Elizabeth Taylor is a Hollywood legend. Her career spanned decades as she starred in major Hollywood classics that defined cinema, including Cat on a Hot Tin Roof and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?. Her lavish lifestyle and love for diamonds and glam that helped define the 1940s, not to mention her humanitarian efforts.
But one other major point of discussion when it comes to Taylor’s legacy is her ever-changing relationship status.
With eight marriages and seven husbands under her belt, it is no surprise that the starlet would answer to comments about her constant divorces with, “I feel very adventurous” (via ABC News).
“My troubles all started because I have a woman’s body and a child’s emotions,” said Taylor. Before her death in March 2011, Elizabeth Taylor was adamant her marriages were because of her love for love.
“I don’t want to be a sex symbol,” said Taylor, according to the Los Angeles Times. “I would rather be a symbol of a woman who makes mistakes, perhaps, but a woman who loves.”
So what’s the real story behind Elizabeth Taylor’s eight marriages? Let’s dive in.
Her first marriage was to a Hilton
Who would have thought Elizabeth Taylor could have a connection to socialite Paris Hilton? At the young age of 18, the actress married Conrad “Nicky” Hilton Jr., who happens to be the great-uncle of Paris Hilton.
Nicky Hilton was a socialite like his great-niece, according to ABC News, and ended up heading Trans World Airlines. During their brief marriage from May 1950 to February 1951, Hilton was reportedly abusive to Taylor. Their eight-month marriage also ended partially due to Taylor’s growing fame.
One year later, in February 1952, Taylor would marry Michael Wilding, a British actor. Wilding was twice Taylor’s age, per ABC News. The marriage lasted for five years, and the couple had two sons, Michael Jr. and Christopher.
Continuing with Taylor’s trend of being married in February, the actress married film and theater producer Michael Todd in February of 1957. With an almost 30-carat diamond ring in place, the couple married in Mexico and soon welcomed their daughter Elizabeth “Liza” Todd. The marriage would last just one year, as Todd died in a tragic plane crash in March 1958. Taylor was just a 26-year-old widow at the time. Seeking emotional support, she confided in Todd’s best friend Eddie Fisher.
Her fourth marriage was very controversial
With the death of her third husband Michael Todd, actress Elizabeth Taylor became a widow with three children. The year was 1958, and Taylor found comfort in her late husband’s best friend, singer Eddie Fisher. Their relationship would soon become the buzz around Hollywood.
Eddie Fisher was a singer in the 1950s, and his wife Debbie Reynolds was an actress and singer, commonly known from Singin’ In The Rain. The couple had two kids, Todd Fisher and Carrie Fisher (who later became Princess Leia in Star Wars). Reynolds was reportedly Elizabeth Taylor’s matron of honor in her marriage to Michael Todd.
According to the Los Angeles Times, Fisher and Taylor developed a romance after spending hours in distress together. Fisher eventually left Reynolds and married Elizabeth Taylor in May 1959. Because of the scandal of the apparent affair, NBC canceled Fisher’s television series (via ABC News).
At first, with the excitement of a new marriage, Taylor claimed, “Our honeymoon will last 40 years.” Yet five years later, in March 1964, their marriage would end, reportedly due to Taylor’s affair on the set of Cleopatra. She would later claim she married Fisher because of grief and distress (via Pop Sugar).
She got married to the same man twice
By the 1960s, Elizabeth Taylor was a renowned actress. The Hollywood starlet had starred in Lassie, Father of the Bride, National Velvet, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, and other films that became Hollywood classics. It was on the set of her hit film Cleopatra that she met her fifth (and then sixth) husband, actor Richard Burton.
The affair between Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, who were both married when they first became involved, became a huge scandal, which by now Taylor was accustomed to. According to the Los Angeles Times, a member of Congress at the time tried to ban the actors from the U.S., and the Vatican criticized them for “erotic vagrancy.” After divorcing Eddie Fisher in March 1964, Taylor married Richard Burton just nine days later.
“If Richard and I divorce, I swear I will never marry anyone again. I love him insanely,” said Taylor at the time (via ABC News).
That statement didn’t exactly hold up. Taylor and Burton’s marriage, which was defined by their lavish lifestyles and luxury gifts, ended in June 1974. This turned out to be Taylor’s longest marriage. So why is Burton considered Taylor’s one true love?
As reported by ABC News, the couple remarried just 16 months after their first divorce in October of 1975. A year later, they would divorce a second time in August 1976. After Burton’s death in 1984, Taylor proclaimed she was “still madly in love with him until the day he died” (via the Times).
Why she finally swore off marriage
After marrying a socialite, a singer, a producer, and two actors, Elizabeth Taylor’s seventh marriage (but sixth husband) was to Republican politician John Warner.
Per the Los Angeles Times, Taylor met Warner when the British embassy paired the two as a date to a dinner in honor of Queen Elizabeth and President Ford. The couple married in December of 1976. Two years later, Warner was elected to the U.S. Senate.
Taylor wasn’t happy in the marriage, and it ended six years later in November 1982. In her 1988 book “Elizabeth Takes Off,” Taylor said of the marriage, “I don’t think I’ve ever been so alone in my life as when I was Mrs. Senator.”
As the 1980s went on, Taylor began abusing drugs and alcohol and checked into the Betty Ford Center twice. On her second stay, she met construction worker Larry Fortensky, who was 20 years younger than the actress. The two married in October 1991 at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch. Then in October of 1996, Taylor had her eighth and final divorce.
After the divorce, Taylor reportedly swore off marriage for good. She remained unmarried until her death in 2011.
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