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Married Andy Griffith Proposed to Co-star Several Times after Pressuring Wife to Quit Her Job to Raise Kids

Titi Dokubo
Mar 23, 2022
04:40 P.M.
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Before their marriage, Andy Griffith's wife, Barbara Edwards, was a dancer and singer. He became world-famous after his iconic show. Unfortunately, their marriage wasn't as perfect as his career.

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Barbara Edwards quit her promising career to lead a miserable and lonely life. She was abandoned by her husband in a lavish home with their young kids while he partied with other women.

Andy Griffith fell in love with his young Hollywood co-star, and they began dating secretly. Even though they tried to hide it, everyone knew about their fling. He even proposed to his mistress several times, but she refused to become his wife.

Photo of Andy Griffith for the movie "Winter Kill" [left], Aneta Corsaut and Andy Griffith on November 16, 1964 [center], Andy Griffith and Barbara Edwards circa 1965 [right] | Source: Getty Images

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Griffith's first wife had an alcohol addiction. Her addiction and his serial infidelity destroyed their marriage. They divorced, but he never married his lover.

After the divorce, Griffith bought a new house and married twice more, but Edwards never remarried. Here's a look into Griffith's life and relationships.

Photo of Andy Griffith on March 30, 1992 | Source: Getty Images

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Griffith wanted to be a preacher, and after graduating high school in 1944, he became a divinity student at the University of North Carolina.

He switched majors and graduated with a Bachelor of Music degree. While in school, he met Edwards, a fellow Chapel Hill classmate and a soprano.

Photo of Andy Griffith circa 1940 | Source: Getty Images

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After graduation in 1949, he and Edwards got married on August 26 of the same year and settled in North Carolina, where Griffith became a drama and music teacher in Goldsboro High School.

Later, the couple moved to New York City to start their music careers but moved back to North Carolina without success. The pair honed an act, Griffith made his breakthrough, and years later, he was hosting "The Andy Griffith Show."

Photo of Andy Griffith on March 30, 1992 | Source: Getty Images

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ANDY GRIFFITH'S FIRST MARRIAGE

Once Griffith became famous, he knew it was time to start a family, and so he bought fifty-three acres of land not far from "The Lost Colony" stage. There, the couple built a nine-room house.

During a live celebrity interview program, the interviewer, Edward R. Murrow, asked Edwards if she was still singing, dancing, or acting.

Edwards, who wanted to do more than just stay at home to take care of their adopted kids, said she wished she could do something but guessed one career in the family was enough.

Andy Griffith and Barbara Edwards posing for a picture on a sofa circa 1965 | Source: Getty Images

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With Edwards not working, it became a central tension in her relationship with Griffith. As Griffith's professional career thrived, his relationship with his wife was going downhill.

Tabloids labeled Griffith as a self-absorbed man and wanted Edwards to open up and disclose how she was coping. She revealed that being the wife of a comedian was a hard job.

She likened her husband to a child who wanted all his needs satisfied and that she was in a constant state of giving. Edwards said Griffith wanted the world to revolve around him.

Andy Griffith (center) with Barbara Edwards and Mervyn LeRoy (left) at the Screen Directors Dinner on February 2, 1957, in Los Angeles | Source: Getty Images

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She further stated that he was immersed in himself and didn't hear her. When a reporter called Griffith to give a statement, he admitted that he was arrogant.

When asked if he would mind if his wife returned to show business, he said 'certainly not.' However, he was not worried because she would not do that.

By the 1960s, Griffith, who loved acting and drinking, was already searching for partners outside his marriage and owned a small bungalow where he would take his partners. 

Andy Griffith, Don Knotts, and Ron Howard on "The Andy Griffith Show" | Source: Getty Images

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ANDY GRIFFITH'S EXTRAMARITAL AFFAIRS

On his show, Griffith began having affairs with some of his co-stars, and one of them was Joanna Moore, the future wife of Ryan O'Neal and mom of Tatum O'Neal. She starred in the show for only four episodes at the start of season three.

 

In 1963, when Aneta Corsaut joined the cast of "The Andy Griffith Show" as his on-screen girlfriend, they had a heated argument about feminism at their first encounter on set.

Aneta Corsaut and Andy Griffith on the set of "The Andy Griffith Show" circa 1965 | Source: Getty Images

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Her sharp tongue fascinated Griffith, and Corsaut believed that he respected her for standing up for what she believed in when others around him told him what they thought he needed to hear.

Corsaut majored in drama at Northwestern University and studied to be an actress with the father of method acting in America, Lee Strasberg.

Aneta Corsaut and Andy Griffith in an embrace on November 16, 1964 | Source: Getty Images

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When Corsaut joined the show, she was dating a respected writer, Jim Fritzell. Soon enough, Corsaut began dating Griffith and maintained her relationship with Fritzell because she could not choose between them.

Griffith would visit her bungalow almost every other day, and they tried to keep their relationship a secret. They would also spend time at a hotel.

Aneta Corsaut, Frances Bavier, Ron Howard, and Andy Griffith on "The Andy Griffith Show" circa 1965 | Source: Getty Images

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One day, one of the crew members dressed up as a waiter and delivered dinner to them at the hotel. Griffith was furious because he thought no one knew, but everyone did.

While he was married, he proposed to Corsaut more than once, but she wanted to "keep her personal freedom" and turned down all his proposals.

Even though he was sore at her for turning him down several times, Corsaut was the only one with whom he felt jealousy. The writers also mirrored their real-life into one of the episodes.

Aneta Corsaut, Ron Howard, and Andy Griffith on "The Andy Griffith Show" on August 1, 1965 | Source: Getty Images

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THE END OF A ROCKY MARRIAGE

Towards the end of Griffith's marriage with Edwards, his wife started to rely on alcohol. Her nephew, Mike King, said she was always drinking and sometimes sounded incoherent.

King recalled that Griffith and Edwards were fun to be around in 1962, but things had changed as Griffith was gloomy all the time with a meanness around him.

Andy Griffith and Barbara Edwards at a film premiere circa 1966 | Source: Getty Images

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A year before their split, Edwards had a bender that left her bedridden. However, she and Griffith were so estranged that the housekeeper called the doctor.

Her accident was the turning point she needed as she went to AA and became sober. The following June, she filed for divorce from Griffith, and they finalized their divorce on October 16, 1972, with the last nine years of their marriage being rocky.

Andy Griffith on the set of "Mod Squad," which aired on April 7, 1972 | Source: Getty Images

They shared the custody of their kids as Griffith got their son, Sam, and Edwards got their daughter, Dixie. However, the children continued spending their summers with Griffith.

Edwards kept their home, with Griffith having an easement for his antique cars at the back. A year later, Griffith bought a new home blocks away from the old one.

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