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Who is Blair Tindall? Meet Bill Nye’s former fiancée as he weds Liza Mundy

Bruno Cooke June 22, 2022
blair tindall bill nye
Photo by Steven Ferdman/Getty Images

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Bill Nye (The Science Guy) married journalist and author Liza Mundy in late May 2022.

That has prompted some to look back on his relationship with motivational speaker and oboe player Blair Tindall.

Yahoo wrote in 2018 that Bill “couldn’t quite narrow marriage down to a science”. Despite having a wedding officiated by famous pastor Rick Warren, Nye later revealed his marriage to Blair was never legitimate.

So who was Bill Nye’s first wife – or at least fiancée – Blair Tindall, and what is the story of their almost-marriage?

Photo by Rodrigo Vaz/FilmMagic

Who is Blair Tindall?

Born 2 February 1960, Blair Tindall is an American oboist, motivational speaker and journalist.

She hails from Chapel Hill, North Carolina, and started playing music at a young age. 

Because her surname is so far along in the alphabet, when it came to joining the junior high school band the only instrument available to her was an oboe.

Tindall spent 23 years playing as a professional musician in New York City, and taught journalism at Stanford University. In 2005, she published a memoir of her experiences in the classical music world entitled Mozart In The Jungle: Sex, Drugs, And Classical Music.

Photo by Jenny Anderson/WireImage

When was she in a relationship with Bill Nye?

Bill Nye announced his engagement to Blair Tindall on The Late Late Show With Craig Ferguson in 2006. That year he “surprised” her, CBS News later reported, with a “spontaneous wedding”.

Celebrity pastor Rick Warren officiated it, Yo-Yo Ma provided the music, and that was that. Except it wasn’t. Nye later told Early Show national correspondent Hattie Kauffman they were, in fact, “never married”.

“We got a letter from the state of California,” he revealed, “with the great seal affixed, (which said) we were never married. So shortly afterwards we both agreed it was not a good idea.”

They separated soon afterwards. And, despite all the pomp and circumstance, Bill Nye and Blair Tindall were never officially husband and wife. Neither party has since revealed the reason for the marriage’s non-legitimacy. Some call it a “faux” marriage, others a “funky fake” one.

Photo by David Howells/Corbis via Getty Images

What happened between Blair Tindall and Bill Nye after their ‘marriage’ was over?

According to a report in USA Today from 2007, Bill Nye claimed his ex-fiancée “tried to poison his vegetable garden”.

He filed a permanent restraining order against her, saying Tindall had come to his home dressed in black and carrying “two plastic bottles filled with some sort of solvent”. 

The bottles “may have been emptied on my garden from which I get food produce”, Nye reportedly wrote in the filing, as quoted by USA Today. 

For her part, Tindall described the stunt as a “foolish, sophomoric act of poor judgment that was only intended to harm flowers, and certainly not people”.

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How did Tindall explain why she did it?

Watching Living With Ed on television one day, she saw the man she thought she’d married pluck a rose from his garden and give it to the wife of host Ed Begley Jr.

“I boiled over when Bill commented that life would be perfect,” USA Today quotes her as saying, “if only he had a woman with whom to share the house – a house I’d found, fixed up, and assumed I’d enjoy married life and motherhood as ‘Mrs Nye’ within.”

Years later, in 2012, Bill Nye sued Blair Tindall for unpaid attorney’s fees after she failed to repay his legal expenses. 

“Bill Nye was the love of my life,” she told TMZ at the time. “I’m surprised he has taken this action against me. I have no funds to pay him, and he is a very wealthy man, so I’m not sure where this is coming from.”

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Bruno is a novelist, amateur screenwriter and journalist with interests in digital media, storytelling, film and politics. He’s lived in France, China, Sri Lanka and the Philippines, but returned to the UK for a degree (and because of the pandemic) in 2020. His articles have appeared in Groundviews, Forge Press and The Friday Poem, and most are readable on Medium or onurbicycle.com.