Betty Lynn was a television actress best known for playing the character of Thelma Lou on The Andy Griffith Show. Thelma Lou, who was the love interest of Don Knotts’ character of Barney Fife. When Don Knotts was signed on to work in films for Universal Pictures, there was no more need for Betty on the show. This hurt Betty for two reasons. Not only was she out of a job, but she could no longer be around her secret crush. This secret crush was none other than Andy Griffith himself, and the world didn’t learn the truth until the posthumous release of the actress’s memoir. Join Facts Verse as we explore how Betty Lynn took her Andy Griffith secret to the grave.
Betty Lynn Took a Shocking Secret to Her Grave
When Betty Lynn died in October of 2021, she was just finishing up her memoir. This memoir’s posthumous release to the public brought with it a shocking revelation. Apparently, Betty Lynn harbored a pretty major crush on Andy Griffith. Fans of The Andy Griffith Show will best recall Betty for her time playing the character of Thelma Lou on that classic series. Thelma Lou was the love interest of Barney Fife, who was played by Don Knotts. The on-screen relationship led many to wonder if Betty and Don ever hooked up during the production of the series. Don certainly tried to get his hands on Betty, though Betty was secretly pining for Andy.
Betty took her secret love for Andy Griffith to her grave, and the revelation sheds new light on an episode of The Andy Griffith Show by the name of “Cyrano Andy”. In the episode, Andy’s character posed as a romantic rival to Barney in order to fix a rift that had developed between him and Thelma Lou. Andy’s plot ended up paying off, with him professing his love for Thelma Lou in a dramatic way and her realizing that the man she truly wanted was Barney. Though this was simply great comedy for audiences at the time, looking at the scene knowing that Betty was secretly in love with Andy Griffith makes it all the more poignant.
Of course, there were reasons that Betty Lynn didn’t want her love for Andy Griffith to be known. Andy was married to first wife Barbara from 1949 to 1972, meaning that he was happily married throughout the duration of the period that he was working with Betty. The late Betty claimed that the closest she ever came to revealing her love to Andy Griffith was when she made a joke suggesting that she wished cloning was a real thing so that there could be one Andy for Barbara and another Andy for herself. Betty claimed that she had a good deal of respect for Barbara and that she had no intention of ever overstepping her boundaries. However, that didn’t stop her from fantasizing.
Betty Had a Hard Time Keeping her Love for Andy Inside
Though Betty Lynn kept her love for costar Andy Griffith inside, there were times when it leaked out. One such time was when a publicity photo was taken showing Betty’s hand resting on the actor’s knee. Spectators at the time had little reason to be suspicious about this photo. However, like the aforementioned “Cyrano Andy”, it appears much different in retrospect now that we know the truth about the actress’s love. The Andy Griffith Show came on the air in 1960, and Don Knotts left the series in 1965 after receiving an offer from Universal Pictures to work in the movies. Given that working in the movies is what Don had always aspired to do, few on the set of The Andy Griffith Show could hold a grudge when the actor took the opportunity. Betty Lynn was certainly one of many of Don’s costars on the series that was glad to see him succeed, though the departure of Don also meant that she was no longer going to be needed. Because of this, Don’s success proved bittersweet for Betty, and this was exacerbated by the fact that the actress was no longer going to have a reason to be around Andy Griffith.
Betty Lynn was heartbroken during the filming of her last episode of The Andy Griffith Show. She could be seen crying, though no one knew that part of the reason she was so sad was that she was secretly in love with Andy. Betty and Andy went their separate ways, with The Andy Griffith Show continuing for a few more years. They would work again a few decades later, though their interaction wouldn’t be so pleasant this time around. If you’re enjoying this video so far, be sure to hit the like button to show your support! Also, subscribe to the channel if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!
Betty Lynn Cherished a Parting Gift from Andy
Before her time on The Andy Griffith Show was up, Andy Griffith drew a portrait of the actress and signed it for her. Andy signed the portrait with an inscription saying that, although she had been Don Knotts’ on-screen love interest on the show, she should’ve been his. Though this sentiment was likely hyperbolic, it meant a lot to the actress. Betty held on to the portrait until her dying day, though no one knew the true reason why the painting and the inscription meant so much to her. The revelation of just how in love Betty secretly was with Andy over the course of her life is made all the more shocking when you realize that there was a period of around two decades when they weren’t on speaking terms.
Betty Once Refused to Talk to Andy for Two Decades
Betty Lynn didn’t find quite the career longevity after The Andy Griffith Show as Andy Griffith did. When Andy Griffith came back on the air with the successful series Matlock, he threw Betty a bone by casting her as the secretary of his titular character. However, Betty wasn’t too grateful given that the character that she was tasked with playing barely had any lines! When Betty politely asked Andy if there was any chance of the writers giving her character more lines, the actor allegedly ignored her. Then, as time went on, Betty began to receive even fewer lines.
Eventually, Betty realized that she had made a mistake by bringing the issue of her character having no lines up to Andy Griffith. However, by that point, it was already too late! She was ushered off of Matlock, and this incident caused the actress to not talk to Andy until 2008. Apparently, the thing that made Betty forgive Andy after two decades was the actor calling her up for some career advice. Andy had been offered the opportunity to play one of the leads in the 2008 romantic comedy Playing the Game, which was an opportunity that he went on to take. Before deciding to take on the role, though, Andy wasn’t sure. As he was pondering whether or not to take it, he decided to call up his old friend Betty Lynn. Playing the Game was a romantic comedy that showcased Andy as a man who was still getting down with the ladies, and the actor was possibly unsure about himself and his sexuality as he was entering into his final years.
If Andy Griffith was truly insecure during those final years of his life, there was no better person for him to turn to than the woman that had harbored a crush on him since his days on The Andy Griffith Show. Betty Lynn was so touched that Andy thought of her and wanted her advice that she decided to forgive him for the way things went down on Matlock. In addition, she seems to have boosted the actor’s confidence a good deal during the phone call. As we’ve already stated, he ended up taking his role in Playing the Game and performing the material with a great amount of confidence.
Betty and Andy Mended Their Friendship Just in Time
The triumph of Andy Griffith coming back onto the screen with Playing the Game was dampened by the actor’s subsequent death in 2012. Betty Lynn never got to tell the actor how she felt about him during his lifetime, but she at least got the chance to mend her friendship with him. Andy divorced from first wife Barbara in 1972, which meant that Betty could’ve technically come back into the actor’s life and let her love be known. However, by that point, she felt that too much time had passed. Andy remarried twice during his life, with his second marriage lasting from 1973 to 1981 and his third marriage lasting from 1983 until his death.
Andy Griffith was 86 years old when he passed away in 2012, and Betty Lynn was 95 when she passed away in 2021. While Andy married three times over the course of his lifetime, Betty Lynn didn’t marry once. The actress was engaged to the same man on several different occasions, but ended up calling things off for good once she realized that she was never going to be the main object of his desires. Besides being known for her work on The Andy Griffith Show, Betty Lynn remains notable for her prominent work in USO shows during World War II. This work occurred well before Betty was tasked with playing the character of Thelma Lou, and came as a result of the future star’s passionate patriotism as a teen. Betty was an interesting figure during her life, and the posthumous revelation of her secret love just makes her all the more endearing.
The Andy Griffith Show’s Betty Lynn took the secret of her love for that show’s titular star with her to her grave. Now it’s time to hear from you: did you know that Andy Griffith Show actress Betty Lynn was never married during her lifetime, and that she harbored a crush on that show’s titular star until her dying day? As always, like this video to show your support, and subscribe and hit the notification bell if you’d like to be among the first to know when more Facts Verse videos are on their way!