Marilyn McCoo and Billy Davis Jr. achieved international fame with The Fifth Dimension, one of the biggest pop/rock groups of the late '60s. Now co-authors of the book Up, Up, and Away: How We Found Love, Faith, and Lasting Marriage in the Entertainment World (Northfield), they share the peaks and valleys of their 35-year marriage. Here's what they had to say about their faith, surviving prostate cancer, and the best thing about being together.
What attracted you to each other?
Marilyn: Well, there was that pair of blue plaid pants. And Billy had a wonderful way of moving on stage.
Billy: You know how entertainers are—always trying to create excitement in the audience. I didn't realize I was creating it within the group!
Who knew plaid pants could have such an effect?
Marilyn: But seriously, we started out as good friends. I used to drive Billy to rehearsal, and we'd talk a lot. I saw that he felt deeply about people and life. That sensitivity made me see him as more than a friend.
Billy: We were best buddies. Then all of a sudden, an arrow hit my heart.
What's been the toughest time in your marriage?
Marilyn: Billy was diagnosed with prostate cancer a few years ago. I was terrified because I'd lost two uncles to prostate cancer. I wanted to be strong for Billy. But I kept thinking, Am I going to lose him too?
Billy: It was a shock, because my physician discovered it during a routine check up. When the biopsy came back as cancer, I was devastated.
How did you support each other?
Billy: I tried not to freak out. My being calm helped Marilyn stay calm.
Marilyn: I went to all of Billy's medical appointments with questions written down. And I helped him research treatment options. We'd go on the computer and to the library together. I wanted him to have the information to make the right decision.
How was your faith during this time?
Marilyn: We prayed together, asking God to guide us. I'd pray, "Reveal your will to Billy, and then confirm it in me. Just let us know what you want us to do."
Billy: I felt the Holy Spirit leading me to have surgery to remove the cancer. And praise God there were no complications. I healed well.
What's the best thing about being married?
Billy: Getting to see each other every day.
Marilyn: We enjoy each other's company, each other's humor.
I always say, make sure you like the person you're in love with, because when you fall in love, you're not always the best judge. And when the first heat of passion is gone, you'd better enjoy being with that person. And we do.
Copyright © 2005 by the author or Christianity Today/Marriage Partnership magazine.
Click here for reprint information on Marriage Partnership.