Here's the real reason Andy Griffith never had a wife on The Andy Griffith Show

Who had time for a relationship when Barney was in the picture?

The Everett Collection

Andy Taylor, played by Andy Griffith, was the single dad to Opie throughout The Andy Griffith Show's eight seasons on-air. 

The bond between Andy and Opie played a major role in the series. Whether Andy was dropping a nugget of wisdom, instilling life lessons or giving moral guidance, he always aimed to teach Opie values that would help him grow. 

Although Griffith could have doubled as Dad of the Year, raising Opie alone wasn't without its challenges.

Griffith had portrayed a widower since the first season in 1960. While we may not know what happened to Andy's wife, there are a few subtle references to her absence throughout the series.

While most young men living in a small town would be on the hunt for someone special, Andy wasn't as worried about finding a female for Opie or himself.

"We tried girls for awhile," Griffith said in a 1964 interview with Winston-Salem Journal. "They didn't work. It's not the girls' fault, and I have nothing against them. But in our situation it's hard to find a story involving a girl. Now we find the story first and get the girl to fill it."

According to the interview, there were many reasons why Griffith believed a girlfriend or wife would be cumbersome to the series. He said scripts are a television series' biggest problem, and they're even harder to create for a weekly husband and wife duo.

In the world of Mayberry, Barney Fife and Aunt Bee's pickles were about the biggest problems Andy had to take on. Who had time for a relationship when Barney was in the picture?

While finding a girlfriend wasn't on the top of his mind, Andy did explore his options with a few lucky ladies, including Ellie Walker played by Elinor Donahue. Ellie was the town's pharmacist and a strong, independent woman. Although the two were flirty and had a ton of fans, the relationship never led to anything serious. Just the way Andy envisioned it. 

Later in the series, Andy's romantic interest shifted to Helen Crump. She was a schoolteacher in Mayberry who fell in love with Andy, and their relationship became a more central focus on the series. The two eventually got married in the spin-off series, Mayberry R.F.D.

"If I had a wife, that would change everything," Griffith said. "I'd have to be at the house a lot. Besides that there are other people who can do that kind of comedy better than I could on television."

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23 Comments

LLERBMIK1981 26 days ago
Also… I think it’s very important to hate that Andy could not take time to culture a relationship with a female because he spent every waking moment on that series covering up for Barney Fife…spending most of his time fabricating stories and lying to make Barney look good and cover up his poor behavior, pathetic decisions and ongoing terminable offenses.
LLERBMIK1981 26 days ago
A lot of leading and other men in TV series were single. The Courtship of Eddie’s Father. Gilligan, the Skipper, the Professor, Ben Cartwright & sons. Lucas McCain. All the men on Mission Impossible. Jack Tripper. Mr. Furley. Fred McMurray on My Three Sons. Bill Bixby and My Favorite Martian. Robert Hogan et al. Col. Klink. All of the men Wagon Train. The Fugitive. Have Gun will Travel. The list is ENDLESS. Seriously…it goes on and on and on…
Coldnorth 27 days ago
The more I think about it, I am not a fan of Aunt Bee. I held it back fora long time. Between her screechy voice, her always scolding Opie for nothing, for making tasty looking meals and never even taking a bite. She gossips and pretends she said nothing, I could goon and on. Please don’t hate me, I just had to get my real feelings out.
snowbird1234 Coldnorth 16 days ago
I agree with you a hundred percent
WKeithSharp Coldnorth 15 days ago
Thank you !!! Even Andy had his qualms with her. She felt above the other actors. Persnickety she was.
And don't get me started on Helen Crump lol
Coldnorth snowbird1234 6 days ago
I agree with your name. My husband and I take off when the first snowflake falls. Back home when it gets at least 60 degrees
pkusct66 28 days ago
I love Metv I love to watch Mash and Beverly hills Billy's and Hogans Heros and Green acres ànd playing games
AH76 29 days ago
I think Andy getting married would have changed the show's premise because then the focus might have shifted to his marriage and away from Andy's relationship with Opie or his work.
JHP AH76 28 days ago
Well, I am sure you are spot on in your opinion. Besides Ange had BARN as a source of vocal violence:). Don't even know I could tolerate BARNS insolent belly aching
WKeithSharp AH76 15 days ago
But why were there no pics of Opie's Mom. Or scenes where he asks Andy about how she was. Things she liked.
And were Andy's parents and in laws all dead ? Never ne'er a mention about them. Or an episode where they come visit. Strange thing about them being non existent.
JHP 29 days ago
after ange married HELLen Frump - I wonder if he spent more time trekking around with Otis:) ?

and all of the on-screen chased by ange the stand-ins were light years better than HELLen - gees; even frankie would have been better
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JHP snowbird1234 16 days ago
agreed but she couldn't bowl at the Mayberry Lanes:)
WKeithSharp JHP 15 days ago
Frankie was cute as the Dickens
JHP WKeithSharp 15 days ago
Sly and the Family Stone

"different strokes for different folks" - her, Charlene Darling and Lucy Matthews in the "stranger in Town" - EEK
Runeshaper 30 days ago
Very interesting. I'm glad that Andy eventually got married (-:
FrankensteinLover 30 days ago
I love the show just the way it is, watch it daily and still laugh over the same parts I've seen hundreds of times. You could never take the May out of my Berry.
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