Don Johnson Sacrificed Womanizing & Luxury Life to Marry Teacher — At 74, He Speaks about Their Family

  • Don Johnson from the hit show “Miami Vice” had a tough childhood.
  • The actor escaped home when he was 16 and put himself through college.
  • He turned to drugs, alcohol, and money to fill a void of unhappiness until he met his wife, Kelly Phleger.

Don Johnson is an award-winning actor known for his role in the famous cop series “Miami Vice.” He is a self-made success who had to endure multiple hurdles to find happiness. Starting with his childhood, Johnson said it was horrible. His father, Wayne Johnson, was only 19, and his mother, Nell, was 17 when he was born.

Don Johnson in Florida, in 1986 | Source: Getty Images

He grew up poor and around abuse. By the time he was 12, his parents had divorced, and at 16, Johnson was so unhappy that he decided to leave home.

Johnson roamed the streets alone and had to put himself through high school. But despite his lonesome life, he managed to make a success out of himself.

Don Johnson in New York in 1985 | Source: Getty Images

However, after amassing fame and all the luxuries he could possess, Johnson still felt something missing in his life—happiness. He also discovered that he was never able to let go of the fear his parents instilled in him through their “corporal punishments.”

Therefore, Johnson resorted to alcohol, drugs, and women. He might have thought that 20 cars, boats, and a ranch in Aspen, Colorado, were all he longed for, but he admitted, “I was intensely unhappy.”

As much as Johnson admitted that he developed an alcohol problem, he never drank at work, but as soon as he wrapped his day, he would drink to the point of no return.

Don Johnson on “Miami Vice,” in 2006 | Source: Getty Images

The actor went through multiple marriages, with some that only lasted days. He married Melanie Griffith twice and had romances with Cybill Shepard, Barbara Streisand, and Patti D’Arbanville. This is not including the countless flings and one-night stands. He welcomed his daughter Dakota Johnson with Griffith and a son, Jesse, with D’Arbanville.

Falling in Love with a Teacher

Luckily for Johnson, he met someone who would inspire him to improve his life and fill his void of unhappiness. The actor was at the city mayor Willie Brown’s birthday party when he crossed eyes with Kelly Phleger. He described her as “a woman of substance” he had to get to know.

Kelley Phleger and Don Johnson in California in 2001 | Source: Getty Images

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