YouTube / People, Barbara Eden
The Hollywood legend sat down for an interview two decades after the death of her son who was just 35 years old…
Barbara Eden, who is best known as America’s favorite television genie in I Dream of Jeannie, recently sat down with People Magazine and spoke openly about her incredible career and reflected on the tragic passing of her son, Matthew Ansara, in 2001.
Just three weeks before I Dream of Jeannie was set to air, Eden gave birth to Matthew, who she had been carrying while filming many of the first episodes.
Eden and her then-husband Michael Ansara welcomed Matthew into the world in 1965. She told People that the experience of becoming a mother was one of the most important and profound of her lifetime.
“I don’t know if becoming a mom changed me, but it was the most wonderful thing that ever happened to me,” she continues. “It’s a miracle, having a baby, and having this little creation. I get goosebumps when I think about it. It’s the loveliest thing that happened in my life.”
As Matthew got older, he struggled with addiction – specifically with heroin. For nearly half his life, he was in and out of rehab – fighting to stay sober and be healthy.
“At first we didn’t recognize the behavior — the sleeping and the bouts of anger that would come up all of a sudden with this charming, darling boy. I was scared to death,” she told the publication. “I didn’t know what to do.”
“He was too young to know he needed rehab or help,” she adds. “It’s a wonder that he lived to be 35.”
Matthew Ansara died at the age of 35 on June, 25th, 2001 from an accidental heroin overdose.
It was devastating for Barbara – and she struggled with guilt and grief for many years following his passing.
“I don’t think there’s anything worse than to lose your child…As a parent, I had a lot of guilt and anger, and following his death, I was always on the edge of tears. Even though he was 35, he was still my baby.”