Patricia Heaton’s 1st Marriage Ended in Divorce: ‘I Felt Like a Huge Failure’

Everybody Loves Raymond star Patricia Heaton has been happily married for decades to fellow actor and producer David Hunt.

However, at one point early in her acting career, she married another actor. That union ended quickly in divorce.

Patricia Heaton
Patricia Heaton | Vincent Sandoval/WireImage

Her 1st marriage was nowhere near as successful as her present one

Patricia Heaton
Patricia Heaton | Brook Christopher/FilmMagic

Patricia Heaton married her first husband – whose name is not publicly known – during her lean years as an actor. She had not yet achieved her household name status from playing Debra Barone on Everybody Loves Raymond.

As she told A&E’s Biography in 2003, she met someone from her drama class, fell in love, and the two married. It was an impulsive mistake.

“There was no compatibility there,” she said. “So, that marriage lasted three years and then it was over. To get divorced, especially being from a Catholic family, is huge failure. I felt like a huge failure in this very important part of my life.”

Heaton’s ultimatum to her boyfriend

David Hunt, left, and Patricia Heaton
David Hunt, left, and Patricia Heaton | John Sciulli/Getty Images

RELATED: ‘Everybody Loves Raymond’: Patricia Heaton Reveals the ‘Big Deal’ Purchase She Made With Her 1st Paycheck From the Show

Heaton married another fellow actor, British-born David Hunt, in 1990. A three-decade marriage in Hollywood is a rarity, for sure.

But it began with an ultimatum Heaton presented to her then-boyfriend.

“We sat in this car and she said to me, ‘You know Dave, I love you, I’ll go anywhere with you but you have to make a commitment to me now because it’s either time to you-know-what or get off the pot,” Hunt told Biography.

Hunt’s reaction? Like a deer in headlights, he couldn’t respond.

“I froze. And that was it. I went back to New York in this sort of catatonic state,” he said.

Hunt snapped out of his trance enough to acquire an engagement ring for Heaton, which he presented to her the very next day at the office she had been working in.

“I get down on one knee, I give the whole speech, and I’m so determined at this point,” Hunt recalled.

Heaton said yes.

The cold feet the couple experienced on their wedding day

David Hunt and Patricia Heaton
David Hunt and Patricia Heaton | Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic

Both Heaton and Hunt showed up on their wedding day convinced they were making a big mistake.

“I think it was the dying embers of a guy in his early 30s who just hadn’t matured enough to make that kind of commitment,” Hunt said.

As for Heaton, she recalled crying throughout her own wedding ceremony.

“All the way down the aisle, I was weeping,” she said. “And people in the pews thought that they were tears of joy. All I was thinking was, ‘Here I go again, marrying an actor that’s completely wrong for me.'”

Luckily, 30 years later, Heaton was all wrong. She told Parade in 2014, “Marriage is a really wonderful thing, but as hard as I had to work to get where I am professionally, I’ve had to do the exact same thing in marriage.

“It’s tough to be with one person for the rest of your life, when you both grow at different rates and in different directions. You have to figure out how to grow differently ‘together.'”