The actress, best known for her role as the mother on The Brady Bunch, has revealed new details about her good friend, the late New York Mayor John Lindsay, in her upcoming memoir.
There, he gave her crabs after she had an unhappy one-night stand with “her married, unattractive friend” on a particularly lonely night in Beverly Hills. “I think I learned the hard way that crabs don’t discriminate; they cut across all socio-economic classes.
He must have led a quite active life. What a way to destroy a relationship,” she wrote. Henderson added that he had “sent flowers and a letter of apology” so that it would not appear that she wanted to tarnish his reputation in revenge for the serious problems he had put her through.
Lindsay, who died in 2000, served as the mayor of New York from 1966 to 1973. Previously, he was a member of the United States House of Representatives. He began a brief run for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1972. His wife of 51 years passed away in 2004.
Henderson was perhaps best known for her work on The Brady Bunch, a comedy about a blended family that aired from the year 1969 to 1974 and remains popular around the world today.
However, the book only devotes one chapter to this part of her life, and she is said to have had an off-screen affair with Barry Williams, who played her oldest teenage stepson, Greg Brady. She denies the often-told story.
“Barry was seriously in love with me, and I understood that and helped him get back on his feet,” Henderson wrote. “If he had taken me for a walk in the hay, I never would have done that.”
Although the two are 20 years apart in age, they are still good friends.
The book primarily focuses on Henderson’s childhood growing up in an abusive household, her struggle with papal edicts on birth control, her rise to fame on Broadway, and her second stint with a therapist, which focuses on marriage. The book, co-authored with Joel Brokaw, will be published by Hachette’s Center Street Printing on September 20.
Florence Henderson’s Affair with Barry Williams
One of the trendy stories at the time was a supposed incestual relationship between the on-screen Brady matriarch and her son Greg behind the scenes.
Florence Henderson, who played Barry Williams’ mom on the show, allegedly had an affair with her on-screen teenage son, who was twice her age.
Henderson was 36, while Williams was 16 at the time, making such rumors almost unbelievable. However, later on, Williams confessed that he admired Henderson and fantasized about being with her in an interview.
Henderson was a married mother of four, but Williams did admit that he once took her on a date to discuss their mutual interest in music. When he dropped his teenage crush, he fulfilled his dream of planting a kiss on her cheek.
The iconic Brady matriarch Henderson opened up on her supposed date with the younger Williams, which had almost damaged her reputation as it looked like she had an affair with a younger man.
In her book “Life Is Not a Stage,” Henderson recalled the moment she went out with the teenage Williams, noting that she would have done it with any older children if they had asked, as she saw herself as a mentor.
Florence Henderson and Robert Reed
Robert Reed, who played Mike Brady, was hiding a secret from everyone during filming: He was gay, and though his co-stars were aware of it, it was not something he often spoke about.
According to his biography, Henderson later said in an interview that Reed’s having to hide his true identity finally caused him constant frustration.
“He was not a happy person,” Henderson told ABC News in 2000. “I think Bob would not have been forced to live this double-sided life. I think it would have scattered a lot of that rage and frustration.”
Henderson also said that, despite knowing Reed’s sexual exposure, she never discussed it with him. “I had a lot of sympathy for him because I knew how he was passing through a lot,” Henderson said. In the 1970s, coming out was not easy, and Henderson thinks Reed believed he had no choice but to disguise who he truly was.
“I do not believe The Brady Bunch could have existed as of then with the public knowing that Robert Reed was gay. I just do not think they would have believed it.”
She Once Got an STD from an Affair with a Politician
Henderson might have kept a wholesome public image over the years, but she has had her fair share of mischievous moments over the years as well.
She acknowledged the affair, saying, “I was desolate. I knew it was not the right thing to do. So, what did I do? I did it.” Of course, that conclusion came back to bite her—in a very literal sense.
She disclosed that when she woke up the next day after their affair, she saw “little black things” crawling over her body, and she went to the doctor to heal herself of pubic lice (also known as “crabs”).
Florence Agnes Henderson died on the 24th of November 2016.