In her new memoir, “My Name Is Barbra,” the EGOT recounts her courtship, relationship, and breakup with the “Miami Vice” star.
Barbra Streisand may have been a “Woman in Love” once, but that doesn’t mean she’ll say it out loud now.
In her new memoir My Name Is Barbra (out now), the EGOT winner writes about her relationship with Miami Vice star Don Johnson, and how, more than 30 years after they broke up, he still tells her he loves her when he sees her… though she doesn’t return the sentiment.
Streisand begins by recounting how the two first connected during a Christmastime trip to Aspen, and he made the first move to talk to her, which she liked. “This guy was lean and tan, with an easy grin (and good teeth). His name was Don Johnson, and he was the heartthrob of the moment on the TV series Miami Vice,” Streisand writes. “I have to admit, I’m very attracted to attractive men. (Okay, so I’m superficial!) It’s almost like an aesthetic thing… like a piece of art. I collect!”
She goes on to detail some of their early courtship, like going to Atlantic City to see Mike Tyson fight: “Normally a boxing match would not be at the top of my list, but Don loved all those boy things… watching football — which he tried to explain to me… hopeless — flying helicopters, racing boats.” She describes how their relationship was “fun, pure fun” and how happy she was at the time.
Streisand then charts the inevitable decline of their relationship, which she claims started when Johnson couldn’t make it to her birthday party because he was filming in Calgary, and she chose to visit him there instead. “That was a painful visit,” she writes. “I had the sense that Don didn’t really want me there. He was making phone calls from the car as we were driving, talking to other people. And he didn’t want to listen to a demo of our song.”
That song, “Till I Loved You,” was the real issue, according to Streisand. Though the recording seemed to please everyone in the studio, she says that “somehow it all went wrong.”
“Not the duet itself,” she clarifies. “It was Don’s attitude afterward… singing with me apparently made him feel very insecure. And instead of talking about it honestly, he just became very cold, and mistrustful, and angry. I tried to be sympathetic. I certainly had no intention of ruining his career, but it turned out he was concerned about exactly that. It seemed like an overreaction to me, but clearly he was upset, and therefore so was I.”
According to Streisand, she needs “honesty and communication… to be told how someone is feeling” in a relationship, and she wasn’t getting that from Johnson, so she too began to withdraw. She says she realized their romance was truly over when she called him up one day and his ex-wife Melanie Griffith answered the phone. (Griffith and Johnson would go on to rekindle their romance and marry again in 1989, before divorcing in 1996.)
Streisand writes, “At that point she was in rehab, and Don had conquered his own drug habit and was trying to help. (By the way, I’m not revealing any secrets. Both of them have been very open about it.) I had no problem with him talking to her, but I did have a problem with him not having the courtesy to tell me the truth about their current relationship. I can’t be with a man who is not straight with me emotionally.”
Streisand concludes, “So that was it,” adding that it was fun while it lasted and she has no regrets. And now? “Thirty years later, I’ll sometimes run into Don at a party given by mutual friends. We hug, and he always whispers in my ear, ‘I love you.’ I don’t say it back.”