Nancy Burnet opens up about Bob Barker’s final days and why they kept their relationship ‘low-key’ – NBC Chicago

Bob Barker’s longtime companion, Nancy Burnet, is recalling some of their fondest memories together and opening up about his final days. 

While the pair had a romantic relationship over the years, Burnet tells that her connection with Barker “evolved into more of a friendship” toward the end of his life.

The beloved television personality, who hosted “The Price Is Right” for 35 years and “Truth or Consequences” for almost two decades, died at the age of 99.

“It is with profound sadness that we announce that the World’s Greatest MC who ever lived, Bob Barker has left us,” Barker’s publicist, Roger Neal, shared in a statement Aug. 26.

Neal added that Barker died of natural causes at his home in Hollywood Hills, California, and that he was survived by Burnet, who was also the co-executor of Barker’s estate.

In a phone interview with, Burnet reflected on how she met Barker and the evolution of their relationship.

How they met

Burnet and Barker first met in 1983 at an animal adoption event. She was involved in animal legislation, and the two bonded over their mutual passion for protecting and caring for pets and wildlife. In Barker’s 2009 autobiography titled “Priceless Memories,” co-written by Digby Diehl, “The Price Is Right” host remembered seeing Burnet at the event and thinking, “There is one great-looking lady.” 

She says she immediately thought he was funny during their first conversation. 

“My friend and I were there and we’re just kind of standing around and he walked over to me and introduced himself,” she says. 

In Barker’s book, he recalled asking Burnet if she was married or single. She responded that she was “winding up a divorce” at the time.

Burnet says he eventually asked her to get dinner with him. She declined his initial invitation, explaining that it was an “inconvenient time” because she couldn’t abandon her friend and car. So, he tried again and called her later. 

They met up in Los Angeles for their date. It went so well that they took trips to Santa Barbara and Las Vegas together as their connection blossomed. 

“We saw each other periodically for dinner or lunch and, if I was in Los Angeles for business, we would meet up,” she shares.

Why did they never marry?

Before meeting Burnet, Barker was married to Dorothy Jo Gideon from 1945 until her death in 1981.

As Burnet and Barker continued to work together publicly after their 1983 meeting, he occasionally spoke about their personal relationship. She tells that she wanted to keep their romance out of the public eye. 

“I kept my relationship with him very low-key because people treat you differently when they know that there’s a celebrity involved,” she explains. “At one time, we were very much a couple and then later (our) relationship evolved into more of a friendship.” 

Early in their relationship, they shared their opinions on remarriage, she says.

“When we started seeing each other, that was one of the things we talked about at the beginning, about ever remarrying or anything,” Burnet says. “And he said ‘No, no, he would never remarry.’ And I said, ‘Perfect because I have no intention ever remarrying.’ And then some years passed, and he proposed many times.”

Although Barker seemingly changed his mind and popped the question — something she says “very few people know” — her opinion on tying the knot again did not waver.

“I think it was in 2011, maybe, he had his attorney draw up a prenup and sent that to me,” she says with a laugh. “I just didn’t accept that. I didn’t want to. I just never wanted to remarry, to anyone. And so we just continued on as we were.”

As to how she would describe their relationship at the end of his life? 

“I would say, as a friend and companion. I did oversee every aspect of his health, of his care,” she says.

Their secret to long-lasting companionship?

Burnet says the foundation of their decades-long partnership was their similar sense of humor as well as a shared passion.

“People have to have fun together,” she says. “They sometimes forget that after they’ve been together for a while. But if they can keep that in their relationship, it’ll last a long time and get you over some really rough spots. And so, just like any relationship, we just evolved from there. But it was very, very much around the work that was done.”

The “work” was their animal activism. They helped rescue animals through his DJ&T Foundation. He asked her to oversee the nonprofit’s spay and neuter unit, and in 2000, she became the DJ&T Foundation’s vice president and executive director.

Although they were constantly busy, they took time to travel. She recalls the moment Barker revealed his silver locks for the first time on “The Price Is Right.” Burnet tells that the pair traveled around Europe together, and sported his whitish, gray hair before he publicly revealed it on television. 

“Not a lot of people had recognized him so that was a good time,” she says.

While he could temporarily escape celebrity, Burnet says they always discovered animals that needed their help wherever they went and worked with chimpanzees, whales, elephants and more. His foundation also provided funding for DonkeyLand, a wildlife sanctuary in Southern California. 

Bob Barker, the longtime host of the game show “The Price is Right,” died at the age of 99.

Bob Barker’s ‘final stages’

Burnet says she ensured that Barker had the best caregivers and nurses, joking that she possibly “set a record” in Los Angeles for the amount of caretakers she went through. 

She says doctors were surprised to see “how healthy and sturdy he was” toward the end of his life. 

“Even in his final stages, he wasn’t that gaunt,” she shares. “You know, some people at that age are very gaunt and thin and frail. He was not.” 

She adds, “I was in touch with the caregiver nurses every day, all day, and they checked in with me at night, if ever there was a problem and I was speaking with them until late … It was my pleasure to do it.  To make sure that he was cared for in a way that everybody should be, frankly, but not everyone has that benefit that he did.” 

Burnet says the caregivers would send videos so she could check in on Barker every day. They would also talk on the phone. 

He died about four months before they would have celebrated his 100th birthday.

For his 99th birthday in December 2022, Burnet shares he had a small, private party — a reflection of how he lived his life.

“He lived a very simple, quiet life, nothing extravagant or out of the ordinary,” she says.

Now that he has passed, Burnet says Barker’s legacy will live on through his impact on animal care and adoption. She praises him for using his classic “The Price Is Right” signoff—“This is Bob Barker reminding you to help control the pet population. Have your pets spayed or neutered”— to bring awareness. 

“A lot of people did appreciate him or enjoy his work or certainly appreciated what he did for animals,” Burnet says. “He was aware, of course, of all of that. He was always grateful for it.”

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