Barbara Eden, 91, Found Strength to Live after Loss of 2 Beloved Sons Thanks to Faith in God and Her Spouse


Barbara Eden is an actress with a career spanning back to the 1950s. The actress’s debut was in the 1956 movie, “Back from Eternity.”

Eden continued to work on many more films, but not all of them were successful; however, she got her big break from the series “I Dream of Jeannie,” which aired in 1965 and ended in 1970.

Barbara Eden photographed on “I Dream of Jeannie” in 1965. | Source: Getty Images

However, acting was not her first artistic expression. Eden was born on August 23, 1931, in Tucson, Arizona, and was a cheerleader in high school and a famous teenage singer.

Her first performance was when she sang solo for a choir. She moved on to sing with different bands and swiftly transitioned into acting.

Eden has made appearances on several TV shows such as “I love Lucy,” “The Andy Griffin Show,” “Father knows Best,” “Gunsmoke,” and more.

Barbara Eden in Los Angeles in 1992. | Source: Getty Images

She has also appeared in 20 feature films, including “Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea” and “Flaming Star” with the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley.

Eden is now 91 years and is still as active as can be. She is a mother of two sons, who unfortunately passed, but the actress remains optimistic and continuously tries to use her creativity to fulfill her purpose.

The Death of Barbara Eden’s Sons

Eden’s first son, Mathew Ansara, whom the actress had during her first marriage to Michael Ansara, died on June 25, 2001. Mathew was found dead in his car, and before paramedics found the cause of the death, it was confirmed that his body did not suffer any trauma.

Barbara Eden and her son Mathew on the set of “I Dream of Jeannie” circa 1965. | Source: Getty Images

Eden’s son was a fitness trainer and an actor, and his death came as a shock because of how he kept his body in shape and maintained a healthy lifestyle.

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Before Mathew’s death, Eden was reportedly planning his wedding for September 1, 2001, which added another layer of shock for the mom.

It was later confirmed that Mathew died from an accidental heroin overdose. Eden confessed that her son was in an out of rehab for 14 years before he died.

A portrait of Mathew Ansara used on his memorial card at his funeral in California 2001. | Source: Getty Images

At first, the actress said she did not notice any behavioral changes in her son; some days, he was filled with rage, but some days he was her charming boy; however, Eden did not know how to help him.

Furthermore, Eden said her son was too young to realize he needed therapy and found it miraculous that he lived till his 35th year. But 20 years later, she confessed that she had a lot of guilt surrounding her son’s passing.

Dealing with his addiction and its unpredictability was frustrating for Eden. She recalled the beautiful times they shared when Mathew was sober, but things would change. The actress said, “Drugs are so inexplicable. It’s so frustrating.”

Barbara Eden at Mathew’s funeral in California 2001. | Source: Getty Images

Eden and her first husband, Michael, had tried to fall pregnant for seven years before conceiving Mathew. The former couple also found out they were expecting their son right before Eden was about to start “I Dream of Jeannie.”

Eden fell pregnant with her second son, and in 1971, after she had carried her child for eight months, the doctor informed her that he had died in her womb.

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The actress said, “it felt awful.” She wondered if something was wrong with her body and the after-effects of this traumatic experience led her to a dark place.

Barbara Eden and her son Mathew at the Hollywood walk of fame in 1988. | Source: Getty Images

Eden said she went back to work right after and lost a lot of weight, but every time she looked at Mathew, she felt blessed to be his mother.

However, some days were better than others, and although she felt lucky to have her son, she could not help but find herself struggling to move or get out of bed.

Barbara Eden in Beverly Hills in 1989. | Source: Getty Images

At the time, Eden thought she had to go through everything independently, but the experience taught her the importance of asking for help. There is also not a day when she does not think about her sons.

How Barbara Eden Survived the Death of Her Sons

Eden has survived some painful experiences; the death of her son Mathew, a stillborn child, and two failed marriages. The actress even believed that the postpartum depression she endured after her last pregnancy led to the end of her second marriage.

Barbara Eden in New Jersey in 2016. | Source: Getty images

To overcome these situations, Eden had faith in God and the support of her husband of 30 years, Jon Eicholtz. The actress said she believed we all have a purpose in this world, so she tries her best to be a productive citizen.

Eden’s motto is to put her best foot forward and keep her strength for those around her. She also admitted that the loss of her sons will probably always hurt, but she wants to spend the rest of her life doing her best to make them proud.

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She lives her life with the utmost optimism. Eden is 91 years old, and there is no stopping her, “I feel young!” she said. To prove it, the actress revealed that at 87, she was doing intense training.

Barbara Eden and her husband Jon Eicholtz in Hollywood 2017. | Source: Getty Images

Her workout routine involved spin classes, weight lifting, and regular visits to the gym; now, her trainer has come to her house, and they do resistance training. Eden is interested in keeping her body in shape and has a beauty routine that keeps her skin looking plump and moisturized.

Her secret to a good beauty routine is self-care. She recommends eating well, exercising, and, most importantly, applying moisturizer to fight wrinkles.

The singer also emphasized the importance of applying sunscreen. Another thing she likes to do is keep her face free of makeup whenever she is not working.

Eden has chosen not to let her experiences define her. She remained positive and appreciative of the life she has now. The actress gushed over how lucky she was to have her loving husband, her adorable and spoilt dog, and her friends. She said, “Yes, I am very happy. I think [in] life, everything has to work itself out.”

Eden made it clear that her goal in life is to be creative and productive. The actress works with various charities, including the American Cancer Society, the Make-a-Wish Foundation, the March of Dimes, Save the Children, and Childhelp USA.

Eden’s age is also just a number; she loves her job and does not plan to retire anytime soon. She said she would keep kicking until they kicked her out.