Cookie Magnate Says Laughter Helps Marriage

Published January 25, 1990. Second of two parts:

In her autobiography “One Smart Cookie,” Debbi Fields says that things have not always gone smoothly for her and her husband Randy – especially when their cookie business was just getting started. Both were putting in 14- and 16-hour days, and the strain on their marriage was intense.

During a conversation in Park City, I asked Debbi about that time in their life. Giving due praise to her husband, she said he was the one who insisted they work through their difficulties. Randy also followed the belief that they shouldn’t go to sleep angry.

“Often it was morning before we finally got things worked out and collapsed into bed,” she recalled, “but Randy never faltered.”

Things got so hectic in their marriage that Randy and Debbi considered selling part of the business, just to lessen the strain on their marriage.

“Love is hard to replace,” Debbi said. “Money can always be found. It is so easy today to end something like a marital relationship, to just throw it all in and walk away, so we really work on it.”

I asked her if there was one thing in particular that helped her in the marriage. After a few moments she said, “If there is, it is the marriage vows we made to each other at the time of our marriage . . . for better or worse, for richer or for poorer. I often think about what I said I would do.”

One other thing she said was characteristic of their marriage—she and Randy laugh a lot. They try to capitalize on the humorous things that sometimes happen not only at work but also in their home.

Debbi says the same skills she and Randy apply to the business are also applied to the marriage and home. “He does some things much better than I do and, likewise, I have skills where he does not. We try to match those skills and expertise in both business and family life.”

The couple may be among the best promoters we have of Utah. “Park City is a wonderful place to raise a family,” she said. “Salt Lake City is wonderful. Utah is wonderful. People here don’t understand how great it is. That is why we chose to come here, and that is why we have stayed.”

According to Debbi, one of the disadvantages of being in the public eye is having to deal with the rumors that constantly seem to be circulating. One of the most difficult for her to bear is the frequent intimation that she and her husband are divorced or are in the process of divorcing. The rumor she would like to start is that Randy and Debbi Fields are a reasonably normal married couple living with their four daughters Jessica, Jenessa, Jennifer and Ashley in Park City and are running a rather large cookie business as decently and honorably as possible.

And that’s probably the rumor I would like to circulate as well.

As I drove down Provo Canyon after our interview that afternoon, I munched – no, I devoured – some of the Mrs. Fields cookies Debbi had so graciously given me. Debbi Fields seemed to have no pretensions about “doing it all.” She is, quite simply, a deeply committed wife and mother who is also a very successful businesswoman.

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