What Happened to Julie Andrews's Voice? She Can No Longer Sing

"It was devastating. A loss of myself," Julie said. "And I had to finally come to the conclusion that it wasn’t only that that I was made of."

Melissa Willets - Author

Apr. 23 2024, Published 9:44 a.m. ET

Julie Andrews arrives at the NBC's "Carol Burnett: 90 Years of Laughter + Love" Birthday Special on March 2, 2023
Source: Getty Images

Actor Julie Andrews is best known for her iconic roles in beloved films such as The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins.

Of course, her singing voice in those movies made her a star worthy of admiration from generations of fans.

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Today, Julie isn't able to sing. What happened to the treasured star's voice?

Read on to learn about the truly tragic circumstances that left Julie unable to use her singing voice.

Actor Julie Andrews in character as Mary Poppins during her television special Julie: My Favorite Things, circa 1975
Source: Getty Images
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So, what happened to Julie Andrews's voice?

Years after she starred in The Sound of Music and Mary Poppins, Julie began experiencing issues with her singing voice. In 1997, the actor underwent vocal cord surgery to help her regain full use of her voice, but things didn't go as planned.

Julie told The Hollywood Reporter in 2015 about the issue that drove her to get surgery, "I had gotten a small weak spot — I never got a nodule or anything like that, but it would occasionally swell up with a little fluid and things."

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Following a stint on Broadway in Victor/Victoria, Julie explained, "Toward the end of that 20 months, I was vocally tired, and [my throat specialist at the time] said, ‘You’ve got something there.’ He said it was a cyst, like a blister on your heel that’s filled with liquid. It wasn’t painful."

That's when Julie elected to get surgery. Sadly, she admits she "knew it was wrong to do it."

But instead of listening to her inner voice, Julie went forward with the procedure and the outcome was devastating.

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“I thought in two weeks I’d be strong and safe and could do what I was asked to do,” Julie told THR nearly two decades after the surgery.

Instead, 18 months later, she knew she was "in big trouble," having lost her formerly four octave singing voice.

“It was like chalk on a blackboard. That’s the way it sounded," she described her new singing voice.

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Julie Andrews took years to accept the loss of her singing voice.

Julie said in the 2015 interview that after spending time "in denial," she had to accept the loss of her voice.

“It was devastating. A loss of myself," Julie said. "And I had to finally come to the conclusion that it wasn’t only that that I was made of. I mean, I thought my voice was my stock-in-trade, my talent, my soul.”

Today, Julie has found many other endeavors to make herself whole, including penning multiple books for children on topics like, well, singing!

“I’m over it, really," she claims, but admits, "I always will regret the operation. I wish I’d been strong enough to say no. But I have to forgive myself for doing it because I felt such an obligation to have it done.”

Julie is also still actively working in Hollywood and has gained a new legion of fans as the voice of Lady Whistledown on the smash Netflix series, Bridgerton.

Little kids will also know Julie as the voice of Gru's mom in the Despicable Me movies.

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