What Really Went Down With Martha Stewart And Her Ex-Husband

Martha Stewart is an iconic household name. One of the most recognizable stars on the planet, the cooking queen, hallowed homemaker, and lifestyle guru made a name for herself by living in the public eye and presenting to us the perfect life (except for her brief stint in prison). With homeware collections and home decor lines to Stewart's name, she seems to have it all with one notable exception: a life partner. Despite Stewart's occasional celebrity suitors, she remains single as of this writing, and has not been remarried since she and her ex-husband Andrew Stewart split in 1990. 

Though the outlines of their relationship are common knowledge, the more intimate details of Andrew and Martha Stewart's relationship have mostly managed to largely evade the public eye. In part, this is because Andrew is so private. It could also be attributed to the fact that, as of 2020, the exes hadn't spoken in three decades. 

Before their split, however, Andrew and Martha Stewart spent almost 30 years together — despite his aversion to publicity and her career in front of the camera. How did the two make it work for so long? And why did they finally give up the ghost and get divorced?

Andrew and Martha Stewart moved fast

Many people look at the honeymoon phase of their relationships as a gilded time, when everything was better. For Martha and Andrew Stewart, this actually might be true. They were a fairytale pairing ... at least from the outside. Born Martha Kostyra, Martha grew up in Nutley, New Jersey and went to college not far from her hometown at Barnard College, which is part of Columbia University in New York City. Martha has always been a classic woman. She immersed herself in the humanities in college (per Brittanica) earning a BA in Architectural and European history.

Throughout college for a few years beyond, Martha modeled — even using her earnings to finance part of her tuition. Though she described herself to People as "so skinny and so perfect for modeling," she did not land in the career full time because she "was not provocative." Rather, she ended up in a more traditional path and became a stockbroker.

In a ranging profile for New York, Martha said she met Andrew Stewart, a Yale law student at the time, through his sister, who was in Martha's "ancient-art class" during her freshman year at Barnard. The two married in July 1961 only a year after their first date. Martha was just 19 at the time

Did Martha Stewart marry for money?

Martha Stewart, née Kostyra (pictured above with her mother), was raised by middle class parents in a quiet New Jersey neighborhood. Her childhood was nothing to write home about. The Kostyra family did well enough for themselves, but Martha had her sights set on more than the life she lived. The tell-all biography "Just Desserts" by Jerry Oppenheimer alleges that Martha was inspired to reach for success precisely because she didn't want to end up like her parents, saying (via The New York Times): "That's all my mother does, stand in front of a hot stove cooking ... and what does she have to show for it? She works like a peasant. I want more out of life, and I'm going to get it."

Attending Barnard gave Martha access to a whole new world. Martha was beautiful, smart, and on her way to a successful career — next on the list, a husband. Martha was undoubtedly impressed by the lifestyle Andrew offered. In their early days, Martha and Andrew lived in an enviable Upper East Side penthouse owned by his family friends (via Vulture). Martha admitted "It was pretty classy for a little girl from Nutley, New Jersey!"

Martha certainly enjoyed the fruits of her marriage, but does that mean she married Andrew for money? Oppenhemier less than subtly suggested their flawed union was strategic on Martha's behalf, but there is nothing to prove it. Did she marry above her class? Yes. But the two seemed well matched, at least at first.

Martha and Andrew Stewart had successful careers

One thing Martha and Andrew Stewart had in common? They were both hard workers building successful, separate careers. After pursuing law for a few years, Andrew Stewart became a publisher while Martha pursued stockbroking. Though neither of them followed the expected paths of their degrees, they both excelled in their fields. Biographer Christopher Byron said of Martha (via CNN), "She was a stockbroker in a miniskirt and drop-dead blond good looks, and did really well." What's more, she enjoyed it! Martha seemed more fond of her time on the trading floor than of her marriage, telling People in 2020, "The most important of my early jobs was being a stockbroker ... I sometimes regret not staying in that business, because becoming an investment banker would've been pretty fabulous. But I was lured to the home."

After eight years in her first career, Martha and Andrew moved to Connecticut where Martha started a catering business and put her energy into making it grow. Martha has fired off quips such as: "My life is my work and my work is my life" (via CNN) and her diligence proves them true. However, she didn't do it all alone. Martha gave Andrew credit where it was due in a 1991 New York profile. "He helped me a lot," she acquiesced, adding, "I helped him a lot and he forgets that." Whatever tension might have been under the surface, they both supported each other's careers.

Martha and Andrew's life was built on a rocky foundation

Martha and Andrew Stewart reportedly did not compliment one another as a married couple and they found themselves embroiled in conflict from very early on. According to "Just Desserts" (via Daily Mail), the honeymoon phase didn't even last throughout their honeymoon since, Martha spent one of their nights in Florence — one of the most romantic cities in the world and an impressive destination for a small town Jersey girl — entertaining another tourist that she and Andrew had met. This was foreshadowing for the rest of their relationship.

