Dick Van Dyke and wife Arlene Silver have an amazing love story. After meeting backstage at the 2006 SAG Awards, Dick, 94, felt like he finally got a “gift” from the heavens. “She’s just delightful, a great cook and a woman of great patience,” the Mary Poppins actor exclusively recalls to Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now. “She’s given me a third life, and I’m tickled to death with it.”
Dick found Arlene, who is 46 years his junior, after his first marriage to Margie Willet ended in divorce. Although the pair were hometown sweethearts, Dick’s relationship became complicated once he fell for actress Michelle Triola Marvin in 1976. “She was feisty, smart and, unlike Margie, knew the showbiz world inside out,” he says. But Dick’s guilt of cheating on his wife was eating away at him.
The actor ended up telling Margie all about the affair, which caused them to get divorced in 1984 after 36 years of marriage. Although they were separated, the two kept in contact until Margie died from pancreatic cancer in 2008. “I lost a part of myself,” Dick confides, but life with Michelle helped him get back on his feet.
Dick and the Lustful Turk actress talked about marriage while they spent their days living in Malibu. However, they didn’t tie the knot because Melissa never got around to putting a “date in the diary.” Sadly, she later died in 2009 after being diagnosed with lung cancer one year after Margie’s death. “When she asked if she was going to die, I pretended I didn’t know — the hardest acting I have ever done,” Dick says.
The Chitty Chitty Bang Bang star didn’t think he would ever find love again until he met Arlene, 48, at the SAGs. “Carl [Reiner] and Mel Brooks and I all said, ‘That’s it,’” he says. “But it happened to me just out of the blue.”
Once Dick and Arlene started dating, they quickly became inseparable. “We talk all the time,” he gushes. “And we do everything together.” In February, the two lovebirds celebrated their 8th wedding anniversary and they plan on seeing many more years together.
For more on Dick, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more exclusive news!