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Pam Dawber Reveals The Truth About Her 30 Year Marriage To Mark Harmon

Being married in Hollywood often ends up in divorces, a lot of drama, and gossip about potential or real affairs. However, Mark Harmon and Pam Dawber are one of the rare couples that managed to stay together for more than three decades.

A lot of fans are wondering what was the secret to their marriage? The couple never revealed anything about their romance, but after more than 30 years Dawber decided to explain in Entraintainment Tonight the reason that made their marriage rock-solid and long-lasting.

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1. The Couple

NCIS actor Mark Harmon and actress Pam Dawber are one of the few couples of Hollywood that have stood the test of time. They married in 1987 after which they quickly had two sons.

How is it possible that the couple managed to last so long despite all the temptations that are always around in the filming industry? Well, Pam Dawber only recently decided to reveal a secret about their 32-year-marriage.

2. NCIS star

Even if you’ve never seen the show, you surely heard about Mark Harmon, the star of NCIS. Mark is the son of the actress Elyse Knox and a football legend Tom Harmon. He is considered a veteran of the TV industry for his long-lasting role in NCIS that he played for 16 years.

However, he wasn’t always a successful actor as he is today. Before getting into the world of TV, Harmon worked as a carpenter.

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3. The Beginning

Having started acting in the 1970s Mark Harmon has been in the industry for more than 40 years now. However, it wasn’t until the 1980s that he got his big break.

He appeared in the TV series Flamingo road in 1981. Two years later, he played Dr. Robert Caldwell in the series St. Elsewhere, and in 1986 he acted in the Deliberate Strange as a serial killer Ted Bundy.

4. Mark’s Big Break

After the 1980s, Harmon continued playing in new TV series. He was becoming a household name thanks to his performances in Reasonable Doubts, The West Wing, and Chicago Hope, just to mention a few names. Then, he got his role of Leroy Jethro Gibbs in the popular TV series NCIS in 2003.

He has been acting in the series ever since, achieving incredible 16 years of acting the same character. He must identify himself slightly with Gibbs after all this time? However, his wife Pam Dawber was by his side through it all.

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5. Pam Dawber

Detroit-born actress, Pam Dawber started her career in fashion first. She was a model with Wilhelmina Models and she appeared in several television commercials back in the time. However, she decided to switch to acting.


She unsuccessfully auditioned for the role of Tabitha in Bewitched series in 1977-1978. However, ABC’s was impressed with her talent and enrolled her to their talent development program. Thanks to this program, Garry Marshal, who was casting for Mork & Mindy at the time, noticed her and invited her to audition.

6. Mork & Mindy

It looked like Garry Marshal really knew how to pick his main stars because he cast both Dawber and Robin Williams for the series about an alien who comes to Earth. Both of the actors were unknown at the time, and the series luckily managed to get them the popularity they deserved.

The show ended in 1982, and after four years Dawber landed a lead role in the sitcom My Sister Sam. The show lasted for two years, but after that, the actress decided something that no one would expect.

7. Getting Married

It was 1987 when Dawber married Harmon in a private wedding. Soon after in April of 1988, the couple was mature enough to welcome their son Sean.

In 1992, the couple had their second son Ty and they everything in their family was now more than perfect. They enjoyed each moment they spent together. However, no one still knew anything about the couple’s marriage because they managed to hide their private life from the public eyes.

8. Talking About Their Marriage

Only 30 years after, Dawber decided to finally speak about her marriage. She was invited to an interview with Entertainment Tonight in 2016, where she will finally reveal the secret that has been holding her relationship solid for decades.

Dawber explained that what made their marriage so strong is the fact that she decided to put her family first and leave the fame behind. She said, “I don’t think two people can work all the time in show business and stay married”.

9. Successful Career

Despite having a very successful career in the show business, Dawber still wanted to dedicate herself to her two sons and her family. Does she have any regrets? It doesn’t seem so.

