The marriage between Kirk Douglas and his wife Anne Buydens was a successful one that lasted for over 66 years. The marriage that the couple had was not traditional, and they took pride in that fact. However, one of the most significant and life-changing events that occurred throughout their marriage was when she miraculously prevented the loss of her husband.
Before his loss in 2020, Kirk Douglas and his wife Anne Buydens had been married for over 66 years when he passed away. On the other hand, the pair has written a book titled “Kirk and Anne: Love Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood,” which was released in 2017, and it is an examination of their lengthy marriage.
On the set of “Act of Love” in Paris, Douglas and Buydens first crossed paths. Buydens was employed in the film industry as a publicist, and Douglas was a well-known actor.
The actor says that the first time he talked to the publicist was a “bad” experience because Buydens did not agree to go to dinner with him. Instead, she told him that she was “tired,” Douglas said:
“She was the most challenging lady I had ever come across. I mean, I was a famous movie star back in the day! And when I asked her to dinner, she responded by saying, “Oh, thank you very much, but I’m so exhausted —”
On the other hand, Buydens had a dissimilar recollection of the first chat they had. She said that she was contacted by Douglas’s office, which was searching for a publicist who was fluent in both English and Spanish. Buydens was the ideal candidate since she was able to communicate well in English, French, and German.
Douglas invited Anne out for dinner when the Buydens arrived at the workplace, which had been christened “the lion’s lair.” Anne declined and explained that she would eat scrambled eggs at home instead.
The movie actress was taken aback by the news of her rejection, although the film publicist was well aware of what she was doing at the time. After some time, Douglas decided to recruit Buydens as his publicist, at which point he ceased pursuing her romantically. Their interaction was very businesslike at all times.
The realization that it was not in his best interest to impress his new publicist motivated Douglas to abstain from talking about himself and instead concentrate on what Buydens had to say.
Buydens and Douglas were able to feel more at ease with one another as a result of this realization. They began going to events together, and one of the most memorable of them was a charity gala that was hosted in a circus.
Buydens said that Douglas jumped into the middle of the melee while wearing a tuxedo and scooped an elephant dunk. The publicist found it to be a remarkable moment when the movie star did something unexpected and hilarious like that.
During an interview on the Today program, actor Michael Douglas said that the most important thing he learned from Buydens’ authoritative personality was that “Anne didn’t take a dump.” The actor went on to say that he added, “And she still doesn’t.”
In 1954, the film publicist gave in and agreed to go on a date with Douglas. Buydens was the one who raised concerns about the actor’s business management, which ultimately led to the discovery that Douglas lacked any financial resources.
Buydens stated, “I am going out with a guy that’s poor,” and then she understood that none of the extravagant lives were funded by his pay, but rather by the allowances granted to him by Hollywood. “I am going out with a man that’s poor,” she added.
On the other hand, the actor took use of the business acumen that had been handed down to him by his father and reached out to a few reliable business connections for assistance in improving the way that he invested his money.
During the time that Buydens and Douglas were dating, he had an actress named Pier Angeli as his secret fiancée. The novelist and film publicist described instances when “things would become hot” between them, and Douglas would remind her that he was still engaged at the time.
Despite this, Buydens never intended for her relationship with Douglas to develop into one that was shrouded in mystery.
Even though it took some time to break off his engagement, the famous actor also stated that what he shared with Buydens was more than love. Buydens was his girlfriend at the time.
After some time, Douglas ended his relationship with Angeli because Buydens had threatened to leave him. At that precise moment, the actor recognized that he would be “lost without her,” thus he made the decision to end the relationship.
In May of 1954, Douglas and Buydens exchanged vows and became husband and wife. They became parents to two boys, Peter and Eric, who joined their already-established family, which included Joel and Micheal Douglas, winner of an Academy Award, and the actor’s two children from a previous marriage to Diana Dill.
