The late screen legend Elizabeth Taylor would have turned 88 this month. She left behind an incredible legacy as an actress, businesswoman, humanitarian, and activist. She was also a stunningly beautiful woman. It’s no surprise that she had eight husbands. In fact, the world was fascinated by her personal life and all the men she captured. I’m more into her movies, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof being a particular favorite, but that’s another post for another day. Let’s focus on the shallow stuff and rank her husbands.
8. Conrad Hilton Jr.
Conrad Hilton Jr. was Elizabeth’s first husband. On paper, he seemed like the perfect catch. A young, handsome, hotel heir. He and Elizabeth got married in a huge ceremony that was covered extensively by the press. Unfortunately, the fairytale ended quickly. Elizabeth realized that her new husband was an abusive heavy drinker. She divorced him after only 8 months of marriage. Conrad was like the first pancake of her husbands. He didn’t turn out right, so she tossed him in the trash and tried again.
7. Michael Wilding
Michael Wilding may be the least know of her husbands. He was a mildly successful actor, twenty years her senior, and fairly bland. But I guess he was a step up from Conrad. The marriage went downhill as her career took off and his lagged behind. Similar to A Star is Born, but less entertaining. After five years they were done.
6. John Warner
I wonder if Elizabeth was imaging herself as the new Jackie Kennedy when she married politician, John Warner. Going on the campaign trail may have seemed like a novel concept to a movie star. In any event, this was no Camelot and he wasn’t as handsome as JFK. Liz was soon bored with her life as a senator’s wife in D.C. She passed the time boozing, taking pills, and eating. Luckily, she got a divorce and went back to Hollywood.
5. Larry Fortensky
The substance abuse that began during her marriage to Warner eventually led Elizabeth to check into the famed Betty Ford clinic where she met her next husband, Larry Fortensky. They fell in love and got sober together. What a sweet meet-cute story. The marriage didn’t last long though. Larry, a construction worker who came from simple means, didn’t enjoy being “Mr. Liz Taylor”. There are worse things. Like, his mullet.
4. Eddie Fisher
Eddie Fisher and his wife, actress Debbie Reynolds, were best friends with Elizabeth and her third husband, Mike Todd. After Mike’s tragic death, Eddie “comforted” a grieving Elizabeth. They began an affair that led to Eddie leaving Debbie, America’s Sweetheart, and marrying Liz. Of course, Debbie got the last laugh when Elizabeth dumped Eddie for her Cleopatra co-star. Karma is a Burton.
3. Richard Burton
Elizabeth and Richard Burton were married twice. So, he counts as husband #5 and #6. The second marriage lasted less than a year and was uneventful, so I’m putting it at #3 on the list. Follow that? More to come below.
2. Mike Todd
Producer Mike Todd was Elizabeth’s 3rd husband and at the time she called him the love of her life. He was as big and over the top as his productions, which included Best Picture winner Around the World in 80 Days. He liked the spotlight and making a show of things, so he and Liz were a good match. Plus, he lavished her with jewelry, including an ornate ruby necklace and diamond tiara. Elizabeth once said that the best thing about him, though, was that he made her feel protected and loved. It’s sad that they didn’t get to spend more time together. He died a little more than a year after they married.
1. Richard Burton
Elizabeth’s love affair with Richard Burton began on a dramatic note. They left their spouses for each other causing the tabloid press to lose its mind. The Vatican was also playing close attention since they denounced the couple, charging them with “erotic vagrancy”. Should the Church really have been throwing stones from its glass house? After divorcing Eddie, Liz and Richard rushed to the altar. The next ten years of marriage were filled with elaborate vacations, tons of jewelry, kids, 11 movies together, and raucous partying. There were also many fights. The press didn’t call them the Battling Burtons for nothing. In the end, though, they had a deep love for one another that lasted long after their union ended.