Ted Danson was a ‘mess’ at the end of ‘Cheers,’ but it led to him reconnecting with wife Mary Steenburgen

Actor reunited with wife Mary Steenburgen while filming ‘Pontiac Moon’ after ‘Cheers’ ended in 1993

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Ted Danson speaks candidly about the end of his long-running sitcom Cheers — and how it led to his romance with wife Mary Steenburgen.

During a reunion with the show’s cast members at the ATX TV Festival in Austin, Texas on Friday, the panel discussed what led to the iconic sitcom’s end after 11 seasons.

After hinting it was partly Danson’s fault, the star reacted by saying, “In my defense, we’ve all been talking for a few years [about ending the series]’, before playfully admitting, ‘Okay, sorry. It was me.”

“My life was a hot mess back then, and if I hadn’t stopped and picked it up, I never would have met my wife,” he continued.

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Related: Ted Danson & Mary Steenburgen Relationship Timeline

Danson first met longtime love Steenburgen, 70, in 1983 when he auditioned to play his wife on Cross the creek. However, it was only after Cheers ended in 1993, and he starred with her in the 1993 film Pontiac Moon, that their relationship took off.

“I wasn’t ready for anything like a relationship. We just kept working together and becoming best friends,” Steenburgen recalled to PEOPLE in 2021.

Their friendship took a romantic turn after Danson invited Steenburgen on a canoe trip with friends in Mendocino, California. “It was very magical,” he said. “We came back in love, to be honest, or I would say smitten.”

The couple married in Martha’s Vineyard, Massachusetts, a year later, and they have since starred in several projects together, including Calm your enthusiasm And It must be Love.

Related: Ted Danson Says He’s Still Laughing at ‘Cheers’ 40 Years Later: "It’s great to see my friends"

Despite Cheers ending when he did, Danson said entertainment tonight that he only has good memories when he watches episodes.

“It always makes me laugh when I watch sometimes. It’s funny and it’s great to see my friends and they make me laugh,” he explained.

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Speaking about playing the character of Sam from 1982 to 1993, Danson continued, “I was so blessed. I was brought into this business with [Cheers creators] Jimmy Burrows and [Les Charles] and Glen Charles, who are like half-hour aristocrats. I mean they were some of the best in the business and that’s how I got introduced to the half hour [television].”

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