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Kirk Douglas Was 'Furious' after Wife Banned Him from Pals Trip Due to 'Strange Feeling' ⁠— She Saved His Life

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Jul 30, 2022
03:20 P.M.
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Kirk Douglas and his wife Anne Buydens had a long marriage that lasted almost 66 years. The couple had an unconventional marriage they were proud of. But one of the most memorable moments of their union was when she intuitively saved her husband's life.

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Kirk Douglas and his wife Anne Buydens were married for almost 66 years before he passed in 2020. However, the couple wrote the book "Kirk and Anne: Love Letters of Love, Laughter and a Lifetime in Hollywood," published in 2017, which looked into their long-lasting marriage.

Douglas and Buydens met in Paris on the set of "Act of Love." Buydens worked as a film publicist, and Douglas was a famous movie star.

Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens celebrating the actors nomination for an academy award in 1957. | Source: Getty Images

Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens celebrating the actors nomination for an academy award in 1957. | Source: Getty Images

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The actor describes the moment he first spoke to the publicist as "terrible" because Buydens did not agree to go to dinner with him; instead, she said she was "tired," Douglas said:

“She was the most difficult woman I ever met. I mean, I was a big movie star! And I invited her to dinner, and she said, 'Oh, thank you very much, but I’m so tired —'"

However, Buydens had a different memory of their first conversation. She said she was called into Douglas' office, who was looking for a bilingual publicist. Buydens was the perfect fit because she was fluent in French, German, and English.

Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens in Las Vegas 1954. | Source: Getty Images

Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens in Las Vegas 1954. | Source: Getty Images

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When Buydens got to the office, renamed "the lion's den," Douglas asked Anne out for dinner, but she refused and said she would eat scrambled eggs at home.

The rejection was unexpected for the movie star, but the film publicist knew exactly what she was doing at the time. Eventually, Douglas hired Buydens as his publicist and stopped courting her. Their relationship remained utterly professional.

The decision for Douglas to refrain from impressing his new publicist also inspired him to stop talking about himself and listen to what Buydens had to say.

Kirk Douglas in Rome 1962. | Source: Getty Images

Kirk Douglas in Rome 1962. | Source: Getty Images

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This epiphany got Buydens and Douglas more comfortable with one another. They started attending events together, and one significant one was a charity gala held at a circus.

Buydens recalled Douglas jumping into a fray and scooping elephant dunk in a tuxedo. It was an impressive moment for the publicist to see the movie star do something unexpected and funny like that.

For Douglas, the lesson in Buydens' authoritative nature was that "Anne didn't take a crap" the actor said he even added, "And she still doesn't" during an interview with the Today show.

Anne Budyens and Kirk Douglas in London 1960. | Source: Getty Images

Anne Budyens and Kirk Douglas in London 1960. | Source: Getty Images

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The film publicist finally agreed to date Douglas in 1954. Buydens was the one to question the actor's business management, which eventually revealed that Douglas was broke.

Buydens said, "I am going out with a man that's poor," and realized none of the lavish lifestyles was financed by his salary, but it was the allowances given to him by Hollywood.

However, the actor tapped into the business knowledge his father had passed down and called in a few trusted business contacts that helped him invest his money better.

Kirk Douglas in the film "Spartacus" 1960. | Source: Getty Images

Kirk Douglas in the film "Spartacus" 1960. | Source: Getty Images

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When Buydens and Douglas started dating, he was secretly engaged to actress Pier Angeli. The film publicist and author recalled times when "things would get heated" between them, and Douglas would remind her he was still engaged.

However, secrecy was not the destination that Buydens had in mind for her relationship with Douglas.

The movie star also admitted that what he had with Buydens was more than love, even though it took a while to break off his engagement.

Kirk Douglas, Anne Buydens and their son Peter Douglas in Los Angeles 1957. | Source: Getty Images

Kirk Douglas, Anne Buydens and their son Peter Douglas in Los Angeles 1957. | Source: Getty Images

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Eventually, Douglas called it quits with Angeli because Buydens had threatened to leave him, and at that moment, the actor realized he would be "lost without her."

Douglas and Buydens got married in May 1954. They welcomed two sons, Peter and Eric, who joined the two children Joel and the famous academy award-winning actor, Micheal Douglas, from his previous marriage with Diana Dill.