Even in their collaborative attitude towards work, there was a limit, which eventually led to resentment. "I think he got tired of my drive and my desire to do lots of things," Martha told New York. Despite the initial goodwill of supporting each other's work, eventually their differences won out. They lived a seemingly idyllic life in rural Connecticut on the property they refurbished and rebranded as Turkey Hill Farm (above), but the project unfortunately did not do as much for their relationship as it did for the house. "We were too involved in our professional lives and fixing up the house ... But it wasn't a home," Andrew told People. The two were constantly at odds, alleged Oppenheimer sources, who claimed, "There were times when there was utter and complete tension and long hostility-filled silences between them that you could cut with a knife." 

Martha Stewart thought she was more talented than her husband

Martha Stewart was used to excelling at everything she did. With her modeling past, prestigious career, and growing brand, Martha's external life made her think she was the more talented one in her marriage. Though Andrew Stewart was also successful, Martha's career was shooting up, having grown out of her immediately successful catering business. But growing her empire did not come as easily as her past ventures. She put in years of work and had to be detail oriented and even controlling — which was in her nature. Forbes even bluntly described her as "a control freak who makes her employees cry." 

This apparently translated to Martha's home life as well. She was reportedly not afraid to tell Andrew what she thought and when he fell short of her high standards. Jerry Oppenheimer details much of Martha's allegedly erratic behavior in the tell-all "Just Desserts." His sources paint a picture of a neurotic, needy woman, claiming (via Daily Mail) that Martha was "constantly accusing [Andrew] of being 'dumb' or 'stupid.'"  Some of this could be attributed to the expectations she was under — a lot of it self imposed. "She's great," confirmed her first boss, Andy Monness to The Guardian, "That can be a tremendous pressure to be under, and a tremendous burden to bear." Subsequently, Martha projected stress onto her husband, who noted (via People), "Martha is not tolerant of my negligence or my foolishness or my eccentricities." 

Martha and Andrew Stewart both stepped out in their marriage

Martha Stewart's marriage was allegedly rife with infidelity. The honeymoon incident, where a newly married Martha Stewart abandoned Andrew Stewart for a tourist, set a precedent. The two allegedly cheated on each other continuously through their marriage. According to "Just Desserts" biographer Jerry Oppenheimer (via Daily Mail), Martha would throw risque pool parties and openly flirt with male friends — she even allegedly declared that she had been unfaithful on a trip to LA, but dismissed it as ​​"merely an experiment," though it clearly hadn't been the first time .

Andrew reportedly had his share of clandestine exploits, too. A source told Oppenheimer, "It had been a two-way thing. Martha asked Andy for details, but he was reluctant to tell her anything other than to say yes, he had done that, and so had she." But why did they each put up with it? For Andrew, perhaps he knew what a catch Martha was. "She did [pursue men] in order to prove to herself that she was desirable," an old friend told the New York Post. She was also used to being admired — per People, she earned an enviable reputation in college and got featured in Glamour's 1961 list of "Best Dressed College Girls." Male attention had always followed her, so maybe Andrew accepted it. for her part, however, Martha Stewart is often painted as cold and unflinching

Divorce was a blow to Martha Stewart's ego

Martha Stewart had the perfect life: a thriving career as a homemaker and a beautiful family. With her identity so tied up in her accomplishments and even her career wrapped up in her personal life, Martha was taken aback by the divorce. It didn't help that Andrew Stewart was less than sensitive about filing for their official divorce. She told New York, "He got me where it hurt the most." She also detailed the cold, calculated way Andrew left her. "I was on the wedding book tour," she divulged, while Andrew was getting a court order to prevent them from speaking to each other and springing the news on her during a big moment in her career. "He did a lot of strange things which are very hard to forget," Martha told the outlet, adding, "He was a very weak man during this time, very weak."

Martha was angry about how Andrew announced the divorce, but she was also damaged emotionally. After the separation, her pride was shattered and her confidence in shambles. "Andy leaving her made her feel undesirable," said former friend Mariana Pasternak to the New York Post. Martha viewed herself as a failure, especially since she had always seen divorce as a big no — no one in her family had ever been divorced. The experience was also emotionally difficult as it was compounded by her already strained relationship with her daughter at a tense time in her career.

Martha Stewart's success may have suffocated Andrew

Martha Stewart is one of the most recognizable personalities in the world. With Martha as demanding at home as she was in business, Andrew claimed to feel suffocated by his wife. He was an equally ambitious person, but the scale of Martha's success was hard to match. Also, when Andrew started his own publishing company, the couple's dueling empires seemed to clash. A friend of his was quoted in New York, saying: "He told me he needed his own life. He was building a business, and she felt like he should be more of an adjunct to her business. He needed the break to build his own life."

