Andy Griffith rose to fame as the star of The Andy Griffith Show and continued his prestigious career on Matlock. He cultivated a charming persona that made fans view him as the kind of man they’d want to befriend.
The “real Andy” didn’t meet these expectations. In addition to being intensely private and often rude, he was a notorious womanizer. He marries 3 different times, proving that even the Sheriff of Mayberry can struggle to find true love.
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The Real Andy Griffith
Andy Griffith cultivated a wholesome image while playing Andy Taylor. Everyone saw him as an amicable man that everyone would love to spend time with.
Andy once said that he created the Sherrif of Mayberry based on the best parts of himself. The character was so loveable because he left out all of the unfavorable parts of his personality.
Those who knew the actor would admit that the truth never could quite match his idealized image. Unlike his kind and laid-back character, he could be rude and arrogant to interviewers and fellow cast and crew. Although he did speak to the press more than once, he was also intensely private and didn’t want the details of his personal affairs getting out to the public. This may be why many fans may not know about his romantic life.
Andy developed a reputation as a womanizer, but that didn’t mean he never felt shy or insecure. He admits that talking to new women was “one of the most difficult things you can do.”
Personality issues and a bit of insecurity weren’t enough to stop a massive star like Andy Griffith. He still managed to maintain an unmistakable, undeniable charm that helped him find romantic relationships.
Andy marries 3 times, and each one becomes a unique anecdote in the tale of his life. The relationships were simultaneously passionate, mysterious, and loving. It took him several decades to find true love, but he grew from each broken marriage.
Andy’s First Wife
Andy Griffith and Barbara Edwards met at the Carolina Playmakers Repertory Theater at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill. He went to college for music and happened to meet her there while they were both performing in a production of The Lost Colony.
Andy’s daughter Dixie revealed what attracted her father to his first wife in an interview. Not only is she beautiful, but he starts with her operatic soprano voice.
Andy went to college and married Barbara the year he graduated on August 26, 1949. They settled in Greensboro, North Carolina, where he found work as a music teacher at a local high school. It was enough to pay the bills, but it wasn’t how either of them wanted to spend the rest of their lives.
The couple worked to save enough money to move to New York and chase their dreams of stardom, but they were unable to find success there. When the 26-year-old Andy starts auditioning, he they say not to quit his day job. Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more on this television icon. Watch our video to learn the truth about Andy Griffith’s broken marriages.
Andy and Barbara eventually moved back to North Carolina to try a simple, more affordable lifestyle. The change affected them both but never led them to give up on their dreams. They performed together at community centers throughout the state as a husband and wife duo for several years.
Andy developed the hit standup routine What It Was, Was Football during one of these shows in 1953. It sold more than 9000 copies, became one of the world’s most popular comedic monologues, and catapulted him into stardom.
After The Andy Griffith Show came into being, Barbara received a small cameo in it. She was the only one of his 3 wives to receive such an honor. She was able to show off her singing skills as a member of the Mayberry choir in 1 episode of the 4th season. It is the only television credit she earns.
Andy and Barbara also started a family together. They adopted 2 children, Dixie and Andy Griffith Jr. They were the only children that Andy ever had.
Barbara and Andy’s relationship began to falter when his shows became TV staples. She had trouble dealing with the trappings and bright lights of fame. Tensions grew between the couple as his fame grew and she failed to succeed in the music industry.
Personal struggles weren’t the only strain on the couple; their lifestyle was also unsustainable. They drank excessively when they were together, and Andy allegedly had a wandering eye. There was never any proof that he was unfaithful, but these actions would be in line with his womanizing reputation.
These struggles were eventually enough to split the couple up. They married for 23 years but divorces on October 16, 1972.
He earned custody of Andy Griffith Jr., also known as Sam., who tragically died in 1996 of complications from alcoholism. She won custody of Dixie and cared for her for the rest of her life.
Barbara was remarried to Michael St. Clair only a few weeks later. Andy was married 2 other times.
Barbara Griffith died peacefully in Beverly Hills on July 23, 1980, at the age of 53. She’s survived by her daughter Dixie.