Pam revealed, “I was in a number one show. I had my own deal. I got to do Broadway. I got to do musical theater. I got to do cartoon voices. I did everything you can do in this business, and then I had children, and it’s like, ‘I’m not going to chase this fame thing.’”

10. Motherhood

Although she didn’t expect it to change her completely, motherhood definitely turned upside down all her priorities. She remembered, “I wanted to drive my kids to school. I wanted to be there for their birthdays and bring cupcakes and donuts and do the school festivals and all that, and I did.”

Dawber found peace and fulfillment in being the best mom she can and in being there for her kids. She later added, “I got to teach in their art class and so it was a different life then, and I was very happy to do it.”

11. Enduring Marriage

However, Dawber decided to reveal something more in the Entertainment Tonight. She also talked about her own marriage, despite the fact that they managed to keep their relationship private. Media never knew what was going on between them.

The couple always kept their family and private life away from the public eye and the actress believes that is the only correct way to preserve a healthy relationship. She openly disapproves of celebrities who let their private life become the subject of gossip tabloids.

12. Marriage Secret

The Entertainment Tonight host shared with Dawber how a lot of people look at them as the “It” couple and asked if there was something more they did in order to have such a stable relationship.

The actress said, “Notice you don’t see us in the magazines. When you’re married, that’s real life. And to go and plaster your kids… I’m sorry. I’m not for that.”

13. Children Grew

The couple’s sons Sean and Ty are now 30 and 26, and the elder brother decided to follow his parents’ footsteps. In fact, he had appearances as a young Gibbs in several episodes of NCIS.

However, the actress admitted that none of their sons ever saw anything she’s done. Although it might seem like a weird thing, she says she is completely fine with that.

14. Just Mom

“My kids have never seen anything I’ve done. I’m just their mom. They don’t care about what I did. They care about what they are doing,” she told Entertainment Tonight.

“They want their parents to care about what they are doing.” Dawber clearly knows what is important to their children and doesn’t want to get in their way just because of her strong will for fame.

15. Children Of Celebrities

Dawber confessed that her sons have passed through some tough time because of being the children of celebrities. This was however mostly because of Harmon’s success, so she preferred not to add to that and leave herself out of the celebrity image.

“Their father is already iconic enough for two boys,” Dawber said. “I am just the mom.” And the actress seems to be more than satisfied with her choices.

16. Fan Support

After revealing the secret that has been holding her marriage with Mark Harmon for more than 3 decades, fans started calling in order to support her decision to leave the spotlight in order to dedicate herself to her family.

One person shared “Pam and Mark, my dream couple. They are so beautiful together. Love the thought of them as a great Hollywood couple who are keeping it real.”

17. Admiration For Mark

Another fan commented on their relationship by saying, “Mark is my favorite actor, and it’s excellent that Mark and Pam have such a beautiful relationship. Love you guys.”

People seemed to agree very much with the couple’s stances. One more fan said “Mark Harmon always kept his family away from his acting work. That is meritorious. Work and live your life without complications of the press.”

18. Small Comebacks

Although her family and her kids were Dawber’s priority since she became a mom after her kids grew to be old enough she continued appearing in several television films and shows.

In 2014, her Mork&Mindy co-star Williams convinced her to appear in an episode of his series The Crazy Ones. She accepted the role and it seemed to be the right decision because this was the same year as Williams’ death. The actress broke down in tears at the mention of her late friend’s name during the interview.

19. A Gift

“I hadn’t seen Robin for 20 years,” Dawber said. “I did that episode because I wanted to be with Robin. I wanted to see Robin. That was a gift. That was such a gift.”

The actress also appeared in an episode of the Odd Couple that was filmed as a tribute to Marshall that died in 2016.

20. Loving Relationship

Harmon still stars in NCIS and is filming his 16th season of the show. Despite not talking about their relationship very often, it’s more than obvious that this couple is based on some true, loving emotions.

It looks like staying in love after decades of marriage is possible in the end. Dawber even commented on her husband for InStyle “He’s one of those guys who makes you say, ‘They don’t make them like that anymore.’” Aren’t they cute?

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