Gene Kelly's Widow Patricia Talks About Falling In Love With The Famous Dancer Even Though She Was 26 And He Was 73 At The Time

Date October 18, 2019

Gene Kelly and Patricia had one of those marriages where it's easy to judge from the outside. But it turns out to be much more than most people think.

First meeting

Patricia Ward Kelly described her first meeting with Gene Kelly as "surreal" while speaking with IrishTimes.

She said she was on her way to the ladies' room at the air and space museum when Gene came out of the men's bathroom. That was the first time she laid eyes on him.

At the time, Patricia was in Washington working on a documentary about the Smithsonian museum. Gene Kelly was the host narrator.

Falling in love with him

While speaking to StartsAt60, Patricia gave more insight into what it was like falling in love with the famous dancer.

She said that they worked together on the documentary but what started out as a working friendship turned to something more. And it didn't matter that there was a 47-year age gap between them.

Even though Gene Kelly was well-established at the time, Patricia said she didn't know who he was in the beginning.

Despite the fact that Patricia was 26 years old and Gene was 73, the two hit it off quickly. They bonded over a mutual love for wordplay and poetry.

When asked about when she realized she loved him, Patricia said:

I had feelings for him before I knew he was famous because I was completely enchanted by him by about the third day that I worked with him. I was knocked out, he was just such a fascinating man.

Patricia said that as soon as the relationship became public, people became more focused on their age difference than she was.

The irony was that I wasn’t even aware of it until everyone else made a big deal of it and it hit every tabloid front cover at the grocery store.

She said that many people made judgments and assumptions about their relationship. But these didn't stop the couple from forging ahead. And they had a beautiful relationship and marriage until his eventual death in February 1996.

Gene's legacy

While speaking to CBS Los Angeles in 2017, Patricia opened up about what it felt like for her to see Gene's works still being relevant years after his death.

Patricia, who launched the show Gene Kelly The Legacy, said that it has been fun for her to promote his "extraordinary" legacy and introduce her late husband's talents to the younger generation.

Gene and Patricia Kelly may not have been the conventional couple, but based on what she has said about him, they share a deep bond and love. Regardless of people's judgments, these two kept thriving until the very end. And that makes them a love story worthy of being celebrated.