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Partridge Family Drama: Susan Dey's David Cassidy Crush Went Unrequited

Entertainment | January 25, 2018

June 1970: David Cassidy and Susan Dey, costars of the television series 'The Partridge Family,' standing together and smiling while at an ABC party held at the Bistro. Source: (Photo by Frank Edwards/Fotos International/Getty Images)

David Cassidy was a major teen heartthrob for countless American teenage girls. Susan Dey was a beautiful brunette who had the attention of all the teenage boys. The pair were television brother and sister on the hit sitcom The Partridge Family. The show was about a fictional family musical act, but songs by The Partridge Family -- like those of TV-show band The Monkees in the 1960s -- were real-world pop-chart hits.

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Considering the fact that Cassidy was on the radar of every girl in America, it should come as no surprise that Susan Dey, had a thing for him as well. Cassidy was a groupie magnet and had quite a female following. His poster was tacked to the wall of many young girls’ bedroom walls and they would dream about what they would do if they ever had a chance to meet him -- or better yet, date him.

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Cassidy was not blind to the fact that he was idolized, almost as much as Elvis Presley, by his public. He could have had any girl he wanted… and so he did! At the height of his popularity, he had some very high-profile flings with other celebrities including Gina Lollobrigida and Meredith Baxter, as well as his female fans.

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Sadly, for Susan Dey, she wasn’t on the short list, or even the long list, of romantic interests for Cassidy. She was just as smitten with him like everyone else. Many girls would have loved to have been in her shoes, working side by side with Cassidy every day. From the outside, looking in, she had it made. She had what would appear to be unlimited access to and attention from him.

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Dey’s hopeless infatuation with Cassidy did not go unnoticed on the set of The Partridge Family. Shirley Jones, Cassidy’s real-life stepmother, knew all too well what was going on. She often told Dey that a relationship was not likely to be in their future and that Cassidy viewed her as "the sister he never had."  The truth, however, was that she didn’t want Dey to get hurt. The talks didn’t get through to Dey; she had a huge crush that just wouldn’t quit.

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Truth be told, David Cassidy had become accustomed to a less proper and more promiscuous type of girl. In his 2013 memoir, Cassidy, he admitted to falling into bed with female fans and groupies who were strangers -- the sluttier the better. Dey was just too good for him. In his memoir, he wrote

I find a certain sluttiness very attractive in a woman, and Susan just didn’t have it. She was sweetness and innocence, a good girl, and I couldn’t think of her as anything but my sister.

Time after time, Dey watched Cassidy flaunt romantic relationships right under her nose without any regard for her feelings. He was not ignorant of Dey’s feelings for him -- but was painfully insensitive to those feelings. He knew her attraction to him was fierce, but she just wasn’t his type.

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Cassidy admitted in his memoir that he was never attracted to Dey, despite the fact that she was one of the hottest female stars of the '70s, but finally relented and gave into her pursuit. After The Partridge Family had stopped taping, they ended up sleeping together for a one-night stand and he ended up regretting it. A romantic relationship never came to fruition after all of Dey’s efforts.

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After Dey had gotten her way, and gotten Cassidy out of her system, they remained friendly. They even appeared on television together to present the Viewers’ Choice Award at the 1990 MTV Video Music Awards. Of course, it was all scripted, but they playfully went back and forth with a little friendly banter which made America smile.

Years later, Dey did not take kindly when Cassidy spilled the beans about their little tryst in his memoir. It was not something she ever intended to share with the public, and that put a strain on their friendship. He reportedly attempted to apologize to Dey but she never responded. By all accounts, they never spoke again before Cassidy passed away. 

With their brief encounter, Dey and Cassidy did join the club of TV brother-sister hookups, which also counts some of the Brady Bunch kids as members.

Unfortunately, when we follow characters on our favorite television shows, we sometimes lose sight of the fact that they are real people with real issues.

Tags: Celebrities In The 1970s | David Cassidy | Famous Relationships | Susan Dey | The Partridge Family

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Rebeka Knott


Rebeka grew up in the 1960’s & 1970’s and has always subscribed to the theory that a positive attitude will take you far! She is a wife and mother of 3 with a fun-loving spirit, believing that family and relationships are invaluable.