Jim Nabors is officially a married man at the age of 82. The "Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C." actor tied the knot with Stan Cadwallader, a 64-year-old ex-firefighter, in a private ceremony before a judge on January 15 at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle, just a few weeks after gay marriage was legalized in Washington state.
Nabors, who met Cadwallader in 1975 in Honolulu and now lives with him in Hawaii, told local news outlet that they "had no rights as a couple" prior to marriage. "[Y]et when you've been together 38 years, I think something's got to happen there, you've got to solidify something," he said. "And at my age, it's probably the best thing to do."
He never addressed his sexuality before because he never wanted to make a "public spectacle of it." "I've known since I was a child, so, come on. It's not that kind of a thing. I've never made a huge secret of it at all... My friend and I, my partner, we went through all of this 38 years ago. So I mean, we made our vows and that was it. It was to each other, but nevertheless, we were a couple," he explained.
He also kept his marriage secret because he thought it was a private affair which was not meant as a public statement in a national debate over same-sex marriage. "I am not an activist, particularly. But I think every single human being has the right to choose the person they want to spend their life with. That's not even an argument, it's just a God-given right," he reasoned to Reuters.
He called his wedding "very touching." When asked if he felt different after getting married, he laughed, "Oh please, nothing's changed. Most of the things you promise, we got through that 38 years ago," before elaborating, "I was just trying to solidify all of our years together. When you find a good friend in this life, you hang on to him."