Julie Andrews Opens Up About Going to Therapy: "My Head Was So Full of Clutter"

Julie Andrews took a trip down memory lane when discussing her new memoir, Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years, during a visit to The Late Show Monday night. 

Host Stephen Colbert swooned when she arrived on his stage, joking that the first question he always has for her is "Wow." The Mary Poppins star parried back, "Well, I feel the same way about you."

As the two briefly summarized her career, starting with Mary Poppins and moving on to The Sound of Music, Andrews admitted that after seeing the the initial Broadway play of the latter, she was afraid the movie might be too "saccharine." She explained, "Think about it: Seven children in the Alps, supposedly, beautiful music, gorgeous music ... I thought it could have been with the real stuff outside very over-sweet, but everybody on the film wanted to make it as astringent as possible." Colbert noted that that was an appropriate feeling, because the story has "Nazis in it."

"The glue that held the whole thing [film] together," Andrews argued later, was her friend and Sound of Music co-star Christopher Plummer. She told a story about how the film achieved a scene where she and Plummer's character kiss in a moonlit gazebo: When the lights that were set up to give the scene its "moonlight" were tipped down, they started to moan and groan, "and it seemed like a comment on our acting," she said. Andrews kept having to suppress giggles, while Plummer was getting aggravated. After a break, director Robert Wise eventually got the idea that the two characters would walk into the silhouette and he would shoot it at the door. "Immediately we shut up, and it was just fine," Andrews said.

Andrews also talked about another famous friend, Carol Burnett, who she called "such a chum." When Colbert asked which of them was more mischievous, Andrews put in a vote for herself: "She brings out the worst in me. I get to be pretty raunchy and really wicked, and I think even she is shocked sometimes," she said.

Finally, Colbert asked Andrews about the decision to discuss her history with therapy in Home Work. Andrews' first stint in treatment took place after her separation from her first husband, when "my head was so full of clutter and garbage." Mike Nichols, whom she admired for being clear-headed, was going to therapy, so she gave it a try. As for why she shared this with readers, Andrews replied, "The truth is, why not, if it helps anybody else have the same idea? These days, there's no harm in sharing it, I think everybody knows the good work it can do."

In Home Work, a follow-up to her 2008 memoir Home, Andrews recounts her rise to fame. Throughout the book, she describes her years in the film industry, as well as details of her personal story of adjusting to the industry, dealing with fame, being a new mother, the end of her first marriage and falling in love with the brilliant and mercurial Blake Edwards.

Home Work: A Memoir of My Hollywood Years is available now.