No Cheer Here

updated 03/29/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

originally published 03/29/1993 AT 01:00 AM EST

FOR MOST OF THE PAST 16 YEARS, LONGER than he has tended bar as single Sam Malone on NBC's Cheers, Ted Danson, 45, appeared to be that rarity, the contented Hollywood husband. Yes, he and his wife, Casey, 55, had been through hard times, including the stroke she suffered in 1979 while giving birth to their daughter Kale, now 13. The emotional stress of her convalescence strained their marriage, but the couple came through, they believed, stronger than ever. To avoid another risky pregnancy, they adopted their second daughter, Alexis, now 8. "We want to be a family," said Casey in 1982. "This is going to be home base forever."

Home was a spacious, five-bedroom spread in Santa Monica, but it no longer shelters the whole family. Danson now lives in their Malibu beach house, and last week his spokeswoman, Annett Wolf, announced that he and Casey "have made their separation official."

An unconfirmed—but widely rumored—factor in the split: Whoopi Goldberg. Last summer, she and Danson began filming Warner Bros.' romantic comedy Made in America (opening May 27), and five months later syndicated columnist Liz Smith was dishing, "Whoopi's newest crush is...male, funny, famous and attractive. Cheers, everybody." The tabloids buzzed with Ted and Whoopi sightings, including one at an inaugural gala. Is there a romance between them? "I don't want to either negate it or verify it," Goldberg told 60 Minutes in February. Danson will speak only through Wolf, who declares, "All I can say is, 'No comment.' "

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