'The Mary Tyler Moore Show': Why Did Mary Tyler Moore and Grant Tinker Divorce?
The Mary Tyler Moore Show is one of the most beloved shows from the ’70s. Mary Tyler Moore starred as Mary Richards, a woman in her early 30s who remained unmarried and career-driven. But in real life, Moore wasn’t unmarried. She actually wed three times, with her marriage to Grant Tinker being one of the most notable.
So, why did Tinker and Moore ultimately divorce? Here’s what we know.
Mary Tyler Moore married Grant Tinker in 1962 after divorcing her first husband
Moore wasted no time after high school before tying the knot. Heavy notes she graduated Immaculate Heart High School in Los Angeles when she was 18, and she married Richard Carleton Meeker, who was 28. Meeker and Moore ultimately had a son together, but they couldn’t make their relationship last. They divorced in 1961, six years after marrying.
While Moore divorced in 1961, she married again in 1962. Brides noted Tinker and Moore formed the production company, MTM Enterprises, in 1970. MTM Enterprises were the ones to bring The Mary Tyler Moore Show to life.
Unfortunately, it seems Moore jumped in too quickly with Tinker. People notes she wrote about Tinker in her autobiography, After All:
I wish I had gone beyond the loneliness I sometimes felt and taken a look at myself before grasping the very good-looking hand that Grant A. Tinker extended. He was handsome, witty, and educated. He was in a power seat too. What could have been more irresistible to an insecure, career-obsessed daddy-seeker?
Moore said her relationship to Tinker felt ’empty’
Moore and Tinker seemed to have it all, as they found a ton of success with The Mary Tyler Moore Show. Unfortunately, Moore didn’t feel fulfilled by her relationship with her husband.
“He had just been offered a job in programming at NBC, and he was thrilled,” she wrote in her memoir, according to People. “I said to him at the time, ‘I bet we’re going to be television’s golden couple.’ What I didn’t see then was how empty the relationship would become.”
Moore continued on and explained she and Tinker were constantly working. And their arguments grew worse over the years. “One night in 1973, after dinner and an argument, he said he thought we should separate, that we had ‘poisoned the marriage,’” Moore added. And this resulted in her dropping to her knees and having a childlike tantrum she was “never allowed as a child.”
Moore and Tinker ended up splitting for six weeks and moving back in together in Beverly Hills. But Moore ended up having an affair, and Tinker moved on as well. “When I returned to Los Angeles for Christmas, I found out there was someone else in Grant’s life now,” she wrote. “We’d moved on in mute concert.” They divorced in 1981.
Moore married Robert Levine in 1983
Moore’s love story didn’t end with Tinker. She eventually moved on with physician Robert Levine. People notes they met in 1982 after Moore’s mother was in the hospital and receiving treatment from Levine.
“After I’d seen her mom the second time, I said to Mary, ‘If there’s an emergency, just get in touch with me,’” Levine told People back in 1984. “And Mary said, ‘Does acute loneliness count?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’”
While Levine was 15 years younger than Moore, they fell hard and fast in love. “He’s genuinely caring,” producer Emanuel Azenberg said of Levine. “There’s no question they’re in love. They both have too much integrity to stay with the relationship if they weren’t.”
Moore ultimately died in January 2017 at the age of 80, and she was survived by Levine. “I can’t believe she is gone,” Levine said, according to People. “Mary was my life, my light, my love. The emptiness I feel without her with me is without bottom. … As long as we all remember her, talk about her, share our stories about her, and what she meant to us, her light will never go out.”
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