Don Johnson quit drinking, partying, and his luxury-filled life after falling for his current wife of 23 years, who was a school teacher at the time.
In his 70s, Don cherishes every day with his wife and five kids.
Don Johnson, the legendary actor behind “Miami Vice,” was always known for his wild lifestyle. Now, he celebrates his 73rd birthday in a much calmer way with his wife of 23 years, Kelley Phleger. Since he met her, he has turned his life around.
Before he met his wife, he was extremely unhappy. He drank and partied as often as he could, and he was prone to buying luxury items to fill up his life. None of it made him happy. He only decided to turn his life around after he met his third wife, who finally made him happy.
When he met Phleger, she was a schoolteacher at a Montessori school. He ran into her at a birthday party for San Francisco’s mayor at the time, and when he saw her, he knew he had to meet her. He did everything in his power to catch her attention, and when he finally spoke to her, they got along excellently.
Although he had money and fame after his role as Sonny Crockett, he was still “intensely unhappy.”
These days, Johnson is keeping busy by starring in a range of different projects, from HBO’s “Watchmen” to the new film “Knives Out.” Although he turns 73, he has no intention of slowing down his career, and now that he has left all his vices behind, the actor feels like he can keep going for years.
What Happened to Don before He Met His Beloved Kelley?
Johnson’s life wasn’t always as sunny as now. Throughout his childhood, he suffered abuse from his rage-filled father and grew up with very little money. Then, when the “Django Unchained” star was 12, his parents decided to divorce, leaving him, the oldest, to fend for his other siblings.
His new bride inspired him to put his old life behind him, and the pair had three kids together.
At 16, Johnson had had enough of his disjointed family situation, and he left home. He commented that it was a challenging experience, and he had to put himself through high school. He did mention that he believes fending for himself at such a young age built immense character and shaped his personality.
As an adult, his life wasn’t much better. Although he had money and fame after his role as Sonny Crockett, he was still “intensely unhappy.” Johnson was married five times, twice to the same woman, and he dated a series of famous ladies. He also had five children altogether and struggled with substance abuse.
Before he met Phleger, he spent his time drinking, and he invested in boats, multiple cars, a jet, and a ranch in the hope these luxury items could stop him from being “utterly miserable.” He was also growing tired of his lifestyle, which affected his health. He was becoming overweight and didn’t think he’d make it to 30.
How Did Don Change after Falling for a Schoolteacher?
In 1999, however, Johnson found a reason to leave his old life and all his vices behind. After he met Phleger, he fell in love, and they got married. He stopped smoking and drinking, sold his unnecessary cars, and started looking after his health. The “From Dusk Till Dawn” actor commented:
“I had a rare moment of clarity and asked this woman to marry me, and I still think that she’s under a spell. And so I beg of you not to snap your fingers, because God knows what will happen if she ever comes to.”
His new bride inspired him to put his old life behind him, and the pair had three kids together. Johnson started investing more time in his family and decided to make up for lost time with his two oldest children. In his old age, he has chosen to live a “sacred” life with those he loves. He said about outliving his wild youth:
“I’m happy to have survived it. A lot of people don’t.”
After four failed marriages and a lifestyle that would undoubtedly have led to his downfall, Johnson is finally happy with Phleger. He has realized that family life is the thing that brings him the most joy, and he has become an involved and caring father to his five kids.