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Bachelor-in-Chief: The Star-Studded Dating History of Jerry Brown

Who hasn’t he dated?

From left: Linda Ronstadt, Liv Ullmann, and Arianna Huffington.


Editor’s Note: This is part of a feature about the legacy of Jerry Brown. Read it here. Read more from the October 2018 Legacy Issue here

“I don’t think of Jerry as dating one specific person,” then–San Francisco supervisor Angela Alioto told the Washington Post in 1992 when she—an on-again, off-again dinner date of his—was asked about Brown’s relationship with now-wife Anne Gust. Indeed, Brown has been linked to a number of notable companions over the years. Among them:

Linda Ronstadt
The governor’s most high-profile relationship was with the pop star, whom he met in 1971 at a Mexican restaurant in Los Angeles. At a benefit concert for his presidential bid in 1979, Ronstadt, a longtime San Francisco resident, called Brown up to the stage and sang “My Boyfriend’s Back.” The couple also took a much-buzzed-about trip to Africa that year, fueling speculation of a proposal. But Ronstadt’s mother told Newsweek, “I know she would not like being a political wife,” and the two seem to have split for good sometime around 1983.

Photo: Courtesy of Jerry Brown

Natalie Wood
The Petaluma-raised West Side Story actress dated Brown for a few months in the early ’70s, shortly before Wood remarried Robert Wagner. In the biography Natalie Wood: A Life, Wood describes Brown’s, um, equipment as being “like a wand.”

Arianna Huffington
While she was working on a 1976 profile of Brown for People mutual friends tried to set the journalist up with him. Huffington seems not to have been taken by the governor, however, writing, “Brown often seems uncomfortable around women. Female reporters who interview him comment on his skittishness. One who knows him well and likes him says, ‘There is just nothing sensual about him. I can imagine him screwing a woman, but I can’t imagine him making love.’”

Candice Bergen
When pressed about his relationship in the early ’70s with the Murphy Brown actress, Brown was typically hostile: “I’m sure all these personal tidbits would be amusing to the public, but I can’t subscribe to the fashionable notion that this has anything to do with the job that has to be done.”

Liv Ullmann
Speaking about his son’s love life to New York in 1976, former governor Pat Brown spilled the beans about Jerry Brown’s relationship with the Norwegian actress and frequent Ingmar Bergman collaborator: “Does he like women? He has brought many to our home. Let’s see... There’s Liv Ullmann and...there’s many others whose names I can’t remember.”

Barbra Streisand
Bloomberg Businessweek once reported that the two had dated. And if you can’t trust Bloomberg for celebrity gossip, what can you trust?

Anne Gust
Introduced to the Gap executive in 1990, Brown tied the knot with Gust in a 2005 ceremony in Oakland officiated by Senator Dianne Feinstein. Stewart Brand told the Chronicle, “He’s a good Catholic boy who’s read the Confessions of St. Augustine. He knows that you get to play for a long time, and then you bear down. He did play for longer than most.”

Originally published in the October issue of
San Francisco

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