A Half-Century After Getting Divorced, This Couple Is Heading Back Down The Aisle Love came full circle for Lillian Barnes and Harold Holland, who divorced in 1968 but are getting remarried this year.

A Half-Century After Getting Divorced, This Couple Is Heading Back Down The Aisle

  • Download
  • <iframe src="https://www.npr.org/player/embed/600176308/600482908" width="100%" height="290" frameborder="0" scrolling="no" title="NPR embedded audio player">
  • Transcript


Lillian Barnes and Harold Holland got married in 1955. They had five kids together, but after a dozen years, they divorced. Both Barnes and Holland remarried and spent decades apart. After both their spouses passed away in 2015, they found their way back into each other's lives.

HAROLD HOLLAND: I'm 83 and she's 79, so we decided we want to walk the last mile together.

DETROW: This coming week, they're doing it all again and getting remarried. We reached them yesterday in Lexington, Ky., and asked how they rekindled their love.

HOLLAND: We got to talking and went to a graduation dinner, and then a Christmas dinner. And one thing led to another, and I said, well, would you like to try this again? And we said, yeah. Let's do it. And the old flame was still there.

DETROW: Yeah. I'm thinking about this because I just got married a couple years ago, and my wife and I are expecting our first kid in just a matter of weeks. And I'm thinking it must be nice to get married, but to have all the family that resulted from your marriage be there and see that wedding in person with you.

HOLLAND: Oh, it's going to be a bunch of them. We had five kids during that first marriage, and then she had two more kids by her second marriage. So there's going to be about 20-some grandkids and about 30-some great-grandkids.

DETROW: You're about to be newlyweds. Is there any advice that you would give to the first time you two were newlyweds - going back to the first time you tried this?

LILLIAN BARNES: You pay attention to your spouse.


BARNES: That's it.

HOLLAND: And don't be a workaholic.

BARNES: You got that baby on the way, and just don't forget your spouse - either one of you. Go out on a date. Go to a movie or whatever.

DETROW: Harold, can you tell us one thing you really love about Lillian?

HOLLAND: Well, I've loved her ever since she was 16 years old. She was one of the most beautiful girls that is in our part of the world. And this divorce - I've told everybody - is 100 percent my fault. She did nothing. She's always been a great person and a great mother. And her five kids are as good as you'll find anywhere. I don't think you could ask for anything better.

DETROW: Lillian, what about you? What's one thing you love about Harold?

BARNES: Well, his caring - the way he shows his love to everybody. And he's got a good sense of humor. I don't know how he's going to put up with me, but (laughter) we'll find a way.

HOLLAND: We'll get along.

BARNES: Yeah, we do get along real good. And we're older now, and you live and learn. Live and learn.

DETROW: Well, Harold Holland and Lillian Barnes divorced in 1968, but they're getting remarried in 2018. Congratulations to both of you, and thanks so much for taking a few minutes to talk to us.

HOLLAND: Take care.

BARNES: Take care.

Copyright © 2018 NPR. All rights reserved. Visit our website terms of use and permissions pages at www.npr.org for further information.

NPR transcripts are created on a rush deadline by an NPR contractor. This text may not be in its final form and may be updated or revised in the future. Accuracy and availability may vary. The authoritative record of NPR’s programming is the audio record.