The Truth About Julie Andrews' Relationship With Blake Edwards

As Maria von Trapp in "The Sound of Music," Julie Andrews is famous for portraying half of one of cinema's most wholesome couples. It turns out that her real-life romance with director Blake Edwards (the man behind "Breakfast at Tiffany's" and the "Pink Panther" movies starring Peter Sellers) had moments that were just as sweet. In many ways, Andrews' and Edwards' relationship was more complicated than anything Hollywood would have depicted during its Golden Age. They were both each other's second spouses, and Edwards battled depression and hypochondria throughout their relationship, according to Honey. However, they had a meet-cute to rival any rom-com and, once they found each other, they stayed together until parted by Edwards' death in 2010.

"We were married 41 years and it was a love story, it was," Andrews told "Good Morning Britain" in 2015 (quoted by Entertainment Tonight). "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."

'Wonderfully Hollywood'

Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards first met about 10 years before they actually married, according to Honey. Their first encounter was nothing to write home about — they attended the same event as "ships that passed in the night," as Andrews told "Good Morning Britain" in 2015 (via the Daily Mail). But their second meeting was something out of a film script. They passed each other while driving the opposite way along a Los Angeles street. "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?'" Andrews recalled.

It turned out that they both had the same therapist. Andrews was slightly apologetic about the story. "Very corny, sorry about that," she told "Good Morning Britain." But Edwards celebrated the encounter as "wonderfully Hollywood," according to Honey.

First romances

However, it would take Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards a while to go from meet-cute to wedding bells. That's because they were both married to other people at the time of their encounter. Andrews' first husband was a childhood friend, Tony Walton, according to the Academy of Achievement. They reconnected while she was playing Eliza Doolittle in the London production of "My Fair Lady" and he was launching a career as a costume and set designer for the stage. They were married in 1959 and had one daughter together, Emma, in 1962. Edwards, meanwhile, had married actress and costume designer Patricia Walker in 1953, according to AB-TC. He had two children with her, Geoffrey and Jennifer, according to Honey.

By 1967, both of their first marriages had ended in divorce. Andrews and Walton had to deal with the perils of maintaining a long-distance marriage while her film career took off in the U.S. following her starring role in "Mary Poppins" in 1963 and subsequent Oscar win, according to People. They would send each other tapes, but eventually that wasn't enough. Edwards, meanwhile, exited a relationship with Walker that another People article described as "stormy." Andrews and Edwards reunited as their first marriages were falling apart and began dating shortly after they both divorced their first spouses, according to Honey.

Darling Lili

Blake Edwards and Julie Andrews had a chance to deepen their relationship when he directed her in the musical "Darling Lili," which he had also written with her in mind, according to People. They lived together while filming in Ireland, but Andrews also struggled to allow herself to love again. "I kept telling him it wasn't going to work," she said. However, she changed her mind when the couple began cohabiting in Los Angeles and Edwards' teenaged children asked if they could move in with them. "What the h***," Andrews decided. "It was just a piece of paper, and anyway it felt right." Later she would tell ABC's Diana Sawyer that she "was trying very hard not to fall in love with him" (via Honey).

They also had an artistic partnership. Andrews only made one film that wasn't directed by Edwards during the first 16 years of their marriage, according to Lip. Their collaboration did not begin auspiciously: "Darling Lili" (1970) flopped at the box office, according to Hollywood Suite.

Partners in work and love

Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards went on to spend the next four decades together raising a blended family. They co-parented the three children they'd had during their previous marriages — Emma, Geoffrey, and Jennifer — and also adopted two orphans from Vietnam named Amy and Joanna, according to Honey. "We wanted a child and weren't being successful," Andrews told People in 1977. "It's been wonderful to watch two pale, sad-eyed creatures blossom." During the first years of their marriage, Andrews took a partial break from her career to focus on their family, but Edwards stepped up to home plate when she did an ABC variety series in 1973. "Blake and I swapped roles completely," she told People. 

Edwards went on to direct Andrews in 1979's "10" and 1981's "S.O.B.," which helped restore the pair's reputation. Then, they made "Victor/Victoria" in 1982. The film was a major success that helped Andrews move beyond her squeaky-clean image, earning them both Oscar nominations — her for best actress, and Edwards for best adapted screenplay (via IMDb). When Edwards finally won an honorary Oscar in 2004, he thanked his wife and muse — "the beautiful English broad with the incomparable soprano and promiscuous vocabulary" (via Hollywood Suite).

Enduring love

While Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards had an enduring and fruitful partnership, that doesn't mean it was all raindrops on roses and whiskers on kittens. Edwards especially struggled with health problems throughout the marriage, including chronic fatigue syndrome, according to Closer Weekly. "Blake wasn't easy, but Julie was very patient with him," her colleague Kenny Solms told Closer WeeklyThey also struggled balancing work and family life. "There were times when we thought, we're just not gonna make it, but we were determined, and so far we have," Edwards once said (via Lip). Their relationship only came to an end when Edwards died of pneumonia in 2010 when he was 88 years old, according to Closer Weekly. 

Still, Edwards lingered on in Andrews' heart. She told "Good Morning Britain" in 2015 that she was still struggling to come to terms with his loss. "There are days when it's perfectly wonderful and I am myself and then it's suddenly — sock you in the middle of your gut and you think 'ah God I wish he were here,'" she said (via the Daily Mail). Then, she ended her reflection on a more positive note: "But he is in a way, I think one carries that love always." In the end Andrews and Edwards shared a love as enduring as their finest films.