Who can forget Jeff Daniels’ performance as Debra Winger’s philandering professor husband in Terms of Endearment (1983) or his roles in other popular films such as The Purple Rose of Cairo (1985), Dumb and Dumber (1994), and Speed (1994)? Daniels’ ability to switch seamlessly from comedy to drama and the raw authenticity of his portrayals has made him an audience favorite for decades.
He usually shields his private life from the public—especially his marriage to Kathleen Rosemary Treado—but we uncovered some charming facts about their relationship.
1. They’ve Known Each Other Since High School
Daniels and Treado have been married since 1979 and they share 3 kids: Nellie, Lucas, and Ben.
2. Treado Packs Daniels’ Lunch For Him
When he appeared on the daytime TV talk program Live with Kelly and Ryan, Daniels drew an appreciative “aww” from the audience in response to co-host Kelly Ripa’s comment that she heard that Treado still packs his lunch for him daily, even after 42 years of marriage.
Straight-faced, Daniels said, “She packed my lunch today in my little Detroit Tigers lunch box.”
Co-host Ryan Seacrest asked what she put in it. “A nice healthy salad,” Daniels replied, “a plum, an orange, and a water drink. Kathleen takes great care of me.”
When Seacrest added that she was Daniels’ high school sweetheart, Daniels waffled a bit and then gently corrected him. “I knew her in high school,” a remark that made the audience chuckle.
3. Daniels Once Forgot Treado At A Truck Stop
It may seem hard to believe, but Daniels once forgot about Treado at a truck stop. As he explained to Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show during a chat about the “how-to’s” of RV travel, it’s important to take a head count of your passengers, especially when you travel with your wife in that type of vehicle.
“I had to double back to get her,” Daniels, ever the hapless hubby, told Fallon, who dissolved in gales of laughter.
“It was the first time we rented [an RV]. “You’re gassing up and I was impatient. I got in the thing, my kids were this big [Daniels held his hand a few feet off the floor], and we pull out and I’m merging up onto the highway and my son said, ‘Dad, where’s Mom?’”
You gotta love a guy who freely admits on national TV in front of millions of viewers that he forgot his darling better half at a truck stop!
4. They Have Different Hobbies
Some people theorize that togetherness is healthy for a marriage, but spouses also need to have a few interests that they can pursue separately.
Daniels uproariously informed Kelly Ripa and Ryan Seacrest of his wife’s sudden (and to him, surprising) affinity for the sport of pickleball. With a laugh, he indicated that he did not quite share or comprehend her enthusiasm for it.
One day, as Daniels explained to Ripa and Seacrest, Treado called him out of the blue and announced she was really into pickleball and was learning how to play it.
“In 42 years of marriage,” Daniels said while feigning astonishment, “I have never heard her say that word, pickleball.”
“To me, it’s like [she said], ‘I’m drinking paint.’” Daniels said good-naturedly that to him, pickleball is “like half-court basketball for elderly people.”
5. They Like To Take RV Trips
There’s no feeling quite like the exhilaration you get when you hit the road for a leisurely trip in a spacious, well-equipped RV. If you go with the Daniels family, at least according to Daniels himself, it’s a unique experience indeed.
Speaking from years of driving RVs on pleasure jaunts with his family, Daniels told Jimmy Fallon (who was obviously a novice when it came to RV travel), that “What they don’t tell you [when you get one] is that you’re gonna be driving a building.”
“Drive with confidence,” Daniels solemnly told Fallon, who looked truly bemused. Like a wise older brother, Daniels wise-crackingly tutored Fallon on topics like making a successful wide turn when driving a huge RV and not colliding with other, smaller vehicles.
6. Avoiding Mansplaining Is The Key To Their Long Marriage
In the marital world according to Jeff Daniels, ditching the mansplaining is one key to a happy, long-lasting marriage. As he remarked to co-hosts Savannah Guthrie and Carson Daly on Today, it’s important to realize “that mansplaining is a real thing and that it probably qualifies as a disease.” Daniels continued, “Just don’t speak as much.”
He evidently advocates for men listening to their wives more than they talk themselves.
7. Despite His High-Profile Career, Daniels Has Always Put His Family First
Daniels has his priorities straight and won’t compromise them for fame, money, or to beef up his career. Family ranks first for him, period.
In fact, one thing proves that he means what he says on this topic. In 1986, when he was going full-tilt professionally, Daniels moved his family as far away as possible from Tinseltown to Michigan, the state where he was born and grew up.
He told People in 2019, “It was a very dramatic move in 1986 to move to Michigan, but that was to keep the family number one. And that worked.”
Daniels knows that acting and being famous are both transitory, while family is forever. Family, for Daniels, matters much more than getting a whopping paycheck for being in a blockbuster movie or being on a critic’s list of their favorite actors.
“Kathleen’s permanent,” he said. “The family’s permanent. Careers are job to job, you’re hot, you’re not.”
Jeff Daniels likes to joke around and tell funny stories about his wife, Kathleen, and their relationship. It’s clear that those humorous anecdotes about their married life come from a deep, abiding love that has ripened and matured over more than 40 years.
They take care of each other and their children like any spouses and parents would. Being part of a power couple doesn’t appeal to Daniels. Making his wife and family safe, happy, and secure is what counts most to him.