Ron Howard's wife turned down his marriage proposal twice before she eventually accepted.

The 69-year-old actor-turned-director met Cheryl Alley when he was just 16 and they were at school together and though things quickly got serious between them, she refused to become the 'Happy Days' star's wife until she had achieved the things she wanted first.

Speaking on 'The Drew Barrymore Show', the couple's eldest daughter, actress Bryce Dallas Howard, said: "While they had an incredible relationship in high school and everything, he proposed three times and she said no two of them. Because she was like, 'I wanna go to school first. I'm not ready to be on your train yet.' She's really strong."

The 'Argylle' actress credits her mom for shaping her dad into the man he is today.

She said: "She’s just so unapologetically herself, and I think she, in a way, raised my dad to be that way. Because they've been together since they were 16, and she’s just kept him so honest and real."

Bryce, 42, praised Cheryl - who also has twins Jocelyn and Paige, 39, and son Reed, 36, with Ron - for always knowing her own mind and not allowing obstacles to get in the way of what she wants to achieve.

She said: "I grew up very, very, very, very, very sheltered and protected. And it’s really my mom, my mom and my dad have been together since they were 16 and she’s a force of nature.

"She solo’d her first plane when she was 16. When there wasn't a sport for girls in her school she cut off all her hair and told everyone her name was Charlie and she played football; and then when they found out, she started a track team. ... She’s a writer. She writes esoteric science-fiction.

"She's a very tough, distinctive, singular lady."

The 'Cinderella Man' hitmaker previously credited "communication" for keeping his marriage strong.

Ron - who married Cheryl in 1975 - told People magazine: "People say, ‘How’d you do it?’ There’s no technique. There’s no tactic other than communication is really important. You have to learn to communicate and have difficult conversations in constructive ways.

"Beyond that, there’s an element of luck, because people either grow together or they don’t, and I don’t think you can force that."