UPDATE (2/1) — Mary Tyler Moore‘s heartbroken husband, Dr. S. Robert Levine, has spoken out for the first time after his wife’s tragic death. Her husband of 33 years, Levine was reportedly by her side on Jan. 25, when the Hollywood legend sadly passed away at age 80 from cardiopulmonary arrest after contracting pneumonia.
“I can’t believe she is gone. Mary was my life, my light, my love. The emptiness I feel without her with me is without bottom,” the 62-year-old cardiologist told People in a candid interview.
“She was a force of nature who fiercely defended her autonomy even as her health was failing. Mary was fearless, determined, and willful. If she felt strongly about something, or that there was truth to be told, she would do it, no matter the consequences,” he also said.
Moore met Levine–who is 18 years her junior–in the early 1980s after Levine was a fill-in doctor for Mary’s mother. They were married in November 1983.
“She was kind, genuine, approachable, honest, and humble. And she had that smile. Oh, to see her smile that smile, just once more,” he continued to People. “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,” Levine added.
How true his beautiful words are! Rest in peace, Mary. We’ll keep your beloved husband in our prayers.
(1/27/16) — When Hollywood legend Mary Tyler Moore sadly passed away Jan 25. at the age of 80, her husband, Dr. Robert Levine, was at her side. Turns out that was nothing new; Levine had been by her side through many of the actress’s ups and downs during their 33-year marriage, including diabetes, brain tumors, and alcoholism.
They were utterly devoted to each other, friends say. And, as it turns out, they had one of the sweetest love stories we’ve ever heard.
Moore was married twice before she met Levine, first to producer Richard Meeker and then to television executive Grant Tinker. In 1982–two years after the tragic death of her only child, 24-year-old son Ritchie–Moore finally met the man with whom she would spend the rest of her days.
The adorable way they met is making us smile through our sadness about Mary’s passing. The reason they came into contact? Pure serendipity: Levine was his future mother-in-law’s fill-in doctor.
Back in 1982, Moore’s mother, Marjorie, had gotten sick with severe bronchitis. The actress called her mom’s regular doctor, who was unavailable, and was instead connected with Dr. Levine, who was on call that day.
“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 in 1984. “And Mary said, ‘Does acute loneliness count?’ And I said, ‘Yes.’”
How sweet is that? We love a good cheesy pickup line, and we’re so impressed that Mary was the one to make the first move!
A few days later they made a dinner date, which led to many more dates. Soon, the actress was inseparable from Levine, who is 15 years younger than her.
Friends describe Levine as a deeply caring, supportive husband who traveled to be by Moore’s side while she filmed various projects over the years. He also stood by her side through her health struggles with both type 1 diabetes and alcoholism, both of which she has been open about. They also worked together to champion the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, a cause that was dear to Moore’s heart.
“He makes her feel cherished,” said Moore’s longtime costar and close friend Valerie Harper to PEOPLE. Harper was a bridesmaid at their 1984 wedding.
Farewell to a legend
Moore’s comedic talents and all-American beauty made her a Hollywood icon. The Emmy Award-winning actress’s star-turn in The Mary Tyler Moore Show, a 1970s comedy about the life of a professional single woman, was considered a cultural and feminist milestone.
Moore’s longtime rep, Mara Buxbaum, issued a statement to TMZ saying, “Today, beloved icon, Mary Tyler Moore, passed away at the age of 80 in the company of friends and her loving husband of over 33 years, Dr. S. Robert Levine. A groundbreaking actress, producer, and passionate advocate for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation, Mary will be remembered as a fearless visionary who turned the world on with her smile.”
NEXT: Aww! See the most romantic ways other celebrity couples first met.
Meryl Streep Don Gummer
Meryl Streep and Don Gummer
They first met through Meryl's brother, who was actually a friend of Don's. When she was going through a rough patch, Don saved her from homelessness and offered to have her stay in his loft while he was away. They wrote each other every day until he returned, and two months later, they got married.
David Beckham Victoria Beckham
David Beckham and Victoria Beckham
David knew he wanted to be with Victoria from the moment he first saw her performing with the Spice Girls on TV. He finally got to meet her at a football game and, according to Victoria, it was love at first sight.
“Yes, love at first sight does exist. It will happen to you in the Manchester United players’ lounge. While the other football players stand at the bar drinking with their mates, you will see David standing aside with his family. . . He’s going to ask for your number. (He still has the London-to-Manchester plane ticket on which you wrote it),” she wrote in a letter to her younger self.
Jennifer Aniston Justin Theroux
Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux
They first met while they were working on the movie Tropic Thunder. Jennifer was initially turned off by his appearance, but eventually, she realized he was a great guy!
“I remember thinking he was dark. At first you think he could be like a serial killer, but he is actually the nicest person in the world,” Jennifer said.
Candace Cameron Bure Valeri Bure 1
Candace Cameron Bure and Valeri Bure
Candace and her Full House co-star Dave Coulier were at a charity hockey game when she saw Valeri for the first time. She was drawn to him right away!
"We were looking at these two cute men on the ice, and I was like 'I wanna meet that one, the blonde one,' which was Val," she said.
Dave introduced them to each other and they went out on a date the very next day.
George Clooney Amal Alamuddin
George Clooney and Amal Alamuddin
The two actually met at a charity fundraising event through mutual friends. At first, Amal wasn’t interested in George, but he was pretty persistent until she finally agreed to give him a chance.
Reese Witherspoon Jim Toth 1
Reese Witherspoon and Jim Toth
Reese was having a fun night out at the bar when a drunk guy started harassing her. Thankfully, Jim came to her rescue and from that moment on, they hit it off.
"This really drunk guy was hitting on me, making such an idiot of himself, yelling at me. . . Jim came over and said, 'Please excuse my friend. He's just broken up with someone,'" she explained.
Fergie Josh Duhamel
Fergie and Josh Duhamel
After watching Fergie in a Black Eyed Peas music video, he asked the band to come on his show because he was really taken by her. After they agreed to perform, he got to meet her in person — not knowing that they’d eventually get married!
"I was really nervous and that was my moment of truth. I laid out my outfit the night before. It was a big build to the moment that I could finally talk to her. And all I could say was, 'You're hot,'" Josh explained.
Olivia Wilde Jason Sudeikis
Olivia Wilde and Jason Sudeikis
When they met at the finale of Saturday Night Live, it wasn’t love at first sight, but Olivia definitely felt a connection!
“I was just learning to be myself; I’d been divorced nine months. We were both seeing people but were single. . . He said very few words and couldn’t keep eye contact. He was so handsome, and he could dance,” she said.
Sarah Michelle Gellar Freddie Prinze Jr
Sarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr.
They first met while they were filming the movie I Know What You Did Last Summer, but they only started to date three years later. But get this — their first date was never planned!
“We had made plans for dinner with a mutual friend and the person canceled. We decided to have dinner anyway and never looked back,” Sarah said.
Vanessa Minnillo Nick Lachey
Vanessa Minnillo and Nick Lachey
The couple first met when Vanessa played Nick’s love interest in his "What's Left of Me" music video. Soon after that, they began to date.
Will Smith Jada Pinkett Smith 1
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith
They became close friends working together on a sitcom, but that friendship soon turned into romance!
"I met him when I was 19 at an audition for The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air. After we had known each other for many years, we went out for dinner one night and I saw that he had grown from this lanky kid to this really responsible man. We started courting each other and our friendship turned into romance," Jada said.
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