Barbra Streisand and Elliott Gould: A Match Made on Broadway

How did Barbra Streisand and Elliott Gould meet? How does she describe their marriage? What’s his side of the story?

Barbra Streisand’s first husband was Elliott Gould. They met in 1962, married in 1963, separated in 1969, and divorced in 1971. She talks about their marriage and their relationship since their divorce in her memoir My Name Is Barbra.

Keep reading to learn about Barbra Streisand and Elliott Gould’s relationship.

Barbra Streisand and Elliott Gould

Barbra Streisand and Elliott Gould’s love story began in 1962 when they met during the production of I Can Get It for You Wholesale. It was the first Broadway show in which Streisand was cast, and Gould played the male lead.

Streisand and Gould started getting dinner together after rehearsals—first just as friends, then as a couple. They got married in 1963. Streisand was 21 years old at the time; she says that, in hindsight, that seems much too young for marriage.

(Shortform note: Some research supports Streisand’s assertion that 21 is too young to get married, suggesting it’s best to wait at least until your mid-20s. For instance, one study says that couples who get married between the ages of 28 and 32 are the most likely to stay together for at least five years. Researchers hypothesize that this is because, by your mid-to-late 20s, you have a good idea of what you want to do with your own life and what you’re looking for in a partner.)

Streisand and Gould’s marriage was often rocky. First, Gould resented that Streisand quickly became more successful than he. Second, he had a gambling problem, and he frequently wagered or sold their possessions to support it. 

(Shortform note: A gambling problem like Gould’s is a recognized mental disorder called compulsive gambling, and its symptoms are very similar to drug addiction. People who suffer from compulsive gambling get so caught up in the cycle of risk and reward that they might deplete their savings, take on debt, and even resort to stealing and fraud in order to keep gambling.) 

In 1966 Streisand gave birth to their son, Jason Gould, whom she loved dearly (and still does today). Streisand frequently brought Jason with her to rehearsals and film shoots, rather than having to hire a babysitter, and she enjoyed having him around while she was working.  

(Shortform note: After being introduced to the entertainment industry as a baby, Jason Gould has worked as an actor and a singer throughout his life. He even joined Streisand on tour in 2012, after spending much of his life afraid of having his singing voice compared to hers. Streisand said that she admired his courage in overcoming that fear.) 

Near the end of their relationship, Gould started heavily using cannabis and possibly other drugs. Streisand says that she doesn’t take drugs—she tried cannabis once but didn’t enjoy it—and she was uncomfortable with Gould using drugs, especially around their son.

(Shortform note: Gould’s drug use is hardly a secret; he openly admits to having smoked marijuana and says that he experimented with hallucinogens as well. However, he denies that it was ever a problem, joking that he had a “reality problem,” not a drug problem. He adds that he no longer uses drugs of any kind.) 

Streisand and Gould announced their separation in 1969 and finalized their divorce in 1971. 

(Shortform note: Gould describes their marriage much differently than Streisand does. He suggests that Streisand was self-centered; more concerned with herself than with their relationship. However, he adds that he thinks their marriage was great while it lasted, and he’s very proud of what they accomplished together, including raising their son Jason. Furthermore, Gould shares that, because of Jason, he and Streisand have remained close even after their divorce—he says he loves all of his children, as well as their mothers.) 

Barbra Streisand and Elliott Gould: A Match Made on Broadway

Elizabeth Whitworth

Elizabeth has a lifelong love of books. She devours nonfiction, especially in the areas of history, theology, and philosophy. A switch to audiobooks has kindled her enjoyment of well-narrated fiction, particularly Victorian and early 20th-century works. She appreciates idea-driven books—and a classic murder mystery now and then. Elizabeth has a blog and is writing a book about the beginning and the end of suffering.

One thought on “Barbra Streisand and Elliott Gould: A Match Made on Broadway

  • April 4, 2024 at 12:49 am

    Very good article concerning Barbra Streisand and Elliott Gould.


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