Wednesday, May 29

Don Johnson Sacrificed Womanizing & Luxury Life to Marry Teacher — At 74, He Speaks about Their Family

  • Don Johnson from the hit show “Miami Vice” had a tough childhood.
  • The actor escaped home when he was 16 and put himself through college.
  • He turned to drugs, alcohol, and money to fill a void of unhappiness until he met his wife, Kelly Phleger.

Don Johnson is an award-winning actor known for his role in the famous cop series “Miami Vice.” He is a self-made success who had to endure multiple hurdles to find happiness.

Starting with his childhood, Johnson said it was horrible. His father, Wayne Johnson, was only 19, and his mother, Nell, was 17 when he was born.

Don Johnson in Florida, in 1986 | Source: Getty Images

Don Johnson in Florida, in 1986 | Source: Getty Images

He grew up poor and around abuse. By the time he was 12, his parents had divorced, and at 16, Johnson was so unhappy that he decided to leave home.

Johnson roamed the streets alone and had to put himself through high school. But despite his lonesome life, he managed to make a success out of himself.

Don Johnson in New York in 1985 | Source: Getty Images

Don Johnson in New York in 1985 | Source: Getty Images

However, after amassing fame and all the luxuries he could possess, Johnson still felt something missing in his life—happiness. He also discovered that he was never able to let go of the fear his parents instilled in him through their “corporal punishments.”

Therefore, Johnson resorted to alcohol, drugs, and women. He might have thought that 20 cars, boats, and a ranch in Aspen, Colorado, were all he longed for, but he admitted, “I was intensely unhappy.”

As much as Johnson admitted that he developed an alcohol problem, he never drank at work, but as soon as he wrapped his day, he would drink to the point of no return.

Don Johnson on "Miami Vice," in 2006 | Source: Getty Images

Don Johnson on “Miami Vice,” in 2006 | Source: Getty Images

The actor went through multiple marriages, with some that only lasted days. He married Melanie Griffith twice and had romances with Cybill Shepard, Barbara Streisand, and Patti D’Arbanville. This is not including the countless flings and one-night stands. He welcomed his daughter Dakota Johnson with Griffith and a son, Jesse, with D’Arbanville.

Falling in Love with a Teacher

Luckily for Johnson, he met someone who would inspire him to improve his life and fill his void of unhappiness. The actor was at the city mayor Willie Brown’s birthday party when he crossed eyes with Kelly Phleger. He described her as “a woman of substance” he had to get to know.

Kelley Phleger and Don Johnson in California in 2001 | Source: Getty Images

Kelley Phleger and Don Johnson in California in 2001 | Source: Getty Images

The two married in 1999, and that same year, they welcomed their daughter Grace, then two sons, Jasper, two years later, and Deacon, four years after.

Johnson had found the happiness he was looking for with Phleger, so much so that he decided to stop drinking. His epiphany came when he was on a trip with his friends.

They walked into a restaurant, and there was a scene of a Madonna and child eating breakfast playing on TV. That’s when it hit Johnson how lucky he was to have created such a loving family. But it was not only the alcohol that he gave up but the material things he held onto, like the 20 cars and boats he owned.

Kelley Phleger, Don Johnson, and their daughter Grace in California in 2010 | Source: Getty Images

Kelley Phleger, Don Johnson, and their daughter Grace in California in 2010 | Source: Getty Images

Johnson considers himself lucky to have married his current wife, thus, he joked, “I had a rare moment of clarity and asked this woman to marry me, and I still think 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.”

The “The Book Club” star realized that he hid behind smoking and his luxury items, but he did not need them anymore because he was only using them to impress women.

The actor expressed that he attached his value to his assets, but “Through training, spirituality, and education, you come to know that you are enough, and you don’t need anything extra.”

Kelley Phleger, Don Johnson, and their daughter Grace in California in 2018 | Source: Getty Images

Kelley Phleger, Don Johnson, and their daughter Grace in California in 2018 | Source: Getty Images

Above all else, Johnson is grateful to have survived his wild days. After “Miami Vice,” he starred in “Nash Bridges.” Things were a bit slow for him after the series ended, but now he’s back in demand and has been part of successful projects like “The Book Club” and “Django Unchained.”

But before all this, he came close to losing his career. He revealed that after he had his son, Jesse, he was out of shape from alcohol and drugs. Every time he showed up for an audition, people thought his career had reached its limit, so he worked hard to get back into shape.

Now that Johnson has worked on himself, he’s devoted to becoming the best father to his children and making up for some of the missed moments, especially with his older children.

Don Speaks about His Family in His 70s

Johnson is now 74 years old and still happily married. He is also the biggest family man. After a long day on set, the actor said he looks most forward to being with his children.

He also acknowledges that he was not always there for his older children, Jesse and Dakota, and a source revealed that he was doing his best to make up for lost time.

Since he has many children, he spends a lot of time visiting them individually, but he also loves to take walks in nature with his beautiful wife.

Additionally, because Johnson experienced firsthand the influence of drugs on one’s life, he has made it his life’s mission to warn young people about them and how they can destroy lives.

Johnson has come a long way to find happiness which is at its peak. He now simply enjoys the company of his loving wife and children, who have all made him proud.