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HomeRelationshipsBarbara Bray Edwards: What Happened to Andy Griffith's First Wife? 

Barbara Bray Edwards: What Happened to Andy Griffith’s First Wife? 

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When Barbara Bray Edwards decided to get hitched to Andy Griffith, she never thought it would mean the loss of her independence. However, that’s precisely what happened. Her husband asked her to quit pursuing a career.

Then he abandoned her in their mansion while he chased other younger women, including his co-stars. It was only the beginning of the end of their marriage. In the years that followed, Barbara Bray Edwards came to regret her decision to marry Griffith and eventually sought a divorce. 

Keep reading to learn more about Edwards and the lengths her tumultuous relationship with Griffith drove her to. 

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Barbara Bray Edwards
Barbara Bray Edwards. (Source: Pinterest)

Who Is Barbara Bray Edwards?

Barbara Bray Edwards was born on August 17, 1826, in Wilson, Wilson County, North Carolina, United States. Her parents were James Spurgeon Edwards and Dixie Vance (Lamm) Edwards. 

Besides her parent’s names, little else is known about Edwards’ family or early life. She was not always popular, and her family was an average one. So there are almost no records available about them. 

While alive, Edwards was recognized by many as a popular performer and Andy Griffith’s first wife. She is also known for participating in “The Andy Griffith Show,” where she played Sharon. 

Edwards was at home in front of a camera, but what she excelled at was singing. She was a singer during her university days and was a good performer in the choir. Some of her musical works and credits include Santa Lucia, Olan Soule, Frances Bavier, and Reta Shaw. 

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How Did Barbara Bray Edwards Meet Andy Griffith?

Andy Griffith and Barbara Bray Edwards first crossed paths in college. At the time, he had been working his way up to a bachelor of music degree while she was a soprano and a fellow Chapel Hill classmate. 

Griffith graduated from college with a bachelor’s degree in music in 1949, and he married Edwards in the same year. The event was witnessed by close family members and friends only. 

The couple settled in Goldsboro, North Carolina, and Griffith became a music teacher in high school. Those first few years they spent together as newlyweds were the best years of their marriage, but neither knew it then. 

What Happened Between Andy Griffith and Barbara Bray Edwards? 

The pair enjoyed their early years as a couple by going on trips. One of the places they visited was New York City, where they contemplated starting a career in the music industry. 

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However, after singing at different auditions, Griffith was urged to focus on his day job. They returned to North Carolina without much success but never gave up. 

Andy Griffith
Andy Griffith. (Source: Pinterest)

Upon their return, they honed an act, and soon, “The Andy Griffith Show” was born. It won him fame, and in the aftermath, he bought fifty-three acres of land not far from “The Lost Colony” stage. 

The couple built a nine-room mansion there, and thus, their life as celebrities kicked off in full swing. Griffith had Edwards quit trying to make headway in her career to become a full-time housewife and mom to their adopted kids. 

Edwards was always vocal about how she would love to do more than care for the kids, but she was forced to accept that one breadwinner in the family was more than enough. As the years passed, Griffith’s stance about her work never changed, and she grew to resent him.

It quickly became a bone of contention in their marriage. It did not help matters, too, that as Griffith got more famous, his relationship with her suffered. 

Andy Griffith and Barbara Bray Edwards’ Divorce

When discussing her marriage to Griffith, Edwards revealed that being his wife was a tough job. She claimed she was in a constant state of giving and likened Griffith to an overgrown child who always needed his needs met. 

By the 1960s, the showman had gotten a smaller property where he would take women he was messing around with, all while married to Edwards. While married to Edwards, Griffith even went as far as proposing to his most beloved mistress, Aneta Corsaut, multiple times. 

Andy Griffith and Aneta Corsaut
Andy Griffith and Aneta Corsaut. (Source: Pinterest)

Corsaut turned him down, but only because she wanted to “keep her personal freedom.” As things progressed towards an inevitable end, Edwards turned to alcohol to deal with the turmoil and got hooked on it. 

After an accident left her bedridden for some time, Edwards decided to do something about what was happening in her life. She went to rehab, got sober, and then, in June 1972, filed for divorce from Griffith. It was finalized on October 16, 1972, and the pair parted ways, linked only by their adopted kids and jointly owned property. 

Barbara Bray Edwards Demise

After their split, Andy Griffith married two more times, but Edwards never tried marriage again. She was 53 years old when she passed away on July 23, 1980, in Los Angeles, California, USA. 

Edwards was buried in Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles County, California, USA. Other famous stars with failed marriages, like Andy Griffith, include Kanye West, Halle Berry, and Mariah Carey. 

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