When you have been married for more than four decades, you learn a thing or two about how to have a good relationship. Another thing that you can’t escape is how important your partner becomes. They are an integral part of your life and when they pass, the grief just floors you. There is no leaving it behind. You can only learn to cope and live with it.
Iconic actress Julie Andrews lives a life where grief is just part and parcel of her life. Her husband, director Blake Edwards, passed away in December 2010 at the age of 88. He will forever be remembered as the creator of the Pink Panther films and directing Breakfast at Tiffany’s. He was an actor, just like her, and later a writer. What he’s most famously known for though are his comedies and musicals, according to The Guardian. The couple was a creative powerhouse that made seven movies together.
How they met was a “wonderfully Hollywood” moment. A decade before they actually got married in 1969, the couple spoke while passing each other in their cars, she told Good Morning Britain in 2015. They were both outside their therapist’s office and she dubbed this initial introduction as “corny”. “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?'”
Edwards, though, was a romantic and saw this as a Hollywood moment. “We would stop in the middle lane on Sunset [Boulevard, in Beverly Hills] waiting for traffic and then go on,” he recalled. “I kept looking over, two or three mornings a week…eventually I said ‘hi’,” according to Country Living.
Both were divorced when they met. Edwards was in fact 13 years her senior but it didn’t matter. They made many projects together but some bombed like Darling Lili. “I knew that you couldn’t do hit after hit after hit,” she told the Hollywood Reporter, adding of Edwards, “We had bonded so much that it didn’t matter.” The 83-year-old wistfully remembers all of them as “great”.
Andrews, who thought it was “corny” then, thinks of her marriage as a “love story” now. In 2015, she told Good Morning Britain, that loss had still not left her. “We were married 41 years and it was a love story, it was. 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,” Andrews said. “I’m still dealing with [his death],” she said. “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.'” But, loved ones don’t really leave us ever, do they? “But he is in a way, I think one carries that love always,” Andrews added.
The couple had a blended family in the 1970s, something quite rare. Their family included Andrews’ daughter Emma and Edwards’ children, Jennifer and Geoffrey. They adopted daughters, Amy and Joanna, from Vietnam, in 1974 and 1975, respectively. Later in that decade, they just took a break from Hollywood and focussed on building their family. They moved to their home in Switzerland, a break that nourished both their creative souls.
Andrews doesn’t just love him for being her husband but respects him for his creativity. She called him “one of the bravest writers I know,” who exorcised his “demons” through writing. He understood the talents of his wife and created some of the best roles for her. When you love someone as much as he loved and understood her, you know what your partner is really capable of.