Linda Lavin Gave Love a Third Chance with Spouse Steve Bakunas
Linda Lavin had more than one thing to celebrate this Valentine's Day. She celebrated her spouse, Steve Bakunas, and their time together.
February 14 is also their wedding anniversary date. 2022 marked their 17th year together as a married couple.
How Linda Lavin Met Her Third Spouse
By the turn of the century, Lavin had been married and divorced twice. She was living in Wilmington, North Carolina, in 2000.
She had moved to the town five years earlier. With no one she knew around, she restarted her life in a way.
The theater legend had been doing building restorations in the area. All alone and almost a decade since her previous marriage ended, she didn't think love was around the corner.
Linda Lavin with her spouse of 17 years, Steve Bakunas. (Photo: Linda Lavin/Instagram)
"I didn't think I would ever get married again," said Lavin of the time before she met her current spouse to Broadway in 2010. However, Bakunas came along and changed her perspective.
He moved to Wilmington five years after she did, and the two were introduced to each other by a mutual friend. Her friend thought he could help her with her foundation.
Their connection began with messages, and then they met at a theater opening. He was seated in front of her. It hit her the moment he turned around.
"He turned around, and the moment I saw his gorgeous face I thought, "I'm so glad I had my hair done today," Lavin recalled of his husband. "He's very handsome and very, very talented."
The day was November 17, 2000, on a Thursday. Their relationship began with a coffee that weekend, and they have "never been apart since."
They spent Thanksgiving together that year, and he "washed all the dishes and asked all the right questions." Then, he followed her to New York.
After five years of being together, he popped the question. While performing an Arthur Miller play in Chicago in 2005, he surprised her with a visit. Then, he brought out a ring and brought her to tears.
She was so happy, she immediately went to thinking about her wedding dress, and accepted the proposal only after he said, "You have to answer the question first."
They started a life together in Wilmington, restoring and building houses and running the Red Barn theater. Lavin said Bakunas designed and built all the sets and even directed and acted in the plays.
On February 14, 2022, they celebrated their 17th marriage anniversary. She posted two pictures from her wedding in 2005.
In the first post, Lavin and her spouse are posing for the camera in their wedding attire. And the second showcased their elated faces right before cutting their three-tier wedding cake.
Linda Lavin's Previous Relationships
Lavin was married to two theater legends before Bakunas came along. From September 1969 to August 1981, she was married to her first spouse, Ron Leibman.
Then, on August 22, 1982, she tied the knot with Kip Niven. Their marriage lasted seven years and ended after a nasty court battle.
It was Lavin who filed for divorce against her then husband, claiming infidelity and cruelty. Their divorce was made official in July 1992, and she was ordered to pay $675,000 to Niven.