Dick Van Dyke On How Affair Put An End To His 36-Year Marriage: "I Needed To Be Honest"

January 13, 2020

Dick Van Dyke is a famous actor and comedian, whose career has spanned for seven decades. But he is not only famous for his work in the entertainment industry. His first marriage — as well as the consequential divorce — was the talk of tabloids.

On February 12, 1948, he married Margie Willett, whom he dated just for one month, on the radio show Bride and Groom. They had four children before divorcing in 1984 after a long separation.

But the thing that ended their long marriage was not the fact that they were young and clueless when they tied the knot. It was Van Dyke’s infidelity.

Unbearable guilt

While Margie and Dick were married, they both struggled with addiction: he battled with alcohol and she was addicted to prescription drugs. This made the two slowly drift apart. Around that time, Dick met former actress Michelle Triola.

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Van Dyke described the other woman in his life as feisty and smart. Unlike his wife, she was a part of the showbiz world and could understand him on a different level.

Their affair remained secret, but Van Dyke couldn’t bear to lie to his wife anymore as the guilt was eating him from the inside, so he decided to confess. The actor commented:

I was writhing in guilt. By 1976, I had to do something. I needed to be honest.

He told Margie the truth and the two split up after 36 years of marriage. Van Dyke moved in with Triola, and they lived together for more than 30 years until she passed away in 2009.

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New love

In 2012, Van Dyke married again. Younger make-up artist Arlene Silver stole his heart and became his second wife.

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The actor said that he needed a life partner and he found the perfect one. Now the two live together in Malibu, near the ocean.

Dick Van Dyke's first marriage and divorce was a talk of tabloids. Nevertheless, he happily lived with the former actress Michelle Triola for more than 30 years until she passed away.