Julie Andrews: ‘Family life protected me from casting couch horrors’

Julie Andrews

Julie Andrews avoided ‘casting couch’ sexual harassment in Hollywood as having a family put a “protective fence” around her.

Although she was an acclaimed Broadway star in the 1950s, Julie’s big break came when she filmed Mary Poppins, the role that won her an Oscar, shortly after giving birth to her first child, Emma, by her first husband Tony Walton, in 1962.

Speaking to The Guardian journalist Hadley Freeman, Julie says her dedication to family life with her daughter and her second husband, filmmaker Blake Edwards, gave her an air of unavailability that put off potential predators.

“I was certainly aware, Hadley, of tales about the casting couch,” the 84-year-old explains. “But I was so busy working and raising my kids and being married to Blake Edwards eventually, it was an extremely busy life, and to a certain extent that put a protective fence around me, I think.”

Explaining her dedication to bringing up Emma, with whom she has penned her memoirs, Julie says: “We were bonded from the beginning because of, well, so many reasons. Emma’s dad, my first husband, and I separated, and that helped us.

“I knew it was really important for me to make Emma’s childhood as normal as possible, even though it was incredibly abnormal in many ways.”

The star has now started her own podcast for families, Julie’s Library, with Emma – which is available here.