Paul Anka Recalls Why His 'Young Love' with Annette Funicello Ended: 'The Marriage Thing Just Scared Me'

Anka wrote his song hit song "Puppy Love" about Funicello

<p>Hulton Archive/Getty</p> Annette Funicello and Paul Anka circa 1962

Hulton Archive/Getty

Annette Funicello and Paul Anka circa 1962

Though things didn't work out between Paula Anka and the late Annette Funicello, he still cherishes their time together.

During a two-part episode of On Our Way with Paula Anka and Skip Bronson on May 8 and May 15, Anka opened up to friend Frankie Avalon about his relationship with Funicello — whom he considered a "young love" — and revealed why their relationship ultimately fell apart.

"She wanted to get married," the "Put Your Head on My Shoulder" singer, 82, said. "I couldn't do it. But what a family. And what a sweetheart she was."

"She just had that sweetness, that goodness. I don't know where it came from, but she was never different," he added. "It was unbelievable, Frankie."

Related: Paul Anka, The Masked Singer's Broccoli, Shares the Current Artists He Thinks Will Stick Around

Funicello went on to marry Jack Gilardi, her agent, after their split.

"She did love you," Avalon, 83, who starred on Beach Party with Funicello, said.

"Well, I loved her," Anka added. "We were really very, very close. I just ... the marriage thing just scared me.”

Anka wrote his 1960 hit "Puppy Love" about her and, per USA Today, Funicello considered him her first love.

"As Paul wrote in his hit song about us, just because we were 17 didn't mean that, for us, our love wasn't real," she wrote in her autobiography, per the outlet.

Funicello, an American actress and singer who got her start on the original Mickey Mouse Club, died in 2013 at age 70 after a multiple sclerosis diagnosis.

<p>ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty</p> Paul Anka and Annette Funicello in 1960

ABC Photo Archives/Disney General Entertainment Content via Getty

Paul Anka and Annette Funicello in 1960

Meanwhile, Anka went on to marry three times. He wed Lisa Pemberton in 2016 before divorcing in 2020.

On Our Way with Paul Anka and Skip Bronson, the hosts invite "their famous friends to sit down for intimate chats about their lives and work. You'll get to know icons of film, music, television, sports and technology in a whole new way."

Earlier this month, they invited Alec Baldwin for a chat and he opened up about the time he jokingly called Paul McCartney an "asshole."

Related: Alec Baldwin Reveals Why He Called Paul McCartney an 'Asshole' During a Yoga Class

"I used to take a yoga class with Lorne [Michaels], John Eastman, who's Paul's brother in-law, John Alexander, the painter, Lorne and I, there were five of us. We would take a yoga class. We called ourselves the 'yoga boys,'" he began.

Baldwin continued: "And the only one who was really adept at yoga was McCartney. He would do a handstand or a headstand and he had the most lithe body you've ever seen — and back then he was in his late '60s — and he was so fit. One time he does a headstand before he leaves, and he gets up and whispers to me, he goes, 'I'm gonna go take my daughter to lunch. I'll see you guys later.'"

The It's Complicated actor, 66, then joked that he gave the Beatles musician a piece of his mind.

"I looked up at him after he does the headstand and I go, 'You're an asshole.' And I never thought I'd call one of The Beatles an asshole, but he was just always showing us up with his physical skills! He was a very fit guy," he said.

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