Elizabeth Taylor's Many Marriages: A Look Back
Elizabeth Taylor was almost as well known for her marriages as for her acting credits and social activism. The late screen legend was married eight times, after all, to seven different husbands.
“I am not putting the failure of my marriages off on anyone but myself,” Dame Elizabeth once said in an interview with KNBC in 2004.
She first married hotel heir Conrad “Nicky” Hilton in 1950, but their marriage only lasted nine months.
“The honeymoon in Europe lasted two weeks,” Taylor wrote in a 1965 memoir. “I should say the marriage lasted for two weeks. Then came, yours sincerely, disillusionment — rude and brutal.”
In 1952, she married actor and second husband Michael Wilding, with whom she had her first two children.
“We had a lovely, easy life, very simple, very quiet. Two babies were born. We had friends. We didn’t do much,” the actress wrote in the 1965 memoir about Wilding, from whom she split after four years.
Just a few months after divorcing Wilding, Taylor married the man she called her first true love – Hollywood producer Mike Todd. After only 13 months of marriage, Taylor’s third husband was killed in a plane crash in New Mexico.
During an interview in 2003 on “Larry King Live,” Dame Elizabeth recalled the moment she heard the devastating news.
“I just screamed, ‘No, he’s not!’ And I ran, ran out of the room,” she said.
While mourning Todd’s death, Elizabeth turned to his good friend, singer Eddie Fisher, for comfort. Their new relationship blossomed even though Fisher was already married to Elizabeth’s good friend Debbie Reynolds. Taylor and Fisher married in 1959 and divorced five years later.
While filming 1963’s “Cleopatra,” Taylor met Richard Burton, the man who would become the second great love of her life. The pair met when Taylor was married to Eddie Fisher and Burton was married to wife Sybil Williams.
Elizabeth and Richard’s affair soon became tabloid fodder and even The Vatican condemned the actress for her “erotic vagrancy.” After the two lovebirds divorced their respective spouses, they wed on March 15, 1964. They divorced in 1974 and remarried again in 1975 – later divorcing again the following year.
The pair starred in 11 films together, including 1966’s “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” for which Taylor won an Oscar.
In 1976, Taylor married her sixth husband, politician John W. Warner, whom the actress helped in his 1978 campaign for the U.S. Senate. They divorced in 1982.
“Being a senator’s wife is not easy,” she told a reporter when asked about her marriage to Warner, via The Associated Press. “It’s very lonely. I wouldn’t wish it on anyone.”
In 1990, Taylor met her last husband, Larry Fortensky, who was only 37. The pair met while both undergoing treatment at the Betty Ford Center.
Taylor and Fortensky married in October 1991 at Michael Jackson’s Neverland Ranch, in Santa Barbara, Calif. In August 1995, the pair announced a trial separation and divorced in February 1996.
“You don’t get over men like the flu,” Taylor said, via The AP. “Every divorce is like a little death.”
Adding, “I’m not going to join a nunnery… I said I’m through with marriage, but I’m not through with men — that wouldn’t be realistic.”
Copyright 2014 by NBC Universal, Inc. All rights reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.