The Truth Behind Betty White And Bea Arthur’s Famous Feud
The Golden Girls was a staple in ’80s television. The charming sitcom followed the lives of four older women who shared a home together in Miami, Florida. Spanning seven years and seven seasons, it’s hard to believe that the four main characters were anything but the very best of friends in real life. But surprisingly, this couldn’t have been farther from the truth.
In the 30 years since the series ended, there have been many interviews that reveal a strong tension and at times, huge rifts, between the cast members. These rifts were especially prominent between Betty White and Bea Arthur. Of course, there are two sides to every story.
“My mom unknowingly carried the attitude that it was fun to have somebody to be angry at,” Arthur’s son, Matthew Saks, told Closer. It wasn’t too long before White became Arthur’s “nemesis.” In a 2011 interview, White noted, “She was not that fond of me. She found me a pain in the neck sometimes. It was my positive attitude — and that made Bea mad sometimes. Sometimes if I was happy, she’d be furious!”
It’s apparent the two actresses also came from two very different television worlds, which didn’t always create a cohesive vision. It’s also been said that White had a tendency of talking with the live audience between takes, which Arthur didn’t appreciate.
“Sometimes Betty would go out and smile and chat with the audience and literally go and make friends with the audience. Which is a nice thing – a lot of them have come from all over the country and are fans,” Matthew Saks revealed to The Hollywood Reporter. “I think my mom didn’t dig that. It’s more about being focused or conserving your energy. It’s just not the right time to talk to fans between takes. Betty was able to do it and it didn’t seem to affect her. But it rubbed my mom the wrong way.”
However, things between the actresses weren’t always this way. It’s been said that during the show’s early stages, the actresses would spend time together off-set as well, and were all friends. It’s been speculated that the tension and rifts began when White was the first one to win an Emmy for the show, though each of the four main actresses were nominated (and ultimately, each would win an Emmy as well).
Though I’m sure the only ones who will ever know the full story are the cast members themselves, I hope each of the Golden Girls were able to forgive one another and move on. It’s so sad to think that with Betty White’s recent passing, there are now no surviving Golden Girls. It truly is the end of an era.