The stars married in 1968 but separated in 1973 before Derek revealed his affair with Bo Derek. They were divorced in 1974.
It had been several years since Evans’ last major TV show, “The Big Valley,” ended in 1969. And Evans was ready for a fresh start.
“John and I broke up nine years after we met – he fell in love with Bo,” the 78-year-old told People magazine in this week’s issue.
“And then I called my agent and said, ‘I want to work again,’ and he said, ‘You’ve been away for so long. How are we going to pull this off? Everyone’s forgotten about you,’” she recalled.
American actor John Derek (1926 – 1998) and his third wife, American actress Linda Evans, attend a Sonny and Cher opening at Century Plaza Hotel, Los Angeles, California, circa 1972. Derek and Evans were married from 1968-74. (Photo by Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images)
“I said, ‘I don’t know, but I just got to do it,’” said Evans.
Evans, who first met Derek on “The Big Valley,” admitted that their breakup was “totally” devastating.
“I thought, ‘Oh, my God. I think I should die rather than have to go through this,’” she said. “I mean, he was… it was just perfection that I was in love with him, that I told my sister when I was a teenager, I would marry him and then I did. I thought, ‘This is [a] God-given gift here, right? It’s not supposed to go away like that. What is this? My dream is not supposed to end like this.’”
“It was horrible,” she continued. “It was one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced. [But] sometimes when the worst things happen to you in your life, it’s actually the best thing that ever happened to you in your life and that has been the truth my entire life. If I had stayed married to John, who didn’t want me to work, I could never have done ‘Dynasty.’ I would never have known all the magic that followed that show or that experience, which to me is just like, one of the most beautiful things anyone could ever hope to experience in a lifetime.”
Linda Evans (left) and Joan Collins filming the ‘Dynasty’ episode titled ‘The Threat,’ circa 1983. (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)
But before Evans starred in the iconic ‘80s soap opera, she said “I do” once more to real estate broker Stan Herman. That marriage lasted from 1975 until 1979.
“The greatest revenge is happiness,” she explained. “My life turned around. I married his handsome playboy, who, my God, said he waited all his life for someone like me and he was going to be faithful now. And he wasn’t, and hey, that’s OK too. That’s life. I found myself going, ‘OK then, here you go again. You’re almost 30. You’ve been married twice. You’re going to turn into Elizabeth Taylor. You’re going to just get married and married and married. You better just stop this thing of ‘the man’s going to be my dream,’ and go for another dream.’”
“So I called up my agent, and I said, ‘OK, now I want a career,’” she added.
Linda Evans starred as Krystle Carrington in ‘Dynasty’ from 1981 until 1989. (Photo by Walt Disney Television via Getty Images Photo Archives/Walt Disney Television via Getty Images)
After “Dynasty” came to an end, Evans eventually took a break from Hollywood and moved to rural Washington state. According to the outlet, Evans has recently kept busy shooting “Swan Song” in Ohio – her first movie in decades. The film is now playing in theaters and on demand.
“It’s so outrageous, but as I always love to say, ‘Anything is possible,’” she told the outlet.
As for Derek, he married Bo in 1974 after she turned 18. They remained together until his death in 1998 at age 71 from cardiovascular disease.
During a recent appearance on “The Talk,” Bo’s longtime love John Corbett announced they tied the knot “around Christmastime” after 20 years together.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.