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Andy’s Second Wife
Andy’s shortest relationship started when he began dating Solica Casutto in 1973, a year after his first divorce. She was a beautiful Greek actress famous for her performances in films in her native country.
Ken Berry wrote in his book Andy and Don: The Marking of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show that “a more unlikely couple you never saw.” He was a conservative country boy and she was a Latina “flower child.”
Andy and Solica gave their relationship a try despite their personal and cultural differences. They had a simple backyard wedding in 1973. A harp played in the background as they stood together and exchanged their vows. They went on a honeymoon together as well, though it’s unknown exactly where they traveled to.
The backyard wedding was also a way for the couple to honor the first home they’d shared. It was previously owned by Bing Crosby, and Andy said they liked to play his records and pretend he was singing in their shower.”
Andy called Solica a great wife who put up with and cared about him and his children. He respected her, but it took some time for him to feel comfortable enough to bring her back home to meet the family.
In 1977, they finally traveled to his hometown of Mt. Airy, North Carolina. They enjoyed the peace and quiet and time away from the spotlight. When asked by the press what they would do for fun in his small town, he responded that they could fish. The actor had perhaps never seemed more like his onscreen character than he did at that moment.
The couple’s personal and cultural differences eventually tore them apart. They were divorced in 1981. Little else is known about their 8-year marriage, perhaps because Andy wanted to keep as much of his private life a secret as possible. Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more on this television icon. Watch our video to learn the truth about Andy Griffith’s broken marriages.
Andy’s Third Wife
Andy Griffith and Cindi Knight met on the set of Murder in Coweta County. They began to develop a connection while working on the film together.
Early in her life, she moved from Jacksonville Florida to Hollywood to pursue an acting career. She only received one other role in the TV series Matt Huston, but Cindi found something more important than success; true love.
The couple was married on April 2, 1983. He was 56 and she was only 27, but the age gap never seemed to bother them. They were married for 29 seemingly blissful years.
During their first year of marriage, Andy was diagnosed with a neurological disorder known as Guillain-Barre syndrome. The condition left him unable to walk for 7 months. He had to endure 6 months of private rehab before returning to acting in the hit show Matlock.
Cindi stayed by him then and through every other medical issue he struggled with. She was there during his quadruple bypass in 2000 and hip surgery in 2007.
Andy’s health problems became unbearable one painful night. He’d been ill for hours but was trying to push through the pain. When he attempted to get into his wheelchair and go outside, he had a heart attack and collapsed.
Cindi rushed to his side and called 911 for help. She noted that he was drooling from the side of his mouth and had no pulse. The paramedics came as quickly as possible, but they were unable to resuscitate him. Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more on this television icon. Watch our video to learn the truth about Andy Griffith’s broken marriages.
Andy Griffith was declared dead on July 3, 2012.
Andy had purchased a home in Roanoke Sound in North Carolina where he lived for many years. He reportedly wanted it to be preserved but, for unknown reasons, his wife asked for a permit and had the house demolished after his death.
Despite this unexpected action, Andy Griffith’s marriage to Cindi Knight was the most enduring and stable of his entire life. She permanently put an end to his womanizing ways and, despite being private people, they weren’t too shy to express their love to the press.
Cindi made a statement to WOSC-TV after Andy’s death saying that he truly was the love of her life. He said in a 2008 interview with the Virginian Pilot that she was the light of his life. He also asserted that “I’m not just saying that ‘cause I have to” and that she’d always been “something else.” Like and subscribe to Facts Verse for more on this television icon. Watch our video to learn the truth about Andy Griffith’s broken marriages.
Andy Griffith’s true personality didn’t match up with the wholesome image he presented on TV. Despite his insecurities and occasional rudeness, he managed to win over 3 women throughout his lifetime. His final marriage was the most enduring and last until the end of his life.
Which of Andy’s 3 wives do you think made the most surprising match? Let us know in the comments below. Like and subscribe to FactsVerse for more on the love lives of your favorite stars.