Now, Powers is 80 and living in Kenya because of something she and her husband had always wanted to do together. After he passed away, Powers decided to carry out their passion on her own.
Powers had an extensive Hollywood career, starring in 18 mini-series and two weekly series, and she had over 200 guest appearances on other TV shows. She remains most proud of her role as Jennifer Hart.
Many people still watch “Hart to Hart” occasionally, and Powers’ contractor told her he had been channel surfing one night when he came across the show. He was “transfixed” by the show and said it brought him a lovely wave of nostalgia.
Powers and Robert Wagner starred alongside one another in the show, but Powers admitted she couldn’t imagine what the show would be like today and doubted that Wagner would be as keen on chasing villains as he was when the show was on the air. She joked:
“But we’d still be together. And it would still be a liability to be a friend of ours!”
While shooting “Hart to Hart,” Powers was in a relationship with William Holden, 26 years her senior. Powers believed that despite their age difference, they shared many of the same ideologies about life.
Stefanie Powers and William Holden at the AFI Salute to James Stewart on February 28, 1980 | Source: Getty Images
The pair were together for nine years, and for six of them, Holden was completely sober, which Powers said was incredibly meaningful. One thing that bonded the pair more than anything else was their love of wildlife.
They often traveled to Africa together and slept under the stars outdoors before tracking animals during the day. Powers called their travels “a real-life adventure.” However, their union was short-lived because of Holden’s substance abuse issues.
Talking about how his drinking from her when he was meant to be sober, Powers shared:
“He had an apartment where he would go and drink.”
While Powers was filming “Hart to Hart” in Hawaii, she tried to phone Holden. She could not reach him, and when she returned, she tried again, but Holden still did not pick up the phone. What followed those unanswered phone calls was a horrific time in Powers’ life.
It was November 1981 when Holden was found dead in his apartment. He had tripped and gashed his head, which caused a large cut and excessive bleeding. The bleeding is what led to his death, but the coroner confirmed he had been “heavily intoxicated” when he passed.
Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers in “Hart to Hart” on February 16, 1982 | Source: Getty Images
While Powers was heartbroken by Holden’s passing, she took comfort in her relationship with Wagner. Powers and Wagner shared a special bond because they suffered tragedies simultaneously. Their relationship blossomed.
Powers and Wagner Lost Partners: Inside Their Relationship
Powers and Wagner chose to be together on “Hart to Hart” as Jennifer and Jonathan. The show’s creators had initially wanted Wagner’s real-life wife to play his onscreen bride, but he knew that Powers was the best choice.
The actress mentioned that their onscreen relationship felt like a “fantasy” and “escapist romantic comedy” that the whole family could enjoy. Powers knew they had a solid fan base when they won a People’s Choice Award in 1980.
Even after the series ended, Wagner and Powers remained close friends. Powers once shared that they laughed all the time when they were together. This often led to fan speculation that the pair were romantically involved.
Robert Wagner and Stefanie Powers in “Hart to Hart” on December 1, 1981 | Source: Getty Images
Although they were often asked whether they were in an official relationship, Powers confirmed they were not. Talking about their relationship, Powers explained:
“Siblings who really like each other. When we were working together, sometimes we would get into laughing fits, and they’d have to send us home. In the context of what our personal relationship actually is, that is actually hysterical.”
Powers did not hesitate to admit that she and Wagner shared incredible chemistry while filming as husband and wife. Still, their relationship offscreen never went any further than a close friendship.
While filming, Powers was in a relationship with Holden, and Wagner was married to Natalie Wood. However, Wood and Holden passed away in 1981, leaving Powers and Wagner utterly heartbroken.
Powers described that time in her life as a “tragic period” as she had lost her husband to alcoholism, and Wagner lost Wood after she drowned on a weekend trip away. Powers and Wagner leaned on one another to overcome their grief and continue filming the show, Powers said she and Wagner “held each other up.”
Why Does Powers Spend Time in Kenya at 80?
Now, Powers is 80 and spends much of her time in Africa, where she and her late partner spent much of their time together. This need to experience more in life came after she had a portion of her lung removed in 2008.
Two weeks after Powers’ mother passed away, she found that she had lung cancer. She had an operation to remove the affected portion of her lung and found a new lease on life.
Powers was grateful that early detection allowed her to be relatively unaffected by her diagnosis and she could recover fully. Yet she is unsure whether or not her smoking led to her illness because her stepsister, who had never smoked, suffered the same diagnosis.
She now travels to Africa often and enjoys being around animals like she and Holden used to do when he was still alive. Powers also dedicates much of her time to the conservation and protection of wildlife.
At the beginning of March this year, Powers shared a photo of herself and a rhino on Facebook and hashtagged it #conservationthrougheducation. Fans were charmed by the image and the meaning behind it.
Others said it seemed like a beautiful way to spend a day. One fan thanked her for her love and support of animals before complimenting her energy and smile. Another fan gushed:
“Absolutely beautiful picture. You are such an amazing lady.”
In May last year, Powers shared a photo of herself at a farm in Kenya in amongst some bamboo. She mentioned she was practicing “natural agriculture,” and fans once again complimented her on her efforts.
In 2019, Powers posted a photo of herself and a young elephant. The image was used to raise awareness for the ivory trade, which affects elephants directly as they are poached for their tusks.
After Holden passed away, Powers dedicated herself to running the William Holden Wildlife Foundation. The foundation runs out of Kenya and promotes the humane treatment and conservation of wildlife animals.