Jon Peters Said Barbra Streisand Was "Probably" the Love of His Life

The hairdresser and the multi-hyphenate dated for about a decade.

Barbara Streisand, Jon Peters
Barbara Streisand, Jon Peters. Photo: Tom Wargacki/WireImage

Who: Hairdresser-turned-movie producer Jon Peters, 76, and EGOT-winning actress, singer, director, and producer Barbra Streisand, 79.

How They Met: According to Peters and Streisand's account in a 1976 interview with Barbara Walters, Peters told some people who were working with Streisand that he wanted to cut the star's hair — noting that he "would go anyplace at any time, for free." Streisand jokingly interjected, "all he had to say was 'for free.'"

Meanwhile, Streisand was looking for a specific hairstyle to wear in her film For Pete's Sake (1974), and spotted a woman at a party whose hair mirrored the cut she coveted. The woman gave her the name of her hairdresser: Peters.

Calls were made and the hairdresser and his new prospective client agreed on a time to meet. Streisand arrived an hour late.

TBT: Barbra Streisand and Jon Peters
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Streisand showed up just as Peters was "getting angry enough to leave." But when she arrived, he was struck by the star's presence, and, uh, "taken aback by her ass" …

Streisand described their story as "cosmic."

The unlikely duo soon became not only lovers, but collaborators, with the two serving as producers on the 1976 remake of A Star Is Born (which Streisand also starred in).

"Certainly part of the relationship with someone like Barbra has to be creative in some sense," Peters told Vanity Fair in 1991. "That's just part of the synergy that goes on between any two people who fall in love — common interests are going to be shared. But let's not forget what a sexy woman she is." Oh, here he goes … "The first time I walked into her house it was magic. Not only had I never seen such exquisite taste, but I was knocked out by her as a person. One of the first things she said to me was, 'See those gates out there? Do they scare you?' I said, 'No. I want a pair of my own.' Then she walked up the stairs in front of me and I remember thinking, 'What a cute little round butt.'"

TBT: Barbra Streisand and Jon Peters
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Peters's fixation with his girlfriend's butt was pervasive, and reportedly even seeped into A Star Is Born's screenplay. In the film, Kris Kristofferson's character tells Streisand's that she has a "great ass" when they first meet — according to Peters and Jon Gruber biography Hit and Run, the hairdresser told Streisand the same thing.

Why We Loved Them: No one thought they would last (and, well, they didn't), but it was refreshing to see one of the world's biggest stars nesting in a ranch house (that Walters described in the aforementioned segment as "very small") with a hairdresser and self-professed "hustler."

When Walters asked the couple if they thought they'd be together in 40 years, Peters said yes, because "nobody else would have us."

In a separate interview with Walters in 1975, Streisand said that she and Peters were "two people who are equals," describing him as the "strongest person I've ever met."

"I don't mean physically," she clarified, "I mean in his presence, in his sense of self, in his perceptions of other people, of other things, in his sensitivity, in his vitality, in his unconventional conventionalness [sic], like me."

TBT: Barbra Streisand and Jon Peters
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Peters credited Streisand with his knowledge of "real women," and, uh, equality?

"My youth was about getting laid and big tits and all those physical attributes of women," he told Life in 1983. Well, it doesn't sound like he evolved too much on that front. "I learned about real women from Barbra," he went on. "I learned about power. And equality. When we first met I thought men should get their way ninety percent of the time and women ten percent. Then, when we began living together, it began to change. Eighty-twenty. Seventy-thirty. It was like a sliding scale. Fifty-fifty. When she went to do Yentl it got to be ninety-ten the other way." How progressive.

When They Peaked: As Streisand told Walters in '75, she and Peters were similar (perhaps too much so). They could barely get through a story in the '76 segment, both personalities desperate to guide the narrative, cutting each other off in a manner that prompted Walters to comment, "I don't think you two are ever going to make it."In '83, Streisand told People that she and Peters built 5 different homes on their ranch, each of a different style. "We each built our own," she said, "because we fought too much when we built our first one together."

TBT: Barbra Streisand and Jon Peters
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But their mutual stubbornness reached its true pinnacle in 1978, when Streisand set out to convince Peters that Yentl (the story of a young girl who disguises herself as a boy in order to pursue study at a yeshiva) could work as a film.

Peters returned home late one night to find Streisand "with a pipe and a hat" and was convinced "it was a guy robbing the house." She'd rented a boy's yeshiva student's costume for the occasion. He stopped doubting her vision after that.

The Breakup: Peters and Streisand's romantic relationship shifted when the latter began work on her directorial debut, Yentl (1983).

"When I left for Europe we weren't formally separated," Streisand told Life. "But we were. I had to make the choice."

TBT: Barbra Streisand and Jon Peters
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"By the time we had been together for eight years," she told People, "our relationship had reached a turning point. We were butting horns because I was passionately involved in Yentl, and neglecting him. We had also been too dependent on each other. And you come to resent dependency. We needed to be apart."

In this same 1983 interview, Streisand conceded that she and Peters were better as friends.

"We're not living together, but we're better friends than we ever were," she told the magazine. "We're much less competitive, more respectful. We've realized that we're both powerful people. I can't control him, he can't control me. We'd been taking each other for granted, the way people do when they live together for a long time. We don't do that anymore. What I want is a relationship between equals."

TBT: Barbra Streisand and Jon Peters
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The 40-year mark that Peters and Streisand discussed in their 1976 sit-down with Walters came and went, and while they weren't together, Peters maintained as recently as 2017 that Streisand was "probably" the love of his life.

"She was the most captivating, interesting, creative person I have ever met," he told The Hollywood Reporter. "I will always owe her for giving me the life that I've had."

According to Peters, they remained friends through the decades, though as of the article's press time he hadn't told the famously liberal Streisand something of a friendship dealbreaker: he'd voted for Donald Trump in the previous year's election. "She would not talk to me if she knew," he said.

TBT: Barbra Streisand and Jon Peters
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Where They Are Now:

Peters, who'd been married and divorced twice by the time he took up with Streisand, went on to marry (and divorce) another three times. He wed Christine Forsyth-Peters in 1987, with whom he welcomed daughters Caleigh, 33, and Skye, 32. After splitting from Forsyth, he married Mindy Peters in 2001 and welcomed another two children: Kendyl and Jordan. His most recent marriage was the briefest of the five — he and Pamela Anderson wed in early 2020 and split 12 days later. It was later reported that the two hadn't legally married at all, with Anderson describing the ordeal as a "bizarre theatrical lunch."

Peters is credited as a producer on Bradley Cooper's 2018 A Star Is Born, but following resurfaced reports of sexual harassment against Peters, Cooper has said he "would have done it differently" had he known.

In an ironic twist, Cooper went on to play a rendering of Peters in Paul Thomas Anderson's Licorice Pizza (2021).

Streisand married her second husband, actor James Brolin, in 1998. The couple celebrated their 23rd anniversary this past summer.

The renowned performer launched compilation album Release Me 2 in August.

#TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.

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