INSIDE THE COUPLE'S UNCONVENTIONAL MARRIAGE

Anne Buyden and Kirk Douglas in Paris 1980. | Source: Getty Images

Anne Buyden and Kirk Douglas in Paris 1980. | Source: Getty Images

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Douglas and Buydens had their unconventional ways of keeping their marriage going. The actor was also open about his infidelities during his marriage, and his publicist wife was aware of it all.

In their co-written book, Buydens wrote about her acceptance of her husband stepping out of their marriage; she said:

“Kirk never tried to hide his dalliances from me. As a European, I understood it was unrealistic to expect total fidelity in a marriage.”

Buydens also wrote about an incident she had with a former lover. She had decided to visit him in his hotel suite in Paris while she waited for her American citizenship to be approved.

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Anne Buydens in Beverley Hills 2008. | Source: Getty Images

Anne Buydens in Beverley Hills 2008. | Source: Getty Images

Buydens said she found the man intoxicated, and he begged her not to return to her husband, Douglas. Things got scary when the man threatened to take his own life and burned Buydens with a cigarette to "make sure Douglas does not want her anymore."

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However, the film publicist said she called in a doctor to sedate her ex-lover and treat the scar on her face.

When Buydens told the story to her husband, she recalled Douglas holding her in his arms and saying, "I promise Anne, as long as we are both alive, I will keep you safe." Sixty-six years later, Douglas kept his promise to his wife.

Anne Buyden and Kirk Douglas in Beverley Hills 2012. | Source: Getty Images

Anne Buyden and Kirk Douglas in Beverley Hills 2012. | Source: Getty Images

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The busy lifestyle of a movie star, while Buydens had taken time off work to be with the children, left the couple apart for long periods.

The publicist suggested that Douglas take a commercial flight and emphasized he would not be getting on Todd's plane.

Therefore, during this time apart, Douglas and Buydens would write each other letters about their day and how they felt.

Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens in California 2009. | Source: Getty Images

Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens in California 2009. | Source: Getty Images

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The book "Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter and a Lifetime in Hollywood" was initially meant to be a different book of all the letters Douglas had received from famously respected people such as Barack Obama, Frank Sinatra, and more.

But Buydens brought out a box with all the letters they had exchanged, and the book became about their love story.

HOW ANNE SAVED KIRK'S LIFE

Anne Buyden and Kirk Douglas in Beverley Hills 2004. | Source: Getty Images

Anne Buyden and Kirk Douglas in Beverley Hills 2004. | Source: Getty Images

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Douglas was close friends with director Mike Todd. In the book "Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter and a Lifetime in Hollywood," Douglas wrote of the time he was meant to present Todd with an honorary award in New York.

Todd and Mike were playing "their usual tennis match," and the director suggested they take a private plane to New York and stop in Missouri to visit Hary Turman.

It all sounded like fun to Douglas, but when he excitedly told his wife about the trip, she immediately forbade him to go.

Mike Todd in London 1957. | Source: Getty Images

Mike Todd in London 1957. | Source: Getty Images

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Buydens was six months pregnant with their second child and said she needed her husband to be there.

The publicist suggested that Douglas take a commercial flight and emphasized he would not be getting on Todd's plane. Buydens said:

“I don't know what came over me, but I had a strange feeling. 'Absolutely not, Kirk. I don't want you on that plane. You can fly commercial and meet him there.'"

Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens in Los Angeles 2017. | Source: Getty Images

Kirk Douglas and Anne Buydens in Los Angeles 2017. | Source: Getty Images

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The conversation turned into a big argument. Although Douglas caved and did not end up with Todd, he was still upset.

The following day the couple recalled, loading the car to head to Los Angeles. As the tension from the fight continued, Buydens decided to turn up the radio, and the death of Todd was announced.

Todd's plane had crashed in New Mexico and left no one alive. In complete shock, Douglas recalled:

"I pulled onto the shoulder of the road immediately. Shakily, I got out of the car. Anne joined me. We stood, wrapped together in a strong embrace, tears streaming down our faces. Finally, I said, 'Darling, you saved my life. I will always trust your intuition from now on.'"

The fight between Douglas and Buydens quickly became a moment of appreciation.

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