Lynda Carter on Losing Her Husband of 37 Years

When the creators of the iconic ’70s TV series Wonder Woman brainstormed how Diana Prince, portrayed by Lynda Carter, would undergo her transformation into the formidable DC Comics superhero, they faced a dilemma.

Unable to replicate Superman’s phone booth change, they explored unconventional options. Carter, in an interview with PEOPLE, revealed that they initially proposed placing her on a revolving platform, a suggestion she found absurd. Instead, she suggested the elegant solution of a dancer’s pirouette, thus birthing Wonder Woman’s iconic spin.

Nearly fifty years later, Carter finds herself navigating a personal transformation after the loss of her husband of 37 years, Robert Altman, to myelofibrosis, a rare blood cancer.

“I’m embarking on a journey to rediscover myself,” shares the 70-year-old actress. “It’s terrifying. Without Robert, I’m uncertain of who I am.”

Her grief is evident as she reflects on her loss, tears welling in her eyes. “His absence still hits me,” she confides. “I can’t come to terms with the fact that he’s gone.”

In the wake of her husband’s passing, Carter has turned to her first passion — music — both as a coping mechanism and a tribute to their enduring love. She’s set to release a new song titled “Human and Divine” on Friday, a heartfelt homage to their decades-long romance. “Our love story was real,” she reflects. “Through this song, I aim to capture the essence of love and loss, emphasizing its profound human experience.”

In 1982, amidst the glamour of a Maybelline dinner, the striking Lynda Carter crossed paths with Robert Altman, a prominent D.C. lawyer representing the cosmetics giant’s parent company. Carter, in the midst of divorcing her first husband, was unprepared for a new connection. “I was determined to navigate life solo,” she recalls with a chuckle.

Their bond blossomed unexpectedly, fueled by undeniable chemistry. Together, they welcomed two children: James Altman, now 33 and a lawyer, and Jessica Carter Altman, a former attorney turned singer-songwriter. Through the highs and lows of life, Carter found unwavering love and support in Altman’s embrace. “He stood by me through thick and thin,” she reminisces. “I’ve never experienced such unconditional love and encouragement.”

Their journey was not without its trials. Altman faced allegations of fraud in a widely publicized 1992 bank scandal, though he was ultimately acquitted. Equally, Carter confronted her own struggles, bravely acknowledging her battle with alcoholism. Altman’s steadfast support during her journey to sobriety remains a cherished memory for Carter. “All he wanted was my well-being,” she reflects, now 27 years sober.

In 2018, Carter bravely joined the #MeToo movement, sharing her own experience of harassment during her early days in Hollywood. While she chooses not to disclose further details, she grapples with feelings of self-blame. “It’s a part of my past I continue to wrestle with,” she admits softly. “But how could I have known?”

Today, Carter focuses on the strides made since her groundbreaking role as Wonder Woman, where she defied industry skepticism and forged a path for female representation in television. Despite initial doubts, the iconic series remains a timeless favorite, with Carter’s portrayal of the lasso-wielding heroine inspiring a new generation of fans.

Her legacy lives on in the revitalized Wonder Woman franchise, helmed by director Patty Jenkins and starring Gal Gadot. Reflecting on her cameo in Wonder Woman 1984 and the forthcoming installment, Carter embraces her role as a torchbearer for the beloved character. “We’re a united force,” she declares of herself, Jenkins, and Gadot. “I’ve passed the baton, and I couldn’t be prouder.”

Much like the timeless superheroes she portrays, Lynda Carter appears to defy the passage of time. In addition to her musical pursuits, she ventures into the realm of indie cinema with her latest project, “The Cleaner,” where she embraces the role of “a quirky elder” alongside Shelley Long and Luke Wilson. Reflecting on her upcoming milestone of turning 70, she jests, “It’s a monumental number! But it’s oddly exhilarating. I feel like I’m channeling the spirit of the Rolling Stones. They’re rocking through their 70s, heading towards their 80s!”

Yet, isn’t age merely a matter of perspective?

“It’s worth noting,” she interjects, “that Wonder Woman celebrates her 80th anniversary,” referencing the iconic character’s debut in DC Comics in 1941. “So, in that regard, she’ll always be ahead of me!”

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