Roseanne Barr Cut Off Everyone for Man Who Swore to Protect Her Yet She Ended up a ‘Battered’ Wife

Roseanne Barr turned her back on her husband of 14 years, advisers, and family for Tom Arnold, who swore to protect her but ended up abusing her.

They say that love makes you blind, and Roseanne Barr knows it firsthand. The “Roseanne” star was so convinced that Tom Arnold would protect her from the supposedly evil people around her that she cut off almost everyone for him.

However, Barr and Arnold’s headline-grabbing relationship didn’t stand the test of time. Now, she has been in a relationship with the same man for over two decades.

Roseanne Barr on “The View” on March 27, 2018 [left]. Barr and Tom Arnold during their wedding on January 20, 1990 [right] | Photo: Getty Images

Born in November 1952, Barr grew up with her Jewish parents in Salt Lake City. Her life almost ended at 16 when she was hit by a car. Her head struck the hood, and she ended up with a brain injury. 

After that, she started having nightmares and memory loss, so her parents sent her to a Utah state hospital for professional help. Barr admitted it was a “positive period” in her life because the facility was a “respite from the world.”

Roseanne Barr on March 23, 2018 in Burbank, California | Photo: Getty Images

The aspiring artist always felt special, and the hospital reinforced that belief. She explained that she knew she would be famous and added:

“It sounds psychotic, but all the time, I had a faith in a higher power, and that’s the only thing I ever believed in. Performing was the only thing I could really do” [sic].

Roseanne Barr on July 26, 2018 in New York City | Photo: Getty Images


Following her eight-month stay in the hospital, she moved to Colorado and met her first husband, William Pentland. They married in 1974 and had three children in three years.

In 1983, Barr met fellow comedian Tom Arnold when he opened for her in Minnesota. He won her over with his sense of humor, so they went out drinking after the show and became friends.

[Barr] described herself as a “classic battered and abused wife.”

Roseanne Barr and Tom Arnold at Farm Aid, Ames, Iowa, on March 14, 1992 | Photo: Getty Images

They were “like best buddies” for six years even though Arnold always had girlfriends and Barr was married. They admitted their relationship was not physical and supposedly didn’t hug or talk about having sex for those six years.

They fell in love when they did Barr’s HBO special in 1986. Arnold’s then-girlfriend was jealous of Barr because she thought they had a crush on each other. He told Barr about it, and she said, “We kind of do, don’t we?”

In February 1989, Arnold told Barr he loved her for the first time. Their relationship became physical after that, although she was still married to Pentland.

Roseanne Barr with her husband, actor Tom Arnold, circa 1990 | Photo: Getty Images

Most of her friends and family wanted Barr to be cautious about Arnold because his cocaine problem worsened her alcohol issues. He also lost the writing job Barr got him on “Roseanne” and sold information about her to the National Enquirer.

Given that she was always afraid about being used, mistreated, or victimized, Arnold convinced her that her manager, sister, lawyer, and other advisers didn’t have her best interests at heart.

Arnold told Barr he would protect her from the people who wanted to destroy her talent and steal money from her, and she believed him. She divorced her husband at Arnold’s insistence and married her fellow comedian only four days later in January 1990.

After their separation, Pentland filed a palimony lawsuit seeking $15 million from Barr and $3 million from Arnold. His lawyer claimed they agreed to be lifetime companions and share everything they had. 

When Arnold and Barr tied the knot, she fired her lawyer because he “insulted” her new love by recommending a prenuptial agreement. Arnold fired and replaced Barr’s manager and told her to distance herself from her sister. One of Barr’s friends said:

“You’d tell her [Arnold] was a bad guy, and she’d listen, but she didn’t want to hear it. […] Now she’s cut everyone who knew her before out of her life, including her sister.”

Although Barr had a tubal ligation, she and Arnold wanted to have children through in-vitro fertilization. Unfortunately, they could never have a kid.

Roseanne Barr and husband Ben Thomas on March 25, 1995 in San Diego, California | Photo: Getty Images

In April 1994, Barr filed for divorce and accused Arnold of physical abuse. She got a restraining order against her ex-husband and described herself as a “classic battered and abused wife.” 

Over two decades after their divorce, Arnold pointed out that people were always scared of her, but nobody “stood up” to her as he did.

In 1995, Barr gave love another chance and married her security guard Ben Thomas. They had a son through IVF and divorced in 2002. Now, Barr is in a relationship with writer, producer, and musician Johnny Argent

They met in 2002 and started living together a year later. The lovebirds now enjoy life at her home in Hawaii, but they prefer to keep things away from the spotlight.

Barr is also the proud mom of fiveBrandi (who was given up for adoption days after birth in 1971), Jessica, Jennifer, Jake, and Buck. Although love blinded Barr initially, she still got her happily ever after.

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