While promoting her new memoir Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years, out this month, Andrews shared her experience with therapy during a recent appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert.
Mike Nichols Nudged Her Into Getting Help
The Sound of Music star said that a famous friend inspired her to seek help after separating from her first husband, set designer Tony Walton, in 1967.
“Sadly, I separated from my lovely first husband. And separations were always inevitable and the marriage was over and my head was so full of clutter and garbage,” she told host Stephen Colbert. “Believe it or not, it was Mike Nichols who really tipped me into wanting to go to therapy.”
Nichols, who directed The Graduate and The Birdcage, among others, had a certain quality that resonated with the young actress. “He was so sane, and funny and clear. He had a clarity that I admired so much. I wanted that for myself. And I didn’t feel I had it, so I went and got into it and it saved my life, in a way,” she told Colbert.
She said there was no harm in sharing her experience with therapy, especially if it could help someone else. “The truth is, Stephen, why not [share it], if it helps anybody else have the same idea? And these days, there’s no harm in sharing it. I think everybody knows the great work it can do, and anybody that is lucky enough to have it, afford it, and take advantage of it, I think it would be wonderful, yeah.”
“I’d Felt Like I Lost My Identity”
Losing her voice in 1997 was also difficult to cope with, she said in the October/November issue of AARP The Magazine. “When I woke up from an operation to remove a cyst on my vocal cord, my singing voice was gone. I went into a depression. I felt like I’d lost my identity,” she said.
The surgery resulted in permanent damage to Andrews’ iconic singing voice. She sued the hospital, Mount Sinai in New York, for malpractice in 1999 and settled with the hospital in 2000 for an undisclosed amount. The actress has tried to repair her singing voice through more surgeries, but had no success, according to the Daily Mail.
“That was just an extremely, acutely painful time. Not physically, but emotionally,” Andrews recently told Oprah Magazine. “The thing that I felt defined me, always, was that I was a soprano… I finally thought, ‘If I don’t do something else, I’m just going to go crazy.’ Because I’m not one to ever just be idle. I’m far too curious and interested.”
She found a different calling in writing children’s books with her daughter Emma. “So along came a brand-new career in my mid-60s,” Andrews told AARP. “Boy, that was a lovely surprise. But do I miss singing? Yes, I really do.”
Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years is now available.