“Always remember darling, I need you…for you, I hope to do wonderful things in life. This is it—you and me and our family forever!” Those were the words that Kirk Douglas once told Anne Buydens. And forever is exactly what the two of them gave each other, along with a lifetime’s worth of love, according to Country Living.
Being a successful movie star, he tried all the tricks in the book to get her to go out with him when he met her in Paris in 1953. But Anne Buydens chose scrambled eggs over a candle-light dinner with a famous, not to mention, dashing, Hollywood hero. Kirk Douglas wrote for Los Angeles Times and said, “I thought, I’ll take this young beauty to dinner at the most romantic (and expensive) restaurant in Paris, La Tour d’Argent. She’s sure to approve of my taste and my ability to get a last-minute reservation. Once again, she turned me down. ‘No, I think I’ll stay in and have some scrambled eggs,’ she said.”
But seeing how she wasn’t impressed by the Kirk Douglas aura was exactly what impressed him. That’s what made him determined to win her over. And he eventually did. But things were complicated since he was engaged to actress Pier Angeli. Anne Buydens recalled, “When things got a little too warm between us, he’d say ‘Don’t forget, I’m engaged’. I said ‘I won’t forget.”’
But one day, when Kirk Douglas saw her packing her bags, he realized he’d be “lost without her.” He broke his engagement off and went on to marry Anne Buydens in May 1954. And that was the beginning of their six-decade-long marriage.
While the world only saw his tough side onscreen, Anne Buydens got to see his special, sensitive side. In one of the letters he wrote to her, he said, “Darling – How is it that when I am away from you, such love for you overwhelms me at 2:30 in the morning – as it is now – I awake to write to you… The early hour brings out the poetic side of me.”
In the book, Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter and a Lifetime in Hollywood, which contains intimate letters that the couple exchanged when they were young, she wrote, “Kirk never tried to hide his dalliances from me. As a European, I understood it was unrealistic to expect total fidelity in a marriage.” They had their “trysts” and kept in touch with former lovers, too, as reported by People. However, there was an unbreakable commitment that the two of them shared with each other.
Anne Buydens recalled her husband saying, “‘I promise, Anne, ‘as long as we both shall live, I will keep you safe’. It’s been sixty-two years as I write this, and Kirk has always kept his word.” They raised a wonderful family together, having two sons of their own, Eric and Peter, along with Joel and Michael from Kirk Douglas’s previous marriage.
Once, in 1958, he wrote to his wife and said, “If I live to be 100, there will still be so many things unsaid.” After he celebrated his 100th birthday on Dec. 9, 2016, his words still hold good as he said, “As I have now reached that milestone, I can attest that it is still true,” according to The New York Jewish Week.
The two of them have spent decades by each other’s side; he’s 103 years old now and she’s 100, and together, they’ve spent 65 married years by each other’s side. In a longlasting marriage like this, the toughest experiences only make your love stronger. Anne Buydens summed up her marriage and said, “After 60 years of marriage, you go through a lot of obstacles — and all of them are beautiful,” according to Woman’s World.
They vowed to never leave each other behind and that’s the secret that helped their relationship stand the test of time.
Kirk Douglas wrote, “A newly engaged friend asked, ‘Kirk, why did your marriage last so long?’ ‘That’s easy,’ I replied. ‘I just told my wife, if you ever leave me, I’m going with you!'”