On the Food Network show Barefoot Contessa, Ina Garten and her spouse, Jeffrey, seem to have the picture-perfect marriage. He arrives home with a bottle of wine, an appetite, and a grin as she is in the kitchen making one of her famous roast chickens. They assert that this interaction is genuine and not contrived. After over 50 years of marriage, their love is still fiery.
While Jeffrey, 71, a Yale School of Management professor who travels from Connecticut and serves as her eager taste tester when he is home, spends the most of his days at their East Hampton, New York, home tasting recipes for her program and impending cookbook (her latest, Cook Like a Pro). Ina, 70, spends her days there experimenting with dishes for her program or an impending cookbook. Even though Jeffrey sometimes gets things wrong, the Food Network veteran chatted with Drew Barrymore about their relationship and communication talents on an upcoming episode of The Drew Barrymore Show.
The gorgeous pair, who married in 1968, have told about how they communicated via letters when Jeffrey was in the army. He doesn’t write letters anymore, but is it true that he sends you love texts?” Barrymore inquired of Ina. He does,” remarked the Barefoot Contessa star on the November 21 show. And occasionally they go astray.
When Barrymore inquired, Ina said he gave them to the incorrect person. And what do they say? Barrymore inquired. Ina didn’t hold back when it came to spilling the beans. Her great buddy, who is also his publicist, wrote a text to her that he intended for her and said, she is going to be exquisite tonight, and it went to her, the famous chef jokes. ‘Woah,’ she said. She didn’t think this was meant for her, she said. Did she go bright red? When Barrymore inquired, the Be My Guest host said that she was not present yet “imagined so.”
They say their romance started in 1963, when she was 15 and visiting her brother at Dartmouth College, where Jeffrey was also a student, and they will celebrate their 54th wedding anniversary on December 22. He spotted her on the street and then wrote her a letter with a picture of himself in it, Ina explains. She simply remembers racing around the house screaming, ‘Mom, Mom, you’ve got to see this picture of this guy. He’s so cute!’”
Because they were regularly parted by nations, Jeffrey’s aptitude with words would be critical to their connection long after that first letter. He was posted to an Army mission in Thailand for a year shortly after their wedding. He wrote to Ina every day, he claims. He was only able to phone her once over the entire year. Ina saved every letter. He’d want to take her to Paris, but they won’t be able to afford a hotel, so maybe they’ll go camping, read one of them recently while she was going through them, laughs Ina. They now regard Paris to be their home away from home, returning every year to commemorate their anniversary.
They still like romantic getaways and dates, such as evening dinners or sunset cruises, but they also prefer spending time at home. In a March interview, Ina addressed her marriage and the time she spent with her husband during the COVID-19 lockdown. Jeffrey used to go to Connecticut every day to teach at Yale, while Ina worked from their East Hampton, New York, home. For years, they only got together on weekends.
They’d had that pattern for 40 years, when he’d go on Monday and return on Friday, Ina explained. Then, when the epidemic struck, she was like, ‘Oh, whoa. What will happen here?’ And 24 hours later, she is thinking that this is fantastic. She is always with a friend. Now that life has begun to get back to normal, Jeffrey has returned to Connecticut, albeit for a much shorter period of time than previously.