John Ritter’s widow still can’t date 19 years after an illness suddenly killed her love in one day

John Ritter has a special place in millions of hearts around the world. The actor played some iconic roles that people still hold dear to their hearts.

But there are two particular people who constantly think of the actor. One is his son Jason Ritten, and the other his widowed wife, Amy Yasbeck.


Amy Yasbeck is a familiar face to many of us. She is an actress too and actually met John while both of them were working on a project. The couple was doing a table read for the movie Problem Child at the house of director Dennis Dugan.

They connected really well over their shared interests and career choice, and 9 years later tied the knot in September 1999.

“John and I bonded over comedy, where we’d watch old comedies. He would do moves and he would teach me how to trip or take a fake punch or spit take. I was learning that kind of stuff, physical comedy from the master, which John was,” the actress recently recalled in an interview.

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It has been 19 years since her husband’s death but she has not dated in the long time since his passing. “I miss John as a partner,” the 60-year-old widow shared. She went on to add, “I don’t date,” Yasbeck says. “I mean, it could happen. I’m not in the mood. I think I would miss John more if I was dating, as weird as that sounds. But because I always feel like he’s with me, and that would be weird because in that case, three is not company.”

The couple had a loving and fulfilling marriage to one another. They expected they would grow old together. But on September 11, 2003, her life changed forever when she got the devastating news of her husband’s death.

Her husband was on the set of his show 8 Simple Rules when he started to feel unwell. He was rushed to the nearby Burbank hospital, where doctors suspected him of having a heart attack and treated him accordingly. But unfortunately the actor passed away, and it was later revealed that he had died because of an undetected aortic dissection.


The condition causes a tear in the inner layer of the aorta. Blood goes and rushes through the tear which causes the inner and middler layers of the aorta to split as well. This further leads to blood going outside of the aortic wall, which is what happened to John Ritter, in which case it can result in death. He was 54 years old at the time of his death.

The couple met because of an acting job and had worked together throughout their careers. They appeared together on the The Cosby Show, Problem Child 2 in an episode of Yasbeck’s hit show Wings. She lovingly recalls how her husband left his mark on that show as well.


“He was an excellent person to have on a set and when anybody who’s an actor, including me, says, ‘Hey, you remind me of John Ritter, how you talk to that camera person or how you’re relating with the guest stars,’ that is the highest compliment,” Yasbeck said. “The set was a place where John was first, second, third, didn’t matter on the call sheet. It was a whole kind of shine to the whole thing.”

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She remembers her husband in the most glowing of terms. She said, “Whether there was an audience there or not, he just didn’t turn it on when the audience was there. You were entertained all day long and your ego was fed in an appropriate way,” she continues. “He loved show business. He was almost like a conductor that was also being the symphony. I don’t know how he did it, but it was amazing.”

Since her husband’s death, the actress has turned her heartache into something that can help others and keep his memory alive. She set up the “I have been dedicated heart and soul and mostly aorta, to creating the John Ritter Foundation for Aortic Health to help raise awareness about the condition and make sure another family does not go through what she did. She says, “It takes up a great deal of time, but it needed to happen and it has already had some beautiful results in just the awareness that’s brought to aortic dissection and aortic health in general.”

She also used John’s example to make his family more aware and essentially helped save lives. She shared a personal incident with her brother-in-law, she said, “our family doesn’t know what the Ritter genetic anomaly is to look for, but we know there is one because John’s brother, Tom, actually had an aneurysm a couple years after John passed away that was found. Then his aortic arch was completely repaired, replaced, as a matter of fact, because we knew to look for that.”


She added that the family routinely gets tested and are making sure to prevent another tragedy like the one that befell her and John. “All of the family gets scanned, all the first-degree relatives, and it’s never going to sneak up on us. It’s something repairable and preventable,” adding, “But if you don’t know that your family’s at risk or if you’re not aware of aortic dissection at all, it can come out of the blue and you can learn the hard way, like we did when John was misdiagnosed.”

While the actress is still not going to date anyone else after losing her beloved husband, she is ready for another kind of commitment; one to her career.

She said, “I think I’m ready to get my ducks back in a row. Get some age appropriate headshots and get going. I love it so much. My favorite thing about acting is the little families that you make. I love having a call sheet and I love the community. Work on here, you work on there and then you go home to your real family [and] then you’ve got your work family. I like that.”

We send all our love and support to dear Amy Yasbeck as she continues to remember her husband and honor his memory in such a special way.

Share this article with your friends and family so they can know how John Ritter’s widow chooses to remember the late actor and still remains his even after almost two decades!