All About Mary Tyler Moore's Off-Screen Loves - and Finding Forever with Husband Robert Levine
Mary Tyler Moore, who died on Wednesday, was wed to husband Dr. Robert Levine for over 33 years
Moore, the girl “who could turn the world on with her smile,”was first married at age 18 to producer Richard Meeker. The couple walked down the aisle in 1955 and quickly started a family, welcoming son Richie the next year.
As Moore’s star rose, however, her relationship faltered. They divorced in 1961, only to reunite briefly in tragedy when their son accidentally shot himself to death decades later in 1980.
The Dick Van Dyke show actress was married again in 1962, this time to television executive Grant Tinker. The couple’s relationship was strained by Moore’s battle with type 1 Diabetes, but led to a successful production partnership through which The Mary Tyler Moore Show was born.
After 19 years, the pair formally called it quits, divorcing as Moore restarted her life in New York City.
It was in the wake of her son’s tragic death that Moore finally met the man that would steal her heart.
As fate would have it, when Mary’s mother fell ill with bronchitis in 1982, her regular doctor was unavailable. Luckily, Dr. Levine was on call, PEOPLE reported in 1984.
“After I’d seen her mom the second time,” Levine said of the serendipitous house call. “I said to Mary, ‘If there’s an emergency just get in touch with me.’ And Mary said, ‘Does acute loneliness count?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’ ”
A few days later, the pair went on their first date, and Moore fell hard – despite the 15-year age gap – a friend told PEOPLE at the time. They began spending every weekend together.
On Thanksgiving Eve in 1983, Moore and the cardiologist wed at Manhattan’s Pierre Hotel.
“Mary’s filled with joy because she and Robert are friends as well as loving each other,” Valerie Harper gushed to PEOPLE after their nuptials. “He makes her feel cherished. Both families are happy, too.”
Together, the couple dedicated their time and resources to the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, both serving on the international board of directors.
They were married for more than 33 years, and a rep for the actress told PEOPLE that Levine was by her side when she died.