After divorcing her first spouse, Annette Funicello became a single mother of three children. She wed a regular rancher who eventually became a housebound spouse. After Funicello was given a medical diagnosis shortly after their wedding, he took on her caregiver role. A few years before the illness claimed her life, he rescued her from their burning home.
Annette Funicello’s entire life was lived in the public eye. She attracted everyone’s notice because she was a teenage star. She attracted the attention of Hollywood film agent Jack Gilardi when she was 20 years old. They shortly got married and had three children together.
Funicello revealed that Jack gave her the same nickname as her father, Dolly. She believed this was a good thing for her immaturity. When they married, the star claimed she still felt like a teenager. Jack made all the choices due to her naivete, which she tolerated to prevent conflict.
Annette Funicello smiles while dancing with her husband, agent Jack Gilardi, at their wedding reception, 1965 | Source: Getty Images
After 17 years with Jack, the union grew oppressive. Anette ensured the children had a decent relationship with their father during the out-of-court divorce between the actress and the agent. She spent the next five years alone, though a few men she wouldn’t characterize as “eligible” would contact her.
The actress devoted her days to her kids during this period. Like any other mother, she participated in carpools and worked whenever she could look at St. Cyril’s, where she and her kids both matriculated.
Funicello claimed that going through a breakup also helped her become more assured. She never saw herself as a submissive person and enjoyed expressing her views and standing by them. Even though she continued to avoid conflict, the Disney star learned to express herself after she and Jack broke up.
Annette Funicello cuddles her newborn son, Jack, Jr., at St. Joseph’s Hospital. looking on is the proud father, Jack Gilardi, and their daughter, Gina, 4, 1970 | Source: Getty Images
Many of the men who phoned after her divorce was already married. Funicello recalled how shocked she was because she frequently interacted with the spouses of the men. However, Funicello had no intention of finding a new spouse. She said that she had always liked being by herself and now had the opportunity to establish herself independently.
Searching for love once more
After five years of being a single mother, Anette decided to go to the Hollywood Park Racecourse, where she used to keep her horse. She struck up a conversation with an old friend right there. Glen Holt, who had known Funicello since she was 18, also maintained horses there.
By her death, Funicello’s spouse was providing full-time care.
Funicello declared that she had no intention of marrying an actress. She and the landowner got married in 1986. Before marrying Funicello, Holt had been divorced and added four kids to the equation. Her family was large, with three children, and someone needed to watch the little ones.
Funicello loved spending time with his family and rarely went to the cinema. Instead, she looked after the children and assisted around the school. But Holt was always available if she required assistance. When they married, he was prepared for what lay ahead and cheerfully carried out his duties.
Funicello and Frankie Avalon began filming “Return to the Beach” in 1987. Holt took control at home during this period and looked after the children. Occasionally, he would even bring one of the kids to the set to greet their mother.
It was a little difficult for the actress because “Back to the Beach” was the first time she had to spend significant time away from her spouse. But with Holt’s assistance, everything proceeded smoothly, and she was free to work without concern for the home.
Annette Funicello poses for a portrait in 1994 in Los Angeles, California | Source: Getty Images
Funicello discovered she had difficulty moving around on the beach while shooting with Avalon. She felt unsteady on her feet and realized her equilibrium was off. The former Mouseketeer eventually visited a doctor. The reviews weren’t favorable.
A crippling prognosis
After Funicello and Holt wed, the performer received a multiple sclerosis diagnosis. It was difficult to live with this degenerative nerve disease. The married pair initially decided to remain silent. Only their close relatives and friends were aware.
Holt also revealed it to Avalon covertly. He wanted someone to watch over his wife while she worked because he was concerned about her. Additionally about to embark on a concert trip were Avalon and Funicello. Although Holt was there to assist, he could not do anything on stage. He recalled:
“I was afraid if she got too close to the edge of the stage, she might fall because she was becoming so unsteady on her feet.”
Annette Funicello and husband during Burbank Park Doll Fair at Burbank Park in Burbank, California, United States, 1996 | Source: Getty Images
For five years, the two withheld information about Funicello’s condition from the world. They kept it private as her health declined and she grew more unsteady on her feet. As soon as the media became aware of her, there were reports that she was intoxicated. Holt revealed:
“She knew then that it was time to go public with the diagnosis, and the story soon broke nationally in USA Today.”
The news stunned everyone, and Funicello was inundated with good wishes. But as her health deteriorated, a new tragedy occurred. A conflagration decimated their house in 2011. By this point, Funicello was largely useless and confined to a wheelchair. Her devoted spouse was the first to notice the fire and realized he had to rescue her.
Holt never abandoned her and was always there for her when she needed him. He didn’t even pause when he saw the flames. Although he was able to remove her safely, their 40-year-old house burned down.
The final years of Funicello
Funicello was fully cared for by her spouse after her death. She had her loving husband by her side and was surrounded by her numerous children and grandkids. Holt remained committed to her. Until the very end, he saw that her necessities were met.
In addition to looking after Funicello, Holt was in control of the Annette Funicello Research Fund for Neurological Diseases, a non-profit in her memory. The organization concentrated on funding neurological disease studies. As Holt said:
“It’s so important to Annette that we provide grants for institutions and doctors working on promising new ways to treat, and hopefully cure, these terrible illnesses.”
Annette Funicello and Glen Holt taking a stroll, 2012 | Source: www.youtube.com/c/Factsverse
Funicello died in 2013, leaving behind her spouse, kids, and grandkids. Holt read through medical studies on multiple sclerosis for the study found after she passed away.
She anticipated that by creating the fund, neurological disorders researchers would be able to discover a treatment for multiple sclerosis. Even though the disease had a toll on her, she never gave up and never lost her heart. She uttered:
“My equilibrium is no more; it’s just progressively getting worse. But I thank God I didn’t wake up one morning and could not walk.”
Glen Holt and Annette Funicello in an interview, 1998 | Source: www.youtube.com/c/entertainmenttonight
Holt joined his wife four years after Funicello died away. In 2018, he passed away in the company of his devoted family. He received appreciation from the Annette Funicello Research Foundation For Neurological Diseases for his many years of leadership.
Find More Articles 👇 👇 👇