streisand at the 40th Anniversary Chaplin Award Gala at Avery Fisher Hall at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts on April 22, 2013
Source: Getty Images

The Gist:

  • Barbra Streisand and James Brolin met on a blind date at a dinner party.
  • Both were previously married and in their 50s.
  • They wed in 1998 after dating for two years.
  • James and Barbra have supported each other emotionally and publicly for decades.
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Barbra Streisand is the titular funny girl in the Broadway musical Funny Girl, and it's in this production she sings a hauntingly beautiful song about love. "People who need people are the luckiest people in the world," she says while describing how we are but halves searching for our whole selves.

For Barbra and her husband actor James Brolin, that search ended when they were both in their 50s. They each brought decades of experience to a marriage that undoubtedly worked in their favor. How did these two wacky kids meet and fall in love? Let's take a look at their relationship timeline.

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Barbra Streisand and James Brolin attend the 'And So It Goes' premiere at Guild Hall on July 6, 2014
Source: Getty Images

Barbra Streisand and James Brolin met on a blind date.

According to PEOPLE, Barbra and James met on a blind date at a dinner party by way of her ex-boyfriend's ex-wife. He drove her home afterward and continued their conversation in the singer's foyer until 3 a.m. Both were too shy to make a move. Three months later, James flew to Ireland to direct a movie but they kept things going via numerous international calls. "I remember falling asleep on the bathroom floor with the phone pressed against my ear," said Barbra.

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While chatting with the Los Angeles Times in November 1996 about her film The Mirror Has Two Faces, Barbra described it as an "uplifting, life-affirming, hopeful picture about love," then said her relationship with James was similar to the movie. She said part of the reason why she and James made sense was because she was open and ready to receive love at that time in her life.

Two years later in July 1998, Barbra and James wed in a star-studded event that could rival any Oscars red carpet. The guest list included Donna Karan — who designed Barbra's dress — John Travolta, Kelly Preston, Tom Hanks, Rita Wilson, Quincy Jones, and Sydney Pollack. "We wanted to be surrounded by people we’ve loved for a long time," Barbra told PEOPLE.

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James Brolin and Barbra Streisand have loved and supported each other for decades.

One thing is for sure, James and Barbra always show up for each other. A month after their wedding, Barbra was standing next to James when he received his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The newlyweds had two reasons to celebrate. When Barbra received the National Medal of Arts from then President Bill Clinton in December 2000, James beamed proudly.

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That certainly wasn't Barbra's last award, and she was never alone. In July 2007, the Légion d'Honneur — the highest French order of merit — was bestowed upon Barbra while James sat in attendance at The Elysee Palace in Paris. A little over a year later, James and Barbra were in Washington, D.C. for the Kennedy Center Honors. Each time, James has never let his ego run away from him.

In July 2011 it was back to the White House for these two when President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama invited them to a State Dinner. The couple has been to or thrown several lavish parties over the years, with nary a disagreement in sight. Perhaps part of the secret is separate bank accounts. James told HuffPost Live in November 2015, "This is my third marriage, and I know what trouble can come out of marriage, so I didn't want any reason that I would ever have to be either divorced or married again."

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While the COVD-19 pandemic put a strain on many couples, James and Barbra grew closer during the quarantine. "We've literally fallen in love over this period of time, just being stuck together every day and making it work," said James while guesting on The Talk, by way of PEOPLE. "Neither one of us have ever gone out the door [after] an argument and we are good at talking things out," he said.

James opened up more about his marriage while in conversation with PEOPLE in September 2022. He and Barbra had just celebrated 24 years together and had much to say on the matter. "I think everybody needs to be a negotiator," he told the outlet. "Everybody needs to have patience and know when to take a walk." It seems like James and Barbra have never lost patience with each other.

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