Dr. Seuss (full name: Theodor Seuss Geisel) was a well renowned American author (March 2, 1904 – September 24, 1991), best known for writing and illustrating the most popular children’s books of all time. Impressively, he managed to sell 600 million copies worldwide. Moreover, his work was translated into over 20 languages by the time he died.
Outside his professional career, which was undoubtedly successful beyond words, how delightful was his personal life? The author was married twice, and there was definitely no shortage of incidents. Love, joy, tragedy, and drama – Theodor Geisel’s love life had it all.
Dr. Seuss’s first wife took her own life – Did he cheat on her?
Did Dr. Seuss cheat on his wife?
Source: The Establishment
Dr. Seuss was married to his first wife, an author named Helen Palmer, from 1927 to 1967. However, their relationship was far from plain sailing. Helen was believed to be suspicious of her husband’s extramarital affair, which actually turned out to be true as he ended up marrying the same person after her death.
To make matters worse, Palmer had a Guillain-Barre syndrome and suffered partial paralysis for over a decade. Her ever-worsening health got her so depressed that she ultimately committed suicide with an overdose of barbiturates.
In October 1967 at the age of 68, Helen Palmer took her own life and left a suicide note that read,
Dear Ted, What has happened to us? I don’t know. I feel myself in a spiral, going down down down, into a black hole from which there is no escape, no brightness. And loud in my ears from every side I hear, ‘failure, failure, failure…’ I love you so much …
The author continued, “I am too old and enmeshed in everything you do and are, that I cannot conceive of life without you. My going will leave quite a rumor, but you can say I was overworked and overwrought. Your reputation with your friends and fans will not be harmed.”
Dr. Seuss’ reaction
Upon Helen Palmer’s death, Ted reacted the way you would expect. He was unsure whether to kill himself, burn the entire house down, or just get lost. Meanwhile, Ted’s niece Peggy claimed Helen chose this route out of absolute love for him, and this was, in fact, “her last and greatest gift to him.”
Dr. Seuss’ adventurous love life with his second wife, Audrey Geisel
Dr. Seuss, with his second wife, Audrey Geisel.
Following the death of his first wife, Dr. Seuss tied the knot with Audrey Geisel. The couple was married for 23 years from 1968 until Theodor’s death in 1991.
Audrey’s first husband
Previously, Audrey Geisel was married to E. Grey Dimond. The couple first met at Indiana University while they were both med students. Audrey was 21 at the time. Dimond went on to become the dean of cardiology at the University of Kansas.
The lovebirds welcomed two daughters named Lark Grey Dimond-Cates and Leagrey Dimond, before moving to San Diego in 1960.
Beginning of Audrey and Theodor’s love affair
Dr. Seuss had an affair with Audrey while he was still married to his wife, Helen.
Upon residing in the La Jolla neighborhood of San Diego, the Dimond pair became friends with Dr. Seuss and his wife, Helen Palmer. Although Audrey was 17 years younger than Dr. Seuss, they fell in love.
Following Helen’s suicide, Audrey divorced her husband, E. Grey Dimond, to marry the author. She subsequently sent her daughters aged 9 and 14 away to school.
Speaking to The Times in 2000, Audrey claimed Geisel was not fond of children because of their unpredictable nature.
They wouldn’t have been happy with Ted, and Ted wouldn’t have been happy with them.
Audrey added, her husband lived his entire life without children, and he was pretty content without them. She revealed she was never meant to be maternal, there were many things she wanted to do with her life, and the life with Ted was the one she always wanted.
Dr. Seuss’s death and Audrey’s apology to her daughters
Following her partner’s death at the age of 87 in 1991, Audrey apologized to her daughters for not being the best mother. The family subsequently got closer. She also oversaw Theodor’s estate and looked after his legacy for nearly three decades from 1991 until her death in 2018.
Prior to his death, Dr. Seuss had told his wife she would take care of his entire creations, which included the Grinch, Horton the elephant, and the Cat in the Hat.
Check out: Are Dr. Seuss books racist, anti-women?
Audrey did not disappoint as she developed and looked after the projects that kept Dr. Seuss’s name and his stories to the future generation of children. In fact, she was heavily involved in the marketing and management aspect of the business for as long as she lived.
When Audrey bit the dust at the age of 97, her daughter Leagrey Dimond talked about her mother – “She never looked back, only forward, and she had a great spirit for life. She sailed forth with that distinctive walk: head up, shoulders back, jaunty, as if she had just twirled her baton.”
Dr. Seuss never had any biological children
Dr. Seuss never fathered any children.
Source: Famous Biographies
Dr. Seuss never had any children with either of his wives. Helen Palmer was physically unable to bear children, whereas he opted not to father any kids with his second wife, Audrey Geisel. However, he did have a couple of stepdaughters with Audrey from her past relationship.
On the topic of kids, Dr. Seuss was once asked how he managed to connect to children when he never had his own, to which he replied – “You have ‘em, and I’ll entertain ‘em.”
Dr. Seuss died of oral cancer
Theodor Geisel passed away on 24th September 1991 at the age of 87 due to oral cancer. He was at his La Jolla home in California when he took his final breath.
Watch: A Dr. Seuss ‘Treasure’ Discovered Decades after Death | NBC Nightly News
At his funeral, Ted’s corpse was cremated, and his ashes were scattered. Four years later, on 1st December 1995, the University Library Building of the University of California, San Diego, was renamed Geisel Library to honor the late author and his widow Audrey for their immense contributions to the library and the admirable devotion to enhancing the literacy.