Julie Andrews struggled between the two roles in her domestic life. She was a stepmom to Blake Edwards' kids and mother to her own biological daughter as well as two adopted kids.
There are moments in a woman's life when she is torn between her role as a mother and wife. It is not easy to navigate through that space, and many prioritize one over the other. Finding a balance can be harder than it seems. Especially, when you're raising a blended family. It means bringing together a lot of people who may not be friendly with each other but have to live together anyway.
Julie Andrews, 85, the star of Mary Poppins and The Sound of Music, has had an illustrious career, during which she worked hard on almost 50 projects as an actress. However, the role that made her work the hardest is going to surprise you.
"Marriage is a big up-and-down graph. It’s a wondrous thing, but it’s probably the hardest work I’ve ever done, I think. [That period] was a struggle—it’s hard because, being a mother, you know that you love your husband and you understand where he’s coming from, but you have such a strong bond with your kids [that] you want them to either understand or not be unhappy. It does pull one apart in many, many ways," she told Vanity Fair.
Andrews was married to the Pink Panther director and co-writer Blake Edwards for 41 years, until his death in 2010. She has a daughter, Emma Walton Hamilton, 58, whom she shares with her first husband, set designer Tony Walton. It was painful for Andrews to separate from her daughter when Emma had to go to spend time with Walton.
"I think the time when she had to leave and go back and live with her dad was a very difficult time for me as a mum, but I understood it so well. She, in her bighearted way, put it right very quickly. It didn’t break us apart or anything like that," she added. Andrews, who also grew up in a broken home, said, "I had the same things when I was a kid and wanted to be with my dad from time to time. I knew that, at some point, she’d have to go and spend some time and learn more about him, in a way, but it was a painful issue."
Andrews, who played the role of a soothing governess in Mary Poppins, didn't have a similar time in real life. People still hold her up to those standards. However, the actress tells NPR, "If only they knew how hard I was struggling as a real mum." Just like her, Emma had also been struggling.
Emma, who co-wrote her mother's memoir Home Work, said that they "moved around a lot ... because of her work taking her to various different parts of the world." She added, "I went to a number of different schools. I think I went to about seven different schools over the course of my childhood. And that was interesting because I finally found that if people found out who my mother was, they would tend to sort of want to be friends in order to get an invite over to the house, kind of thing." The 58-year-old said that she hid behind her maiden name for as long as possible to make some real friends.
After marrying Edwards, Andrews was a stepmom to his two kids from a previous marriage and the couple also adopted two more children, which would have divided her time among them.
Emma, who has been collaborating with her mother on various books, said that while her mom's attention was divided, so was hers. She had to spend time between her father and her mother, who lived on opposite coasts.
She said that she spent years in Europe with her mom while her dad was in New York. "So, I spent the school year with my mother and Blake and my stepbrother and sister and then my younger sisters and all of the summer vacations and Christmas and Easter vacations and school breaks with my father and my stepmother and my stepsister. And they were very different households. They were very different cultures. They were in different cities and different communities. And it was an interesting experience," she added.
As a mom, Andrews couldn't focus on anything beyond what was in front of her. "I was so busy working and raising my kids and being married to Blake Edwards eventually, it was an extremely busy life," she told Daily Mail. We can only imagine.