Every actor has to start somewhere, and a whole lot
Liz really believed in love – before each marriage she told the press: “this is the one.” They all ended in tears, but she never stopped believing. She seems to have taken the message of her film ‘National Velvet’ to heart – if you fall off a horse, just get right back on again!
She cast her net wide, marrying businessmen, actors, producers and politicians. Marriage number 8 was to construction worker Larry Fortensky. When they married at Michael Jackson’s Neverland ranch she said: “this is it, forever.” But only five years later it too was over. She finally decided that she was through with marriage, but noted: I’m not through with men – that wouldn’t be realistic.” Here is what was said before and after each of her seven attempts to make romance marry up with reality:
#1 Conrad ‘Nicky’ Hilton (1950-1951)
She and the hotel heir married in haste, she was only seventeen. After their honeymoon, Taylor went home to her mother and they divorced less than a year after the wedding.
Before: MGM announced a fairy-tale wedding, even paying for the dress. The press reported heavenly love story.
After: Liz said: “I knew a month into the marriage it was a total mistake. I fell off my pink cloud with a thud.”
#2 Michael Wilding (1952-1957)
Before: “This is, to me, the beginning of a happy ending.”
After: “The 50’s strains on our marriage were too much for it to survive. We were so very different.”
#3 Mike Todd
Before: “A joy, a relish about being alive, a vitality that is so contagious.”
After: “I marry in love, but Mike was the one I loved the most.” (He sadly died in a plane crash).
#4 Eddie Fisher (1959-1964)
Mike’s best friend Fisher divorced Debbie Reynolds and married Taylor amid huge scandal.
Before: “You can’t break up a happy marriage. Debbie’s and Eddie never has been. Our honeymoon will last 40 years.”
After: Liz reflected that she had been grieving and had simply turned to Fisher (her dead husband’s best friend) for comfort.
#5 &6 Richard Burton (1964-1974 and 1975-1976)
The passionate pair was called ‘the battling Burtons). They married (and divorced) twice.
Before: “If Richard and I divorce, I swear I will never marry anyone again.”
After: “Richard was magnificent in every sense of the word, from the first moments we were always madly and passionately in love.”
#7 John Warner (1976-1982)
Liz moved into the world of politics and married a Republican senator.
Before: “The sun came out and smiled on us.”
After: “Being a senator’s wife is not easy, It’s very lonely. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”
Her many trips up the aisle may have finally dented her enthusiasm for paperwork, but she was far from joining a nunnery. Her romantic rollercoaster continued into the last years of her life when the actor Colin Farrell said they had had a romantic friendship.