Beloved TV legend and animal rights activist Betty White — who tragically passed away on Dec. 31, just weeks shy of her 100th birthday — planned to leave most of her $75 million estate to help care for critters, pals said.
But Betty’s bizarre bonanza may leave her stepkids barking mad, said insiders!
According to a source, Betty had been on friendly terms with stepchildren David, 73, Martha, 72, and Sarah Ludden, 70. But the tipster added, “They may not feel the same way after her will is read!”
Betty, who had no kids of her own, became a stepmom in 1963 when she tied the knot with famed game show host Allen Ludden. But by the time the Password star lost his life to stomach cancer 18 years later, his three children with late wife Margaret McGloin were fully grown adults.
“Betty wasn’t always particularly close with them because she struggled with replacing their mom, who died just two years before she married Allen,” the source spilled. “And then when he passed, I guess she just felt they didn’t need much from her, since they were all older and established in their own lives!”
But the Mary Tyler Moore Show alum had her own furry family, which at one point included 26 dogs, and dedicated herself to wildlife projects, including the Los Angeles Zoo.
In the ’70s, Betty worked with the Morris Animal Foundation and later became a trustee for the organization.
The dimple-cheeked star also created the TV series The Pet Set, which featured animals and their celebrity fans, including Burt Reynolds and her old TV pals.
After Betty’s death, the ASPCA lauded her lifelong commitment to critters. The source spilled, “It’s no surprise to her closest pals that she’d want her work to continue after she was gone.”
While the acting legend had solid relationships with David and Sarah, the Golden Girls star struggled to connect with Martha, who resented the Hollywood veteran’s presence in her family, spies dished.
In fact, tipsters claimed the twosome didn’t speak for 30 years — until Betty invited all of her stepchildren to her Los Angeles home for her 91st birthday and finally ended their feud!
While Betty’s rep insisted her fortune isn’t going to the dogs, the source snitched, “There was an emotional wedge between her and Allen’s kids that made it easier for her to leave the bulk of her fortune to help animals.”
“The children may think they deserve more — but animals had a much bigger presence in her life.” NE