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Who Is Don Johnson’s Wife, Kelley Phleger? Some Interesting Facts

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  • Post last modified:October 5, 2021
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Kelley Phleger is the wife of Don Johnson (fully Donnie Wayne Johnson). Her husband is the famous face behind the iconic role, James “Sonny” Crocket in the 1980s television series Miami Vice. Phleger has been married to Johnson since 1999. Together, they have three children.

People know all that the stories and news could tell about the former ‘80s icon, TV megastar, and ladies man, Johnson. As of the present, he is clearly far away from his party boy and hedonistic lifestyle. He seems to be enjoying a blissful married life with his partner Kelley.

The seemingly happy-ever-after couple is set to celebrate their 23rd anniversary. And their journey deserves a story of its own. But let’s dive into that mainly through Johnson’s fifth wife, Kelley Phleger.

Kelly Phleger’s Early Life 

Kelley Phleger (birth name, Mary Kelley Phleger), was born under the star sign cancer on June 22, 1969. The 1986 Cotillion debutante is the daughter of Jean Phleger and the late lawyer and Wells Fargo board member Atherton Macondray Phleger.

Kelley Phleger UC Berkeley
Kelley Phleger is a former student at UC Berkeley. Source: Getty

Her late grandfather, Herman Phleger, founded the law firm Brobeck, Phleger, and Harrison. He was a prosecutor at the Nuremberg trials and a U.S. delegate to the United Nations. The future partner of Donnie attended Urban High School and graduated from UC Berkeley with a fine arts degree.

Kelley Phleger And Don Johnson Married Life

The TV and movie star married Phleger in San Fransisco in 1999. As mentioned they are the biological parents to three children, Grace (born, December 28, 1999), Jasper (b.June 6, 2002), and Deacon (April 29, 2006). Born July 22, 1966, Kelley is a socialite and a Montessori schoolteacher.

Kelley Phleger and Dakota Johnson have three children
Kelley Phleger and Don Johnson have three children. Kelley is also the stepmother to Dakota Johnson. Source: Getty

They married on April 29, 1999, at the Pacific Heights mansion of Gordon and Ann Getty. in San Francisco.

Wedding Detail

The private, 15-minute civil ceremony took place on Thursday night. It was conducted by then-Mayor Willie Brown with actor Robert Wagner serving as best man. The maid of honor was Phleger’s sister Cameron Phleger while Johnson’s 9-year-old daughter, Dakota, served as the bridesmaid.

Johnson’s publicist, Elliot Mintz, who attended the nuptials, described it as nondenominational and traditional as it didn’t entertain poems and written vows. About 80 guests attended, including Kevin Costner and Johnson’s Nash Bridges co-star, Cheech Marin.

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It was Johnson’s fifth time standing at the altar. He had twice married and divorced actress Melanie Griffith. Before this, he had annulled two marriages. It, however, was Phleger’s first.

The bride donned a Galliano couture wedding dress purchased in Paris with no veil. After the ceremony, Phleger sported a cream-colored Chanel couture dress with her hair up. Allegedly they celebrated their honeymoon in the South Pacific.

The Missouri-born actor describes his relationship with Kelley as some kind of a spell that would break if someone snaps their fingers.

Where Did Kelley Johnson Meet Her Husband?

Phleger met her would be a longtime partner in the late ‘90s. Johnson then was playing his other career-defining title role of San Francisco cop on Nash Bridges. They first encounter each other through “Beach Blanket Babylon” producer Jo Schuman Silver at a birthday party that Stanlee Gatti gave for Mayor Willie Brown in 1996.

Kelley Phleger married Don Johnson
Kelley Phleger married Don Johnson in August 1999. Source: Getty

Recalling the incident, Donnie said he made it his business to meet Kelley after seeing her statuesque brunette persona. He added that she was “clearly a woman of substance.”

They got engaged a year before their marriage during a vacation trip to Aspen, Colorado with a 5-1/4-carat, square-cut sparkler. The ring was a square-cut center stone with two emerald-cut diamonds on the side, set in platinum. They had reportedly started their romance sharing a holiday in Mexico.

Before Don, Kelley Was Dating A Governor

At that time Kelley was exclusively dating then-California Governor Gavin Newsom. Their fling lasted for about 4 1/2-year.  Apparently, Gavin and Kelley were so serious that they had even bought a house together in late 1997, but a couple months later they broke up.

It was the guy who first thought of ending things. The politician told Kelley he needed more space, so she sent him out to pasture. Gavin was then getting busy with his re-election campaign.

Her Husband Battled Through Drug Addiction    

The Hollywood Walk of Fame star was among those who turned to the bad side of fame succumbing to substance abuse. Johnson admits he had yielded to some poor choices owing to Hollywood’s hard to escape drugs, alcohol, and party.

Kelley Johnson husband Don Johnson
Kelley Phleger’s husband, Don Johnson struggled with substance abuse. Source: Instagram

In 2017, with Daily Mail, the Golden Globe winner husband of Phleger said he stopped doing drugs with the help of Buddhism and New Age self-help. The Miami Vice actor also mentioned he had let go of fear. Don says the idea of domestic bliss with Kelley and his children really helped him in getting sobriety.

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The 71-year-old actor revealed his anxiety stemmed from his traumatic childhood where his parents, especially his mother was a firm advocate of expressing anger through corporal punishment.  At 12, his parents dispatched him to a reform school for stealing cars and getting involved with drugs and alcohol.

Kelley Johnson Has Two Famous Step-Children

Marrying Donnie, she became stepmother to Dakota Johnson and Jesse Wayne Johnson. Dakota is the daughter of Don and his ex-wife, Melanie Griffith. Her parents were married for more than seven years.

Kelley Phleger with her step sister, Dakota Johnson
Kelley Phleger with her step-daughter, Dakota Johnson. Source: Instagram

Dakota is famous for her role as Anastasia Steele in the erotic romantic drama film series, Fifty Shades. The People’s Choice actress has acted in over 30 films since 1999 with her first screen appearance in the American comedy-drama, Crazy In Alabama.

Kelley Johnson's step son, Jesse Johnson
Kelley Phleger’s stepson, Jesse Johnson played John Wilkes Booth in Nat Geo’s Killing Lincoln. Source: Instagram

Jesse was born through Johnson’s marriage to Patti D’Arbanville. He is most notable for the portrayal of John Wilkes Booth in the National Geographic television film, Killing Lincoln. In addition, he has appeared in some hit series like Nash Bridges, Law and Order: LA, Grey’s Anatomy, NCIS, and Hawaii Five-O, among others.