Valerie Harper’s husband Tony Cacciotti says star’s health battle has ‘deepened’ their marriage

Valerie Harper’s husband Tony Cacciotti is determined to be by his wife’s side no matter what.

“Our marriage has deepened,” he told Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue. “We have an extraordinarily strong friendship [and] that’s the foundation of our union.”


Deanna B., a close family friend, also told the outlet the actress is “frail,” but has been in “good spirits,” thanks to the support of her family.

Mary Tyler Moore and Valerie Harper on the set of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show."

Mary Tyler Moore and Valerie Harper on the set of "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." (Getty Images)

Cacciotti revealed on Tuesday that doctors have recommended he put the “Mary Tyler Moore Show” star – who has been battling cancer – in hospice care.

“I have been told by doctors to put Val in Hospice care and I can’t [because of our 40 years of shared commitment to each other] and I won’t because of the amazing good deeds she has graced us with while she’s been here on earth,” he wrote on Facebook.

“We will continue going forward as long as the powers above allow us, I will do my very best in making Val as comfortable as possible,” he continued. “There are two special ANGELS on this planet masquerading as humans who live and work together, that has made it possible to have all of Val’s needs taken care of.”


Valerie Harper on Jan. 8, 2012, at a tribute to Betty White in Los Angeles.

Valerie Harper on Jan. 8, 2012, at a tribute to Betty White in Los Angeles. (Reuters)

Cacciotti, who has been married to Harper since 1987, went on to say: "For those of you who have been in this position, you will totally understand that 'it’s hard letting go.' So as long as I’m able and capable, I’ll be where I belong right beside her."

"Many, many thanks for your outpouring of kindness and support. Tony," he concluded.

Deanna also wrote a note thanking fans for their "love and support," adding that she will continue to post updates on the star's Facebook page.

The 79-year-old actress, who beat lung cancer in 2009, was diagnosed with a form of brain cancer called leptomeningeal carcinomatosis in 2013. The disease is incurable and she was told at the time she would only have months to live. However, thanks to the medical care she’s been given, the star is still fighting. Unfortunately, the fight comes at a great financial cost.


Last week, Harper’s family set up a GoFundMe page to help pay for the rising cost of her battle with the disease. According to People magazine, Cacciotti and Deanna created the page in order to help fund the costs that aren’t covered by insurance.

Harper is best known for playing Rhoda Morgenstern on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show” in the 1970s. Her fan-beloved character earned her own spinoff, “Rhoda” from 1974 to 1978. She would later star in the 1980s sitcom “Valerie” (later titled “Valerie’s Family” and “The Hogan Family”). In addition, she appeared in more than a dozen feature films and won four Emmy Awards.

Back in 2017, Harper told Fox News she’s grateful to have someone like Cacciotti by her side as she fights her illness.

“[This is about] facing a disease that really doesn’t have a good diagnosis,” said Harper at the time. “I happen to have a fabulous caregiver who is my husband, Tony Cacciotti. He’s been taking care of everything. Everything in my life. It’s just the most wonderful thing."


"In fact, my husband doesn’t let me go anywhere alone. He drives me everywhere. He’s incredible," she said.

Valerie Harper is seen in this 1994 file photo.

Valerie Harper is seen in this 1994 file photo. (AP)

Harper can still vividly recall that moment when she received the shocking diagnosis.

"[The doctor] said, ‘You know, I hate to tell you this, but this disease that you now have — it’s not the brain. It’s the lining of the brain,’” explained Harper. “‘This is very difficult. There’s no cure. We don’t have a pill. We don’t have anything that works really well. We can’t get the medication to hit what you need to hit.’”

At the time, People magazine reported Harper was undergoing chemotherapy to slow down the disease’s progression. She credited a loving support system, along with Cedar-Sinai Medical Center, and even trying acupuncture, with helping her enjoy life. Harper was also eager about immunotherapy, which boosts the body’s natural defenses to fight cancer.


“People are saying, ‘She’s on her way to death and quickly,’” said Harper. “Now it’s five years instead of three months… And the thing is, everyone is going to die in one way or another. So why don’t you fight it? I’m going to fight this. I’m going to see a way.”

Looking back at her career, Harper stressed she had zero regrets pursuing her dream.

“I’ve had a wonderful career,” she stressed. “I got to be an actress. I was a dancer. And then I grew into this area of acting that was just so wonderful.”

Fox News’ Mariah Haas and Tyler McCarthy contributed to this report.