Both Douglas and Buydens contributed in their own unique ways to the atypical maintenance of their marriage. The actor was also quite upfront about his extramarital affairs while he was married, and his wife, who was a publicist, was aware of everything that went on.
Buydens talked about her acceptance of her husband’s decision to break out of their marriage in the book that they co-authored together. In it, she said:
“Kirk never made an effort to conceal his dalliances from me,” she said. Because I was raised in Europe, I was aware that it was unreasonable to expect complete loyalty in a marriage.
Buydens also wrote about an experience she had with an ex-lover in one of her pieces. During the time that she was waiting for her application for American citizenship to be processed, she made the decision to pay him a visit at his hotel room in Paris.
Buydens said that she discovered the guy to be inebriated, and he pleaded with her to not go back to her husband, Douglas. When the guy threatened to take his own life and burnt Buydens with a cigarette to “make sure Douglas does not want her anymore,” the situation became quite ominous.
However, the film publicist said that she contacted a doctor to fix the scar on her ex-face lover’s and sedate her so that the doctor could cure the wound on her face.
Buydens said that although Douglas was holding her in his arms and telling her, “I promise Anne, as long as we are both alive, I will keep you safe,” when she related the tale to her husband, Douglas was the main character. After sixty-six years had passed, Douglas honored the commitment he had made to his wife.
Because Buydens had taken time off work to be with the children, the couple was forced to spend extended amounts of time apart as a result of the hectic lifestyle of a movie star.
The publicist recommended that Douglas take a commercial flight and made it clear that he would not be boarding Todd’s jet at any point during their conversation.
Therefore, in order to keep in touch with one another throughout this time apart, Douglas and Buydens would send letters to one another describing what they did and how they were feeling.
The book that was eventually published under the title “Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood” was originally intended to be a different book that collected all of the letters that Kirk Douglas had received from well-known and respected individuals, including Frank Sinatra, Barack Obama, and others.
But Buydens produced a box containing all of the letters that they had sent to one another, and the book evolved into an account of their courtship and love affair.
Mike Todd, who later became a filmmaker, was a close friend of Douglas. In the book “Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter, and a Lifetime in Hollywood,” Kirk Douglas recounts an incident in which he was supposed to bestow an honorary award upon Anne Todd in the city of New York. Douglas was unable to do so.
While Todd and Mike were engaged in “their customary tennis battle,” the director offered the suggestion that they charter a private jet to New York and make a pit stop in Missouri to pay a visit to Hary Turman.
Douglas thought that everything was going to be a lot of fun, but when he eagerly informed his wife about the trip, she instantly forbids him to attend. Douglas was disappointed.
Buydens was pregnant with their second child and indicated that she wanted her husband to be there. Buydens was six months along in her pregnancy.
The publicist recommended that Douglas take a commercial flight and made it clear that he would not be boarding Todd’s jet at any point during their conversation. Buydens said:
“I have no idea what possessed me, but I had a peculiar sensation. ‘Absolutely not, Kirk. That airplane should take off without you. You may take a regular flight and then meet him there.’”
A heated dispute emerged from the previous chat. Despite the fact that he gave in and did not wind up with Todd, Douglas was still frustrated.
The couple claimed that the next day, they prepared to leave for Los Angeles by packing their belongings into their vehicle. Buydens made the decision to crank up the volume on the radio as the tension from the conflict continued to build. During this time, the news that Todd had passed away was broadcast.
There were no survivors of the disaster that occurred in New Mexico involving Todd’s jet. In utter disbelief, Douglas remembered the following:
“Without wasting any time, I pulled over to the side of the road. I got out of the automobile in a shaky manner. Anne joined me. As we stood there, our arms tightly clasped around one another, tears were running down both of our cheeks. In the end, I told my sweetheart, “Darling, you saved my life.” I’m going to start putting more stock in your gut instinct from now on.’”
The conflict between Douglas and Buydens evolved into a touching display of gratitude very fast.