Martha saw his exit as a sign of weakness. "He got real tired," Martha Stewart told New York, speculating that it "had something to do with him not wanting to be as ambitious as he was." She also divulged to the magazine that she was, in a way, pleased that his new life without her could not compare to the one which she had built for them. She took comfort in the fact that Andrew seemed equally distressed by the demise of the relationship. "It's sad. It's not like he got on a motorcycle and rode into the sunset," she mused, adding, "It's the same life, only it's miserable."

Andrew Stewart dated Martha Stewart's former assistant after the divorce

Andrew Stewart found himself in another relationship shortly after his contentious, dramatic split from Martha Stewart — and it was with someone they both knew. Andrew attached himself to Robyn Whitney Fairclough, who had done odd jobs assisting Martha's business for a time, and had struck up a close friendship with their daughter, Alexis Stewart. Strangely, Martha often teased the pair about being a good match as a cruel joke. "'You and Andy would be perfect together,'" Martha would laugh, according to a family friend quoted in "Just Desserts" (via Daily Mail). "Martha used to push them together, laughing about it in her way, which was more of a put-down of the two of them," the friend said, adding, "It was sadistic." 

Imagine Martha's surprise when Andy and Robyn actually ended up together. According to Joann F. Price's "Martha Stewart: A Biography," Martha "accused Andy of adultery, believing their relationship had started years before." This became a factor in their drawn out divorce. To add insult to injury — Andy married Robyn. Three years after Martha and Andrew finalized their divorce, Andrew and Robyn got married. Though this must have been a blow to Martha's ego at first, she seems to be over the pettiness. "Getting divorced was a terrible thing for me," she told People, "But I'm very strong, and I'm very motivated to get on with life."

Andrew and Martha Stewart had a rocky relationship with their daughter

Andrew and Martha Stewart share their only child, Alexis "Lexi" Stewart (pictured above), who was born four years after they wed. Although the Stewarts lived in the Connecticut suburbs through Alexis' childhood, this didn't amount to lots of quality time between the parents and their daughter. Martha's empire centered around the home, but not even her own life matched up to the perfect vision she imagined — or as BusinessWeek editor Dianne Brady described Martha's business to CNN, "It's a fantasy world."

In her 2011 book "Whateverland: Learning to Live Here" (via ABC News), Alexis divulged the less-than perfect details of her childhood, including how her mother barely cooked for the family; how she was forced to wrap her own Christmas presents; and how the neurotic Martha is still openly critical of almost everything Alexis does. "I grew up with a glue gun pointed at my head," she claims in the book, "Martha does everything better. You can't win!" 

Alexis Stewart's relationship with her mother was strained, but her relationship with her father pretty much fell apart after the divorce. In a 1995 interview with People, Andrew said: "I think we did a poor job as parents ... we didn't spend enough time with Lexi." At that point, the two had not had a meaningful conversation since 1988 and continued to not speak for years after. "If he was a nice man, I would talk to him," Alexis told New York.

Martha Stewart does not speak to Andrew Stewart

Alexis Stewart is not the only one estranged from Andrew Stewart — Martha Stewart barely speaks to him either. For years, they didn't talk. At first, it was on Andrew's terms — when he filed for divorce, he also acquired a court order which ensured the two could not communicate (via New York). "He didn't want me to talk to him; he had to make a clean break," Martha said. But the aftermath was not as seamless on her end. In 2020, she told People, "We haven't spoken since the divorce," which for the math whizzes out there equals an astonishing three decades of silence. 

However, the years have been healing for Martha. She also told People that while she views her marriage as a difficult time, she is not mired in the past. "I have survived the rigors of time, of marriage, of childbearing, of building a business from scratch," she told the outlet, adding, "I have survived very nicely, and I think I make the most of it."

The single life suits Martha Stewart just fine

Though Andrew Stewart briefly remarried after filing for divorce from Martha Stewart, Martha has never married again (Andrew and Robyn have since ended their marriage also). Martha has remained mostly unattached since her 1990 split from Andrew, focusing on her career and only entertaining brief flings. According to CNN, "Martha Stewart retains the determination she showed as a little girl, working hard in her father's garden — still a perfectionist, seeking to succeed." As a determined business woman, Martha has continued to grow her brand instead of retreating to build another marriage.

But her astronomical success might also be preventing her from finding anyone. A friend told People a few years after the divorce that she "think[s] she's lonely. She needs support. But she has a public persona that is impenetrable." But over the years, Martha has seemingly adjusted to single life and is thriving in her career and social media.

Stewart famously posted a "thirst trap" selfie (above) before she even knew what the term meant. She later joked about the viral snap to Chelsea Handler, who imitated the viral snap and joked that romantic suitors had proposed marriage over the pic alone. "I was too busy enjoying the instant fame from a stupid selfie, for God's sake, to engage with any proposals!" Stewart said (via People), adding, "That's why I'm still not married after a long marriage."