Robert Levine has been known to the world as Mary Tyler Moore’s husband for the last 34 years, one who offered the beloved television star comfort and support while himself staying out of the spotlight.
Moore’s death on Wednesday has brought support from across the world of entertainment, with many co-stars offering their warm remembrances of the star of the Mary Tyler Moore show.
But Robert Levine has been mostly quiet, just as he has for the three decades of the couple’s marriage. In the hours after Moore’s death, her long-time representative released a statement (via Romper) confirming the news. It made a brief mention of Levine, but otherwise, the 65-year-old doctor offered no statement of his own.
Moore’s death has brought more attention to Robert Levine, with stories about his background and sharing some of the few pictures of the couple together on the red carpet. But Levine himself was not seen publicly after his wife’s death.
— People Magazine (@people) January 25, 2017
While their relationship has been strong for 30 years, Mary Tyler Moore and her husband seemed a bit of a mismatch. Moore was front-and-center, one of Hollywood’s most beloved stars. Levine was much quieter, with reputation as a cardiologist but decidedly not a celebrity.
Robert Levine was also just 30 when he walked the aisle with the 45-year-old Moore. As People magazine noted in a report at the time of their wedding, Mary Tyler Moore had seen her share of hardship in the years leading up to her third marriage. Her 21-year-old sister, Elizabeth, died of a drug overdose in 1978 and two years later her only child, 24-year-old Richard Meeker, took his life.
Moore’s 18-year marriage to NBC chairman Grant Tinker had also just come to an end in 1981.
And Mary Tyler Moore overcame more than just an age difference with husband Robert Levine. As friend and longtime co-star Valerie Harper noted in 1983, the two had a difference in religious beliefs as well — Moore was Roman Catholic, Levine is Jewish.
But though Harper said she had never seen Moore so happy, there were whispers at the time that Moore and Robert Levine were a strange match, People noted.
“Some of Moore’s other close chums have been less blissful about the prospective marriage. One intimate complains that Levine is ‘a big bore who’s never been around or done anything interesting. All he talks about is medicine. Besides, he’s unattractive.’ Adds another confidante: ‘I saw her entwined with that shlub on Columbus Avenue. What does she see in him?’ “
There were rumors of some difficulties for Mary Tyler Moore in her final years, as her health reportedly deteriorated. As Radar Online hinted, there were also signs of some trouble between Mary and Robert.
“RadarOnline.com has confirmed that the iconic actress called 911 nine times over the past seven months for a range of emergencies at her Greenwich, Conn., home, including ‘verbal disputes’ with her husband, crippling falls and broken bones!” the report noted.
But Mary Tyler Moore and her husband never showed any public signs of these alleged troubles, and Robert Levine was always by her side — but out of the spotlight — until the end.
[Featured Image by Vince Bucci/Getty Images]