Mary Tyler Moore's loving husband of 33 years, Robert Levine stayed by her side until her death on January 25, 2017, at the age of 80 and considers it his privilege to "care for her."
Mary Tyler Moore’s love story with New York-based cardiologist Robert Levine is one for the ages. The TV icon called the doctor serendipitously when her mother was ill one night in 1982. She first called her regular doctor but they were unavailable. When Levine arrived to tend to her mother he didn't view Moore as a star because he did not know how big her TV shows were. "After I'd seen her mom the second time, I said to Mary, 'If there's an emergency, just get in touch with me,' " Levine told PEOPLE in 1984 of the house call. "And Mary said, 'Does acute loneliness count?' And I said, 'Yes.' "
Mary Tyler Moore and her husband, Dr. Robert Levine, were married for more than 30 years before her death in 2017.https://t.co/5hWxu59YWg— TODAY (@TODAYshow) May 24, 2023
A few days later they went on a dinner date and the rest as they say was history. Moore had been married twice before she met Levine, 15 years her junior, and had just lost her son two years prior, 24-year-old son Richie. The actress was going through a rough time in her life but little did she know Levine was going to be her rock for the next few decades. Her loving husband of 33 years stayed by her side until her death on January 25, 2017, at the age of 80. The actress had been on a ventilator and had been hospitalized with pneumonia due to complications from diabetes.
Recently her husband opened up about how he is honoring his wife whom he called "reserved." According to TODAY, he called her "my Mary" and said she was "still with [him] every day." With health issues like diabetes, Moore also suffered from alcoholism. Through it all her husband stood by her side.
"She is not what you would call an alcoholic," Levine told PEOPLE. "But it was my feeling, shared by Mary's doctors, that drinking was dangerous to her — the type of drinking that Mary does, which is basically social drinking. It was I who said, 'Hey, maybe the drinking is affecting your diabetes,' " he recalled.
One of the most painful moments in her life involved the death of her son, a tragedy she kept "in a dark room. She didn’t want to touch that pain," her husband said. He added that he considered it his role and privilege "to be her protector and care for her and hold her.”
Moored later credited her husband for helping to pull her out of dark places in her life. "My husband has always been very good at getting me out of myself when I get down and depressed and all of that — never seriously," she told Entertainment Tonight in 2013. "So, I am basically a very happy person."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Photo by Evan Agostini