When Julie Andrews fell in love with her husband, she was in the middle of divorcing her 'best friend'.

Julie Andrews is an icon to every generation.

Whether it's Princess Diaries, The Sound of Music or Mary Poppins, Andrews became a staple of many of our childhoods. 

Considering the level of fame she possesses, she has managed to keep her private life away from the spotlight. But recently has decided to share her full story with the world - detailing a life of both triumphs and heartbreak.

Born in 1935, Andrews was raised in Surrey, England. Her dad was a schoolteacher and her mum was a talented pianist. On the eve of World War II, Andrews' parents divorced. Her mother Barbara later married a professional singer named Ted, who gave Andrews her first singing lessons. 

Andrews remained close to her father, but mostly lived with her mum and stepfather. The actress reflected on her difficult childhood in her memoir, Home Work: Memoir of My Hollywood Years. "My mother was terribly important to me, and I know how much I yearned for her in my youth. But I don't think I truly trusted her," she wrote. 

Julie Andrews as a child. Image: Getty.


Barbara and Ted both struggled with alcohol addiction. When she was nine years old, Ted allegedly forced Andrews to sleep next to him in his bed. 

"Something about it didn't feel right to me at all," she wrote in the memoir.

"It was uncomfortably quiet and suddenly he said, 'Come into bed with me and I'll keep you warm'. I replied, 'I'm fine ... I'm a bit sleepy'. 'No, no, come on, come on,' he pressed. 'Let's have a cuddle'. Very reluctantly I climbed into bed and lay with my back to him. 'I'll show you how I cuddle with Mummy,' he said. 'Give me your feet'," she continued.

"He placed them between his legs, and I was acutely aware of his heaviness on my tiny limbs. I felt trapped and claustrophobic. Eventually, summoning my courage, I claimed that I was too hot, and that I was going back to my own bed. To my relief and surprise, he let me go."


When Andrews was 16, Ted allegedly drunkenly came into her bedroom one night and tried to kiss her.

"Suddenly he said, 'I really must teach you how to kiss properly' and kissed me full on the lips. It was a deep, moist kiss - a very unpleasant experience. Ten minutes later he came back in. I was burrowed beneath the covers, facing the wall. He leaned over me and tried to kiss me again. I rolled nearer the wall and mumbled, 'I'm really sleepy. Goodnight, now!'"

Soon after that night, Andrews had a bolt lock installed on her bedroom door. 

Luckily, her musical talent eventually helped her escape. At 18, she was offered the lead role in a Broadway production. 

In 1959, she married Tony Walton, a British set and costume designer.

Soon after, Andrews was approached by Walt Disney to star in a film musical of the children's book Mary Poppins. At the time, she was expecting her first child with Walton, but Disney was willing to wait until after her child was born to begin production. It was worth the wait, because Mary Poppins was a box office success, and Andrews won the Oscar for Best Actress in 1964. 

Walton worked with his wife on the set of the film, where he was a visual consultant on the props and costumes. 

Julie Andrews and her first husband Tony Walton on their wedding day, and Andrews starring in Mary Poppins. Image: Getty/Disney.


In 1968, Andrews' marriage to Walton ended, although the pair remained close friends and often collaborated. 

Around this time, Andrews said she was emotionally devastated by the collapse of the marriage.

As she explained to Now To Love: "I began to understand that the stress of trying to keep my family together all those years - combined with the pressure, followed by the steep learning curve and rigorous demands of Broadway, a marriage and a child and now Hollywood... all of this had generated powerful emotions inside me, which I had buried in order to survive.


"Tony and I had known each other since I was 12 or 13 and it was a great friendship. That has never wavered and so even though it was very painful, the worst of it was you feel such a failure because it's certainly nothing that one anticipates going into a marriage. I did feel I'd failed at it miserably and blamed myself for a great deal."

In 2022, Walton passed away. 

"Tony was my dearest and oldest friend," Andrews told PEOPLE at the time of her ex-husband's death. "He taught me to see the world with fresh eyes and his talent was simply monumental. I will miss him more than I can say. We are a huge, blended family and as we hold each other close."

A year after her divorce, Andrews met director Blake Edwards on the set of Darling Lili

"He was a very charismatic, very attractive man," Andrews said about first meeting Edwards.

The pair later married and adopted two daughters from a Vietnamese orphanage. 

"I still went through a lot of step-mothering. I'm an adoptive mother, too. I have my natural-born daughter and Blake's two children, and then we adopted two children… can you imagine the hodge-podge?" she told The Australian Women's Weekly. "The love kept us going."

Julie Andrews and Blake Edwards together. Image: Getty.


Her decision to adopt two infants led directly to her decision to step away from her film career.

"I wanted to be there. To make a proper protein breakfast for them before school in the morning. To go to parent-teacher interviews. It is important. I do admire women who manage to do both. I tried, and it is extremely difficult," she said.

For the next few decades, Andrews continued to write books, work in film, theatre and with renowned international charities.


Then in 1997, she had surgery to remove a cyst on her vocal cords. The operation damaged her larynx irreparably, effectively ending her singing career. "I went into a depression. It felt like I'd lost my identity," she told AARP The Magazine

Two years later, Andrews filed a malpractice suit against the doctors at Mount Sinai Hospital. The lawsuit was settled in September 2000, and Andrews received a settlement reportedly worth millions.

In 2001, a new opportunity came along for then 64-year-old Andrews, when she was cast as Queen Clarisse Renaldi in The Princess Diaries alongside Anne Hathaway. 

"It was clear from the very first day of shooting that she was going to be a star. She was incredibly talented, her instincts were so true. She was very, very beautiful and just a lovely human being," Andrews said of working with Hathaway. 

Watch Julie Andrews sing in The Princess Diaries 2. Post continues below.

In 2010, Edwards died from pneumonia with Andrews and their kids by his side. 


"I'm still dealing with his death... There are days when it's perfectly wonderful and I am myself and then suddenly it'll sock you in the middle of your gut and you think, 'Ah God, I wish he were here.' But he is in a way. I think one carries that love always," Andrews later said. 

"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."

Now at 87, Andrews said it's great fun being recognised by fans of different ages. Recently she spoke about the moment her grandson realised how famous his grandmother was. 

"When my grandson was very young, they were showing Mary Poppins on the TV at a birthday party that he went to. When his mother came to pick him up, he was sitting so close to the television looking terribly puzzled. My daughter bent down and said 'do you know who that lady is?'" Andrews recounted on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon.

"When my daughter said to him 'maybe it's granny Jules' and he screamed and was thrilled. It was adorable."

This article was originally published on November 25, and was updated on December 5, 2022 with new information.

Feature Image: Getty/Mamamia.

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