The actor shared the details of his May wedding to wife Sharon: “It’s a new beginning,” Williams tells PEOPLE
Anson Williams is married!
The 73-year-old actor, best known for his role as Warren “Potsie” Weber on beloved 1970s-80s sitcom Happy Days, married writer and real estate broker Sharon MaHarry on May 6 in an intimate ceremony at the couple’s Ojai, California home.
“Let’s make it a wedding just where it’s about togetherness with our friends,” Williams tells PEOPLE of the couple’s vision for their big day. “It’s not over the top, but at the same time, it’s memorable and special.”
The couple held the ceremony and reception in the backyard of their home, which MaHarry sold to Williams when they first met years ago. They were eager to spend as much time with their guests as possible, so the bride and groom greeted their 150 friends and family at the door with a glass of champagne and a warm welcome.
“I will tell people, ‘It’s wonderful. Don’t ever do it,’” Williams jokes of hosting a wedding at their own house. “You have no idea the complexity that happens.”
Williams and MaHarry call their big day “very untraditional,” and part of their unique nuptials was the exchange of personal messages along with the vows. MaHarry spoke about how her new husband has changed her life and Williams read a poem he wrote and dedicated to his bride.
“I wrote kind of a synopsis of where I was when I met Anson,” MaHarry tells PEOPLE. (At the time, she was mourning the loss of her husband to a long term illness, while also struggling to recovering from an injury.) “I’ve never been in such a dark place. And he completely turned that around. It was like a gift from God that I met him.”
Following the ceremony, which was officiated by non denominational Reverend Marilyn Miller, the party kicked off with a bang, quite literally, with Japanese Taiko drummers performing a 15-minute set.
Williams says all of the nontraditional touches that were a part of their wedding were “so right for us” and that the day marked “a new beginning with energy and commitment and originality.”
Guests took a break from dancing and enjoying the live entertainment to dine on a buffet dinner that included short ribs, shrimp and a vegetarian pasta dish with asparagus.
For the dessert, the pair chose ditched a classic wedding cake, and instead opted for mini cakes shaped like a classic tiered cake.
“Nobody likes to eat wedding cake, and granted, you give up one of the big traditions, but we found this bakery that does little, tiny Bundt cakes and they were the best,” MaHarry says. “Oh my god, people were eating five or six of them.”
The newlyweds first met 13 years ago when MaHarry sold Williams his Ojai home while he was married to his ex-wife, Jackie Gerken.
Williams filed for divorce in 2019, and said that even as time went by, MaHarry was “still in the back of [his] mind.” After his divorce and a battle with colon cancer, Williams says he was at a low point and thought he would never find a new love.
“I’m like a broken guy. I think I was a hermit up here, just kind of numb,” Williams recalls. “Something just hit my head, I said, ‘I’m going to text Sharon.’ I had a feeling, so I just texted and I said, ‘Hey, are you available for lunch?’”
MaHarry, who had recently lost her husband of 35 years to an illness, also thought that her love life was over: “I just thought this was it. I’m a widow, this is who I am now.” But she says everything changed when Williams reconnected with her.
After getting the blessing from her daughter to pursue the relationship, the two met up for a three-hour lunch and Williams says they “have not been apart since that day.”
“That absolutely freed me to take advantage of this, whatever it was,” MaHarry says of her daughter’s blessing. “And I wasn’t sure what it was at that moment, but what a beautiful gift she gave me.”
At the start of their budding romance, MaHarry was recovering from a serious back injury, and Williams helped her begin to walk again, saying “the first few months of the relationship was healing.” MaHarry adds that the relationship “first healed a body then a heart.”
Williams adds it’s “marvelous” to have found his new wife after thinking he wouldn’t be able to find love again.
“At this age, to be able to find that kind of full connection for the first time, and what that means — it’s a miracle,” Williams says. “I would trade my stardom, notoriety, all that bologna for Sharon in a minute.”
“There’s no age limit on being loved,” he adds. “There’s no age limit on living life fully.”
The happily married pair are collaborating on a new one woman stage play based on MaHarry’s book “Crazy Mama: A Memoir of Love and Madness.” The book about growing up with a mother who struggled with mental illness, won the 2014 Southwest Writers Competition and Santa Barbara Writers Conference Fiction Award
“It’s going to be very effective in bringing a light on mental illness, but also in a very human way that is positive and I think will help support funds needed for facilities to help people,” says Williams.
“I’m so proud of Sharon. It’s so good.”