Inside Dr. Phil's Relationship With His Wife, Robin - Nicki Swift (2024)

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Inside Dr. Phil's Relationship With His Wife, Robin - Nicki Swift (1)

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ByBrent Furdyk/

Television has brought viewers a plethora of memorable couples over the years, from Luke and Laura on iconic soap "General Hospital,"to Sam and Diane on "Cheers," to the lusty antics of "Bridgerton"sweetheartsSimon Bassett and Daphne Bridgerton. When it comes to the world of daytime talk shows, however, it's impossible to ignore Dr. Phil McGraw and wife Robin, who regularly appeared together onscreen during the 21-season run of "Dr. Phil."

While they've moved on from that show, the couple recently embarked on a bold new venture with the launch of a brand-new show on their very own network. Through it all, from McGraw's early days as a trial consultant to having no less an icon than Oprah Winfrey catapult him to TV fame, his wife has been a constant presence by his side as a partner in life, business, and television.

The couple's story is long and fascinating, spanning decades, and is far from over. To find out more, keep on reading to go inside Dr. Phil's relationship with his wife, Robin.

Dr. Phil had just split from his first wife when his sister set him up with Robin

When Dr. Phil McGraw first met his future wife, he was coming off the end of his first marriage, having walked down the aisle at age 20 withDebbie Higgins McCall. The marriage ended just a few years later, with McCall blamingher ex-husband's multiple infidelities. Technically, he didn't get divorced, as the marriage was eventually annulled.

It was not long after that Dr. Phil's sister hatched a plan to set him up with her friend, 19-year-old RobinJo Jameson. At the time, however, his focus was trained in another direction."I was really going back to school, and looking for love was the last thing I had on my mind at the time," Dr. Phil explained during an interview withYahoo! Life. For their first date, Dr. Phil — who had a pilot's license — took her for a flight on an airplane. It was while soaring through the sky that she had an epiphany about the guy who would one day become her husband. "I really go with my gut always," Robin said. "I knew I'd be safe with this man."

Whether he realized it or not, the die had been cast during that fateful flight. "I do believe in love at first sight,"Robin gushed, "and I fell in love with this man on that very first night."

Dr. Phil popped the question on Valentine's Day

While Dr. Phil McGraw may not have been looking for love, he'd found it in Robin, and their airplane flight became the first of many dates. As it happened, Robin was working at the airport, which made for a convenient place to connect when he flew back from a trip. "He said, 'If I fly in at a certain time, can we go out?'" Robin recalled for Yahoo! Life. She agreed, and he chose that very night to pop the question. "I was shocked,"she admitted. "I was really very surprised. I was the happiest woman in the world."

From Dr. Phil's perspective, he had no intention of going through a repeat of what had taken place in his first marriage, one where two 20-year-olds who barely knew themselves quickly grew apart as they began to evolve in different directions. However, he'd come to reach a certainty that wouldn't happen with him and Robin. "I knew she was the one because I wasn't looking for the one," he explained. "You know, you're not thinking about it, you're not looking, you're not wondering. And then I met her and it just didn't seem like there was much point in doing all the things Iwas doing if she wasn't going to be involved. That's how I knew."

They got married in 1976

Dr. Phil married his wife, Robin, on August 14, 1976, with the wedding taking place in Wichita Falls, Texas. As Dr. Phil explained while interviewed for Yahoo! Life, their wedding was notable for its utter absence of celebratory libations. "There was no alcohol at our wedding,"he recalled, "and that decision was made for us because we got married at the Baptist church, and the reception was at the Baptist church, so there weren't a lot of choices to be made here. 'Would you like cookies and punch, or would you like cookies and punch?'"

At the time, neither of the newlyweds was swimming in money. Robin's wedding gown, in fact, cost all of $100 —and she'd had to put the dress on layaway, paying for it in affordable installments that the couple recalled as being $5 per week. Even after the passage of so many years, the dress still holds a lot of sentimental value for her, and she's hung onto it. "Still looks pretty good, too,"her husband added.

In August 2023, the couple celebrated their 47th wedding anniversary. Dr. Phil marked the occasion by sharing a photo on Instagram, of the spouses chilling on a luxury yacht. "Forty seven years and counting and she can still hop up on the table," he wrote in the caption. "Been together since she was 19!! Happy Anniversary Robin. I love you!"

They became parents — and then grandparents

After their marriage, Dr. Phil and his wife Robin started a family when they welcomed the arrival of their son Jay, born in 1979. They waited awhile before adding another to their brood, with son Jordan making his appearance in 1986. As the years passed, both of their sons got married and started families of their own, resulting in Dr. Phil and Robin ultimately becoming grandparents of four:granddaughter Avery (born in 2010) and son London (2011), shared by Jay and his wife, Erica Dahm; and Jordan's kids with wife Morgan Stewart, daughter Row, and son Grey, born in 2021 and 2022, respectively.

