Old School Americana & Nostalgia


Don Knotts’ Spouses: A Look at All the ‘Andy Griffith Show’ Star’s Wives

Don Knotts’ Spouses: A Look at All the ‘Andy Griffith Show’ Star’s Wives

While some people may not be able to see it, Don Knotts truly captured a lot of women’s hearts over his lifetime. His brand of humor seeped in here and there into his private life. Women would get close to him and Knotts would make them feel comfortable.

Knotts went through three marriages in his lifetime. Each one had its uniqueness because of the dynamics between his wives. Between marriages, Knotts reportedly was known to be a bit of a lothario at times. Knotts’ three wives were Kathryn Metz, Loralee Czuchna, and Frances Yarborough

When Don Knotts was in college, he met Metz. They became sweethearts and were married in at Metz’s father’s church in 1947. According to Daniel de Visé, author of Andy and Don: The Making of a Friendship and a Classic American TV Show, Metz was a piece of work. Kathryn was “a woman of substance, the daughter of a Northern Baptist minister from Wheeling, a West Virginia city so far north that it was almost Ohio,” de Vise wrote. Don and Kathryn were married for 13 years and had two children, Thomas and Karen.

First Mrs. Knotts Didn’t Get Along with Mrs. Griffith

While Andy and Don got along, the same could not be said for Barbara Griffith and Kay Knotts.

“Alas, the spouses didn’t hit it off quite so well,” de Visé wrote. “Kay Knotts was a minister’s daughter, raised with enough domestic savvy to be a good wife and mother. Barbara Griffith was the daughter of a school superintendent, reared around h she said in a hired help, a Southern aristocrat who thought dirty dishes and discarded socks were carried off by elves.”

In 1974, Don Knotts married Loralee Czuchna. Everything on the surface might have seemed good, but there was a nagging issue underneath the layers. Karen Knotts, Don’s daughter, spoke about her father’s problematic mental health and additional issues.

“He was mercurial,” Karen Knotts said in a Closer Weekly interview. “He had a lot of different kinds of moods. (And) he fought a lot of depression and I helped him, or thought I did, because I could see how he had this endless loop of thought that would always lead to a downward spiral.”

From her side, Czuchna told de Visé that it was Knotts’ diagnosis of macular degeneration that led to their relationship’s end. She also said, “When he started to lose his vision, I think he just panicked, and he started to live out some sort of bucket list.” They divorced in 1983.

Knotts Embraces Last Wife Yarbrough In 2002

It would take another two decades before Knotts married again, this time to actress Frances Yarbrough in 2002. There was a definite age difference between the two. Yet kindred hearts won out. Knotts married Yarbrough in 2002. At the time, he was in between marriages, IMDb reports.

Knotts and Yarbrough met one another in the 1980s. That’s when their paths crossed on a sitcom named What a Country!

“Francey Yarborough, a beautiful, kind-hearted actress, had settled in Hollywood to pursue improvisational comedy,” de Visé wrote. “In early 1987, she was hired on What a Country! Her main job was to help Don learn his lines. She was in her 20s, and he was entering his 60s; yet, they were kindred spirits.”

Knotts also pursued one well-known actress between his marriages.

As the story goes, Knotts was quite smitten with Gilligan’s Island star Tina Louise. Well, Knotts had the hots for her and wanted to get together. Don Knotts reportedly called Louise’s home phone number once per week for a year or more. Each time Don calls her, Tina declines to go out with him. This pattern went on for a year until Knotts “got it” that Louise had no intention of going out with him.

Knotts spent five seasons on The Andy Griffith Show before moving on to a movie career. He did guest spots on the CBS sitcom until the show’s end in 1968. Knotts also gained a new following when he played Ralph Furley on Three’s Company. Late in life, Knotts and Griffith worked together again on Griffith’s attorney show Matlock.