It’s been nearly 26 years since the Hollywood legend Ginger Rogers passed away, but she is still missed by millions of fans to this day. This week, her former assistant Roberta Olden, who spent eighteen years traveling the world with Rogers, is speaking out to share some of her memories of the Oscar-winning star.
Beginning in 1977, Olden traveled and lived with the iconic dance partner of Fred Astaire, and she got to know her quite well during that time.
“I was very fortunate because Ginger was a wonderful person,” Olden told Closer Weekly. “She didn’t have any children and thought of me as a daughter.”
She went on to talk about what Rogers liked to do to stay busy.
“She liked to cook. She read a lot,” she recalled. “She was an extraordinarily good artist and painter. She loved going to church.”
As for Olden, she spent much of her time answering fan mail and making traveling arrangements for the star while also carrying out normal secretarial duties.
.“I also went shopping with her,” said Olden. “Whenever we went to New York she loved to go to Bergdorf Goodman and buy a lot of shoes. She loved shoes! She also liked to go to the grocery store. She was not the type of person to relegate those chores to someone else.”
In their free time, the women indulged in playing golf and tennis together.
“Ginger was quite a good athlete. She always beat me, even though I was younger,” said Olden. “That was a little disheartening for me, but she earned it!”
Though she said Rogers was “a person who knew her own mind,” Olden added that she would sometimes confide in her assistant.
“She said that Lew Ayres was her one true love,” she remembered of Rogers, who was married five times. She married him in 1934 after they met on the set of 1933’s Don’t Bet on Love, but they separated in 1936 before divorcing in 1940.
After Rogers died in 1995 at the age of 83, she left all of her memorabilia to Olden, including the Oscar she won for the 1940 film Kitty Foyle.
“I treasure it so much,” Olden said of the Oscar. “She was just a wonderful person to be around and I still miss her.”