Appearing on Jenny McCarthy's SiriusXM talk show, Dr. Phil revealed that his two oldest grandkids call him Pops, while Robin goes by the more traditional Grandma. According to Dr. Phil, his experience with being a grandparent has lived up to the hype. "Well, Ihave to tell you, it's everything that you hear, where you have none of the responsibility and all of the fun,"he declared.

If he seemed to be loving being a grandpa, it was still only a fraction of the excitement that his wife had been experiencing. "I have said before that I feel like I was put on this Earth to be a mother," she said while appearing on an episode of "Dr. Phil.""Wrong! I was put on this Earth to be a grandmother!"

Robin made regular appearances on the Dr. Phil show

Dr. Phil's life changed forever when his jury-consulting firm was hired by Oprah Winfrey when she was sued by an organization representing Texas cattle farmers over a comment she made while discussing mad cow disease on her talk show. That led her to invite him onto her show and eventually host his own daytime show, "Dr. Phil." Since the earliest days of "Dr. Phil,"his wife, Robin, has been a constant presence since the very first show. As she stated in a video in which she conversedwith her husband, she felt it was necessary to be there for support —and never stopped showing up.

That, the couple explained while interviewed for Yahoo! Lifein 2019, was simply an extension of the inseparable nature of their relationship. "I have been to every taping, for 17 years now," she boasted. Robin, in fact, had been far more than just a spectator on the show; she also regularly participated throughout the show's 21-season run, dispensing her own advice alongside that of her husband and oftenserving as co-host.

In fact, viewers watched Robin become an integral part of "Dr. Phil"over the years, to the point that her presence there was no longer voluntary. "She has to be here now,"Dr. Phil joked. "She worked herself into a job, is what it amounts to."

Their relationship needed to evolve to accommodate their fame

Thanks to the springboard provided by TV host and media mogul Oprah Winfrey, Dr. Phil's rise from Texas-based jury consultant to nationally famous celebrity was meteoric. Becoming famous so fast was a big adjustment for both him and his wife, Robin, and required them to establish some new patterns within their own relationship.Because producing a five-days-a-week daytime show is something of an all-consuming pursuit, "Dr. Phil" organically grew to become something they worked on together as a couple.

That led Robin to become not just a sounding board for her husband but an invaluable secret weapon. When prepping for upcoming broadcasts, he's come to rely on his wife to provide him with a feminine perspective that may otherwise have eluded him. "I go over the shows at night and she'll look at them and say, 'You had better not say this or that to her.' I say, 'Yes, ma'am!'" Dr. Phil said in a profile of his wife for New You.

Despite appearing onscreen together during countless hours of television, Dr. Phil insisted that he and his wife are actually quite private people when it comes to their personal lives. "You don't see us on red carpets a lot,"he revealed during an episode of "Dr. Phil.""Our idea of a good time is to hang with family, and be together. So we protect that time together really, really strongly."

They keep their arguments behind closed doors

Inside Dr. Phil's Relationship With His Wife, Robin - Nicki Swift (8)

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While there has been no shortage of scurrilous gossip about strife in the marriage between Dr. Phil and his wife Robin, what hasn't been seen are bona fide incidents of the couple fighting in public. According to the couple, that isn't something that happened randomly; as they explained, they're certainly not immune to having marital disagreements but have made a conscious decision to keep those spats out of the public eye.

During an episode of "Dr. Phil,"a viewer asked them whether they ever fought. "We don't argue and fight, we really don't," Robin said, but admitted they do occasionally disagree about certain matters. "But when we do, we keep it private. We settle those things at home." Realizing that television cameras tend to capture every nuance, they've been adamant about settling those disagreements off-camera so they can continue to sincerely present themselves as united on the air."So we would never bring it to the studio, and having a problem being around each other,"she added.

To Dr. Phil, that strategy is hardly rocket science, but simply common sense. "Of course we have disagreements," he said, "but if you're a professional, and you're mature, you take care of those things privately."

The dynamic of their relationship isn't based on codependence

Inside Dr. Phil's Relationship With His Wife, Robin - Nicki Swift (9)

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One of the key factors underlying the relationship between Dr. Phil McGraw and his wife, Robin — at least in their early days as a couple —was their shared experience of having a parent who suffered from alcoholism."We both say that we grew up in a home, in a life of uncertainty," Robin told People. "Because when you have an alcoholic parent who goes on binges, you never know what life is going to be like that day. It changed who we were." In fact, Robin explained, the fact that her husband declared himself to be a teetotaler when they met was a big selling point for her, given that she'd already decided that whoever she chose to wed, that marriage would be free of alcohol. "But it definitely defines who we are,"she added.

Removing that dynamic from the relationship has allowed the couple's marriage to grow into one in which both have come to implicitly trust and rely on each other without necessarily being dependent on each other. "Robin is a very successful woman,"Dr. Phil explained during an episode of "Dr. Phil.""She doesn't need me for a damn thing."

