Debbie Reynolds was at the top of her career when she met Eddie Fisher in 1952. The celebrities both had multiple accomplishments under their belt and had public adoration. Reynolds and Fisher became close friends with Elizabeth Taylor and her third husband, Mike Todd, during their marriage.
Debbie Reynolds was Elizabeth Taylor’s matron of honor
Reynolds and Taylor’s friendship started long before they got married. Both actresses attended high school at the Metro Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) studio in between takes. At first, Reynolds idolized Taylor, who began acting years before she did.
“I went to MGM when I was around 17, and Liz was there, too, but she was already a star,” Reynolds told People. “We went to school together on the lot, when she was in between films. I was just a beginner, and she and I were not in any manner alike, but we got along very well because I was in awe of going to school with Elizabeth Taylor. And if anyone said they weren’t, then they were lying. Or blind.”
With time, Reynolds became just as famous as her classmate. After she landed the starring role of Kathy Selden in Singin in the Rain, she started gaining popularity. Additionally, Reynolds’ romance with Fisher catapulted her to fame, as the public called the couple “America’s Sweethearts.”
During their marriage, Fisher’s best friend, producer Mike Todd, proposed to Taylor. Of course, Taylor agreed to marry Todd, and they had their wedding on February 2, 1957. Because the four of them were so close, Reynolds became Taylor’s matron of honor. Additionally, Fisher was Todd’s best man.
Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher had a son before Michael Todd died
Although Reynolds wrote in her book, Debbie: My Life, that she and Fisher’s sex life suffered at the end of their marriage, she wanted another child. After she got Fisher drunk off “two beers,” Reynolds said she got pregnant with their second baby.
“I just remember praying to God that night that I would be pregnant. We had a good time, and there weren’t many of those,” she wrote, per The Daily Mail. “I just knew when I left that I was pregnant. I couldn’t have known, but I knew.’’
Nine months later, the couple welcomed their first son. They decided to name their baby boy Todd Emmanuel Fisher, after Todd. Sadly, Fisher’s best friend died in a plane crash just one month after his namesake’s birth.
Debbie Reynolds once said that Eddie Fisher wanted to be Mike Todd
Unfortunately, Fisher possibly had other reasons for naming his son after his best friend. Following Todd’s death, Fisher supported Taylor through the loss of her husband. However, the pair soon became more than close friends. After hearing rumblings from their mutual friends, Reynolds suspected that Fisher and Taylor had an affair. Of course, the news shocked Reynolds, and she asked them to confirm the information. Once they did, Fisher and Reynolds divorced in 1959.
Throughout the years, Reynolds eventually forgave Taylor for her role in the affair. Reynolds told Entertainment Tonight that she soon learned that Fisher married Taylor to emulate his best friend.
“Eddie always wanted to be Mike Todd,” she said of her ex. “He always wanted to be just like Mike. Outgoing and everybody loved Mike. Mike was an entrepreneur and a great producer, and that was really what Eddie wanted to be. So, when Mike passed on, Eddie became Mike,” she explained. “He started smoking cigars; he started drinking. [Fisher] had never drank, never smoked cigars, you know? And all of a sudden, he just took on this other personality. Well, naturally, Elizabeth, who was deeply mourning, was attracted to Eddie.”