The Story of Julie Andrews and the Man Who Conquered Her Heart
Movies have delighted us with love stories for a long time. We may think that what happens in them only takes place on the big screen, but there are times when reality surpasses fiction, as in the case of Julie Andrews. Her love story with her husband, film director Blake Edwards, seems straight out of a romantic comedy.
A little girl with an enormous talent
Andrews was born in England, and, at a young age, she charmed everyone with her voice. When her mother and stepfather discovered their daughter’s talent, they encouraged her to begin a career in the arts. Julie began performing in music halls as a child through her teens, and, at the age of 20, she made her professional debut in a musical at the London Palladium.
After immersing herself in the world of Broadway, her lucky break finally came in 1964 when she landed the lead role in the movie Mary Poppins. It was then that the world came to know her name.
Blake discovered his passion through acting.
Blake was born in the United States and began his career in the film industry as an actor. That’s how he realized that he preferred directing to being directed. He began writing screenplays and directing television programs, later moving into films. Operation Petticoat was his first major film as a director.
Brought together by destiny in the most peculiar way
The first meeting between the two was a mere coincidence, and would have gone unnoticed, had Cupid not had his plans for them. “We met about 10 years before, literally ships that passed in the night at some event but actually... our cars. I was going one way and he was going the other, he rolled down the window after smiling a couple of times and he said, ’Are you going where I just came from?’ I was going to a therapist he was coming from. Very corny,” she confessed in an interview.
At the time, she was married to her childhood sweetheart, producer Tony Walton, and had a daughter named Emma. Blake, for his part, was also married with two children, though both couples ended in divorce. “I did feel I’d failed at it miserably and blamed myself for a great deal. Although I think it probably was a little bit of both [of us],” she said about her separation, which occurred when her daughter was just 5 years old.
From a budding love to a happy family
But love came knocking again when Blake asked her to marry him. “This came as a total surprise. We had only been seeing each other for a little over a year, and neither of us was yet divorced from our former spouses,” the actress admitted. Two years later, the couple finally married, and they were together for 41 years.
The couple formed a large family with their children — Julie’s daughter, Emma, and Blake’s children, Geoffrey and Jennifer. Although they couldn’t have children together, life gave them a second chance. They fulfilled their dream by adopting two orphaned Vietnamese girls during the war in that country.
“Amy came into our lives and it was wonderful. Then Saigon began to fall and within three months, we had another one. We said [to the orphanage where Amy had come from], ‘We know you are not going to be able to do this for long. Once the South falls, adoptions will cease, so if you care to send us another one, please do.’ So suddenly Joanna was with us and they were not sisters, but like sisters,” she confessed.
Partners and colleagues
The pair had the pleasure of working together seven times, with the musical Victor/Victoria being the most beloved for the actress. “Working with him was lovely, he had his good and bad sides. I know we could talk about the role without any problems, and I knew that if Blake filmed, I was going to be completely taken care of. We loved working together,” she said in an interview.
But despite sharing happy moments both work and family-wise, as in any love movie, everything is never perfect. He suffered from depression: “Blake was the most charismatic and interesting fellow you could possibly meet [...]. He was hilariously funny and had such a dark sense of humor that just put me away and that I loved so much. But he was also, at times, a very depressive personality and had a very difficult time. I knew him very well, and he knew me very well — we were married for 41 years before he passed — but he did have horrible bouts of depression,” the actress opened up.
An everlasting love
After experiencing some complications from pneumonia, Blake sadly passed away on December 15, 2010. The time they can no longer share is offset by the time they shared together: “We were married 41 years and it was a love story [...]. Success in our marriage was to take it one day at a time and so, lo and behold, 41 years later there we still were,” she confessed in 2015.
Despite his departure, she admitted she wasn’t over it: “There are days when it’s perfectly wonderful and I am myself and then it suddenly socks you in the middle of your gut and you think, ’Oh God, I wish he were here.’ But he is in a way, I think one carries that love always,” she said, proving that even though time and life pass, true love endures forever for those who love each other in the purest way.
What makes a relationship successful? What do you look for in the love of your life?