When his guest, controversial author Rollo Tomassi (aka "thegodfather of the manosphere"), interpreted that as meaning that Dr. Phil was "superfluous"to the relationship, the doc clarified by stating, "The fact that she doesn't have to have me to exist doesn't mean that I'm not essential to who she is."

Robin and Dr. Phil launched their own media company

When the announcement came down that the syndicated daytime show "Dr. Phil" was coming to an end after two decades on the air, another announcement followed, revealing that Dr. Phil McGraw and wife Robin were launching their own venture, Merit Street Media. Described as a standalone cable TV network, Deadline reported that the linchpin of the whole enterprise would be a new iteration of his talk show, "Dr. Phil Primetime,"set to air five nights a week. "American families and our core values are under attack,"he said in a statement to describe the new network's mission statement. "Together we are going to stand strong and fight for the very soul and sanity of America and get things that matter back on track."

Speaking in his "Phil in the Blanks"podcast, Dr. Phil shared similar sentiments when he shared his own personal vision for Merit Street Media. "This is a family-based network that's got core values that I hold near and dear, that I think you will hold near and dear, too."

While "Dr. Phil Primetime" finally premiered in April 2024, taping had actually started in January. At that time, Robin shared some photos on Facebook, in which she and her husband are once again side by side in front of the camera. "It feels so good to be back in the studio,"she wrote in the caption.

They responded to fake divorce rumors that were actually a scam

In 2019, Dr. Phil McGraw and his wife Robin publicly addressed prevalent rumors they were divorcing. "Not only are they completely untrue, we've been married for 43 years,"he declared duringa "Dr. Phil"episode.

In fact, they warned viewers that not only were those online stories a lie, but they were also a scam seeking to part them from their hard-earned cash. He then laid out how the scheme worked, showing an online headline blaring that they'd divorced, and that Robin had moved out due to her husband's infidelity, with a button advising curious readers to click on a tab leading to the story. When clicked, readers were taken to a fake story intended to look like it appeared on USA Today, claiming that Dr. Phil was leaving his talk show because Robin hadn't told CBS about her massively successful skincare line, because she was a direct competitor to L'Oreal, which was supposedly sponsoring "Dr. Phil." If fans continued to click through, they ultimately landed on a page selling Robin's skincare products — or so they thought, since the products featured there were not the ones that Robin was selling, but completely different merchandise.

"So listen, don't believe this stuff you're reading," Dr. Phil concluded. "And for God's sakes, tell people not to click on those stupid stories."

They sued the National Enquirer over a variety of bogus reports

Inside Dr. Phil's Relationship With His Wife, Robin - Nicki Swift (12)

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Fake news clickbait scams weren't the only source of rumors alleging strife in the marriage of Dr. Phil and Robin McGraw. For years, the National Enquirer had run such stories — a 2009 headline screamed, "Dr. Phil's Secret Divorce Deal,"for example. However, when an Enquirer story claimed Dr. Phil had physically and verbally abused Robin, thatled the couple to sue the tabloid's parent company, American Media Inc. (AMI), for a staggering $250 million. "Dr. and Mrs. McGraw, after enduring years of the National Enquirer, Star, and other American Media Inc. publications knowingly and recklessly printing outrageous lies about them, their marriage, their integrity, and their character, have finally concluded that enough is enough and too much is too much," the couple's lawyer, Lin Wood, said in a statement (viaUSA Today).

AMI, however, scoffed at the suit when issuing a scorched-earth statement of its own. "It's a delicious irony that Dr. Phil, whom a California judge has called a 'charlatan' and the Daily Beast has called a 'quack' whose 'unseemly mélange of exploitation, celebrity parasitism and credential mining goes back years' has filed a lawsuit against AMI and accused it of being a 'trashy tabloid,'" the statement read.

However, just a few months after launching the suit, BuzzFeed News reported that the McGraws had dropped it. A statement from AMI seemed to imply a satisfactory settlement had been reached, and that neither party would comment any further.

Why their marriage has stood the test of time

Inside Dr. Phil's Relationship With His Wife, Robin - Nicki Swift (13)

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In August 2023, Dr. Phil McGraw and Robin celebrated 47 years of matrimony. That's a long marriage by any standard, but particularly in Hollywood. Discussing the secret of their union's longevity, Robin told People that each had learned to prioritize the other above all else. "Alot of people say it is 50/50, but we both think it's 100/100,"she explained. "So, we both focus on the marriage — and we did our homework before we got married. We sat down and with both said what we needed from our marriage." They didn't just hear that information, they truly listened, and came to understand what behavior would please or displease their partner, and then acted to emphasize the former and eradicate the latter."We learned each other's needs and we focus on that still to this day,"she said.

Dr. Phil discussed his marriage during a 2023 episode of his talk show and revealed why he and Robin had never once discussed divorcing. "Because we made a decision real early on that no matter what we're discussing, no matter what argument we may be having, no matter what disagreement we're talking about, the relationship is never the stakes for which we're playing."

Inside Dr. Phil's Relationship With His Wife, Robin - Nicki Swift (2024)

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