Dame Julie Andrews felt she lost her identity after losing her singing voice

The actress is best known for starring in hit musicals such as 'Mary Poppins', 'The Sound of Music' and 'Victor/Victoria'


Words: Steve Brown

Dame Julie Andrews felt she lost her identity after she lost her singing voice following an operation in 1997.

It would be very hard to come by someone who has not seen one of the many musicals the 84-year-old actress starred in including the likes of Mary Poppins, The Sound of Music and Victor/Victoria.

But back in 1997, the Princess Diaries star underwent an operation to remove what she thought were ‘non-cancerous nodules’ from her throat.

However, the surgery left permanent damage that destroyed her four-octave soprano singing voice. A lawsuit was settled in 2000 after she filed a malpractice suit against Mount Sinai Hospital, in New York.

She did not have cancer nodules but was suffering from a ‘certain kind of muscular striation [that] happens on the vocal cords’.

And in the October/November 2019 issue of AARP The Magazine, the actress reveals she sunk into a deep depression after losing her singing abilities.

She said: “When I woke up from an operation to remove a cyst on my vocal cord, my singing voice was gone.

“I went into a depression. It felt like I’d lost my identity.”

Luckily, she was given a new path and started penning children’s books with her daughter, Emma, but confessed she really misses singing.

“But by good fortune that’s when my daughter Emma and I had been asked to write books for kids,” added the mother-of-three.

“So along came a brand-new career in my mid-60s. Boy, was that a lovely surprise. But do I miss singing: Yes. I really do.

“I would have been quite a sad lady if I hadn’t had the voice to hold on to.

“The singing was the most important thing of all, and I don’t mean to be Pollyanna about how incredibly lost I’d have been without that.”