Julie Andrews on How Her Daughter Helped Her Cope With the Loss of Her Singing Voice

It’s impossible to think about Julie Andrews without also thinking about her phenomenal singing voice. The actor demonstrated her enormous talent in movies like The Sound of Music which highlighted her impressive vocal range. Andrews’ four-octave Soprano voice was highly-respected amongst singers, so it was a devastating blow when she lost the ability to sing.

movie star Julie Andrews
Julie Andrews | Noam Galai/Getty Images for 92Y

But just how did Andrews lose her voice? Back in 1997, the movie star noticed that she was having some issues with her voice. A trip to the doctor would reveal that she had a nodule on her throat. Thankfully, the nodule was non-cancerous, but it was hindering Andrews from accessing her full vocal range. Throat nodules can often be treated without surgery, but Andrews decided to go under the knife for hers.

Julie Andrews lost her singing voice in a devastating way

What happened next was quite the tragedy. After undergoing surgery at Mt. Sinai, Andrews permanently lost her ability to sing with her full range. Devastated, she filed a malpractice lawsuit against the hospital and the two doctors responsible for the loss of her singing voice. The lawsuit was eventually settled in 2000, though the amount of the settlement remains a mystery.

“I am glad to have settled this case in a favorable manner and am glad to close this chapter on an event which was unfortunate for all concerned,” Andrews said in a statement which ABC reported. “I am very grateful to my attorneys, Peter Parcher and Orin Snyder, for representing me with such compassion and excellence.”

How the ‘Mary Poppins’ star coped with losing her ability to sing

Of course, since losing her voice, Andrews has gone on to showcase her talents in a variety of ways. She has continued to star in movies such as The Princess Diaries and Despicable Me. The Sound of Music star has also authored a number of books. But, how did she bounce back from permanently losing her singing voice? In an interview with NPR, the singer revealed that her daughter actually helped her to think about using her voice in a new context.

“That was very heartbreaking,” Andrews shared about what it felt like to lose her voice in such an abrupt way. “But my lovely daughter Emma said to me once, ‘Mom, you shouldn’t feel bad about it. You’ve just found a new way of using your voice.’ Which was writing those books and incorporating music into those books. So suddenly, the weight fell off my shoulders and I thought, ‘Well, I haven’t lost the music. I just have to find a different way of using it and enjoying it.'”

Andrews will always have ‘The Sound of Musical’ and other musicals as her legacy

It’s wonderful that Andrews found a way to still have music in her life. While she may no longer have access to her full vocal range, we’re sure that her fans will be enjoying her beautiful singing voice for years on end. After all, you can’t think about The Sound of Music without eventually hearing Maria’s lovely vocals in your head.