Actress and singer Ann-Margret and her late husband Roger Smith were totally devoted to each other, having been married for 50 years.
The couple exchanged vows in 1967 and remained in their happy union until Smith died on June 4, 2017, after battling myasthenia gravis for many years.
Before Ann-Margret married Smith, she dated Elvis Presley, a singer and her co-star in “Viva Las Vegas.” Even after she moved on with Smith, she and the singer remained friends until Presley died.
She valued their friendship so much that even after she resumed her career after her husband’s death, Ann-Margret excluded the songs made famous by Presley from her album. She said of leaving some songs out:
“I decided not to. Everyone knows how I felt about him and the friendship that we had all these years. It was very, very private.”
After getting married, Ann-Margret and Smith were inseparable. “I knew I was going to marry him on the third date,” she revealed.
They couldn’t stand being on film sets on the opposite ends of the country. Eventually, Smith became her manager to ensure they would always be together. “The Swinger” singer said:
“Now, in Roger, I’ve found all the men I need rolled into one — a father, a friend, a lover, a manager, a businessman. It’s perfect for me. I couldn’t exist without a strong man.”
Smith was a great manager to her as he helped her grow beyond the image of the cartoon character that critics had of her. Due to his efforts, Ann-Margret landed challenging parts in “Carnal Knowledge” and “Tommy,” which earned her critical acclaim and recognition from award-show voters.
The actress went on to feature in great film series such as “Grumpy Old Men.” She also had a guest appearance in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” which earned her an Emmy.
Smith once revealed in an interview that he had a dream of co-starring with his wife on a Broadway play after she left the movies. Unfortunately, the duo never fulfilled this dream.
Like with most marriages, Ann-Margret and her husband faced several challenges, but they remained united through it all.
They were lucky enough to have a long life together and even celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary shortly before Smith’s demise. It was always Smith’s wish to reach the milestone, and he was ecstatic when it happened.
After years of Smith managing his wife’s career, Ann-Margret matched her husband’s support by being there for him in his personal life. When Smith was diagnosed with myasthenia gravis and Parkinson’s disease, the actress pressed pause on her career. She said:
“I kept saying no, no, no to everything because I was taking care of him. If you’re a spouse, if one of you has a broken wing, the other takes over.”
A person close to Ann-Margret revealed the actress was an “amazing nurse” to her husband during his illness. But the love did not end there. She reportedly still held her husband dear even after he died. “To her, a great love story doesn’t end with death. You carry their spirit with you,” the friend disclosed.
Following her husband’s death, Ann-Margret noted that she was grateful for all the years she shared with him:
“When I look back at my life, I am most proud of my marriage…We both wanted it to work. And it did work. We were together night and day. We loved each other and were always in each other’s corner.”
She mourned him and, amidst the pain, attempted to move on by focusing on her passions and talents. She also fondly recalls the life they had together.
She Tried to Get Pregnant for 13 Years
Ann-Margret tried to get pregnant for 13 years. She revealed that she used a fertility pump and an experimental device that injected a hormone into her stomach to aid ovulation.
[Ann-Margret] is attempting to move on with her life by being busy with her career, but she still lives in the same Los Angeles home she bought with Smith.
Even though Smith had three children, the actress also wanted to have her biological children. She said:
“The point is, if I am meant to have a child, I will have one. Whatever my higher power feels is right for me, I will accept. I know this may sound simplistic, but I believe in the serenity prayer.”
For years, Ann-Margret prayed to God to give her the serenity to accept things she could not change, the courage to change the things she could, and the wisdom to know the difference.
After trying unsuccessfully to conceive for years, the actress gave up on the hormone-inducing situation and settled on being a stepmother to Smith’s kids. She noted that this was her favorite of all the roles she ever played.
The 82-year-old said she became a disciplinarian stepmother who taught her stepkids to be respectful just as her parents had trained her:
“I met them when they were 3, 6, and 7, and now they’re not. Two of them are doctors. Well, I don’t want to get into that because it’s very, very private.”