Forbidden Romance, Bulimia and Cancer: What Hayley Mills Went through after ‘Pollyanna’

Comfort Omovre
Jun 09, 2019
07:31 A.M.
Share this pen

Hayley Mills’ rose to fame as a child star and is still popularly recognized for her work in the 1960 film “Pollyanna.” Read how she broke out of that picture of innocence that stuck to her as a child star. 


With the veteran star’s works in “Pollyanna,” “The Parent Trap,” “In Search of the Castaways,” and many others, it became tough to picture her starring in more mature roles.


Just like every other child star, she was a famous object of public scrutiny and has had a full life. The most shocking came when she was involved in a “forbidden romance,” which went on to become a public scandal at the time. 


At the age of 19, Hayley Mills fell head over heels in love with 52-year-old Roy Boulting. The huge age gap made the couple an unusual pair, but the most shocking part of it all was that Boulting was married at the time! 

It was of very sharp contrast to the beliefs many had of Mills’ innocent character. It all happened in 1966, and that proved to be the most infamous year for the young beauty as she debuted her first nude scene which the media labeled as being "morally unfit for children."


That, however, didn't prepare the world for her illicit affair with the veteran filmmaker who was a father of three at the time. Mills said in an interview with A&E:

"The fact that he was considerably older was probably part of the attraction, but not consciously, and having spent an awful lot of time with people much older than myself [on film sets, etc.] it didn't seem particularly odd or peculiar to me.”  

Despite the ill will they received from all sides, the pair tied the knot, stayed married for about six years and had a son, Crispian, born 1973. 



Mills’ controversial relationship with Boulton was not the end of her troubles as she revealed that finding fame so early put a very high pressure and ultimately resulted in Bulimia.


Following her “The Parent Trap” success, she became overwhelmed in her struggles with weight and body image issues and resorted to over-eating and then, bulimia.

In a 1997 interview with “Toronto Sun,” she detailed her terrible experience with bulimia disclosing that she battled it till about the time she birthed her first child. 


Just like she wanted, Hayley Mills, grew out of the Disney child star fame and went on to enjoy a mainly successful career in the film industry. However, with age comes several associated diseases, and Mills’ was cancer, one of the deadliest diseases yet discovered!


Aged 62, Mills was diagnosed of breast cancer in both of her breasts, and although she initially planned to keep it private, she publicly announced the diagnosis while speaking in a 2018 interview with “Good Housekeeping.”Mills said while speaking to “Daily Express":

“The cancer was a shot across the bows. It makes you realize, especially as you get older, how important it is to follow a good diet and have a healthy approach to life, to be relaxed and happy and laugh as much as you can.” 


After an on-and-off battle with the terminal disease, Mills received the good news of her cancer going into remission. On a victorious note, the sterling actress accrued the victory to the different approaches she used, as well as the love and support of her family. 


Her most recent works are in the 2010 film “Mandie and the Cherokee Treasure,” as well as the 2006 ITV drama series, “Wild at Heart” which came to a halt in 2012.