Debbie Reynolds Once Said Eddie Fisher ‘Always Wanted To Be’ Elizabeth Taylor’s Husband
Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher were married with two small children when he fell for Elizabeth Taylor. The celebrities connected more frequently after Taylor’s husband, Mike Todd, died. Fisher and Todd were best friends years before the producer’s death.
In 1988, Reynolds shared her take on why her ex-husband left their family for her close friend.
Debbie Reynolds heard rumors about Eddie Fisher and Elizabeth Taylor
Before their infamous love triangle began, Reynolds, Fisher, and Taylor were all good friends. Taylor and Reynolds met as teenagers when they attended high school at the MGM studio. Once Taylor married Todd, the four friends became inseparable. They would often participate in events together as a double date. Additionally, Reynolds served as Taylor’s matron of honor for her and Todd’s 1957 wedding. Fisher acted as Todd’s best man.
Several months after Reynolds and Fisher had their son, Todd (named after Fisher’s best friend), tragedy struck Taylor’s family. Her husband died in a plane crash in March 1958. When they learned of the news, Fisher reached out to Taylor. In an interview with Entertainment Tonight, Reynolds said she didn’t think Taylor would steal her man. However, rumors regarding an affair between Fisher and Taylor began to circulate in Hollywood.
“I went to a party — a dinner party — and everyone was sort of whispering, like, ‘Does she know…’ And I wanted to know what they were whispering about, but nobody would tell me what they were whispering about, so I figured it was about me,” Reynolds said. “So, then I put two and two together because I could hear that certain [words], ‘Eddie’ and ‘Elizabeth’ and such.”
Why Debbie Reynolds thought Eddie Fisher left her for Elizabeth Taylor
Reynolds decided to confront Fisher about the relationship after hearing about her close friend and husband’s affair. She called Fisher while he was working in New York. Once she contacted Fisher, she realized that Taylor was with him. When he returned from New York, Fisher told Reynolds he wanted a divorce so he and Taylor could be together. In 1959, Fisher married Taylor the same day his marriage to Reynolds ended.
Looking back on the scandal, Reynolds said she thought her ex had ulterior motives for marrying Taylor. Instead of making her his bride for ideological reasons, Reynolds said the marriage allowed Fisher to be just like Taylor’s late husband.
“Eddie always wanted to be Mike Todd,” Reynolds explained. “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. 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.”
Debbie Reynolds once said Eddie Fisher filled a ‘terrible void’ for Elizabeth Taylor
While Reynolds believed Fisher tried to emulate Todd when he married Taylor, the Singin in the Rain star also thinks Taylor took advantage of him. She shared that Fisher was a familiar face for Taylor at the time.
“I thought it was simply that he was filling this terrible void for her, and totally friendship, which turned into another issue, but I really don’t think that she pursued that,” Reynolds said of Taylor. “I mean, that was Eddie wanting everything that Mike Todd had — and to be Mike Todd. Didn’t work out. You can’t be somebody else.”
Reynolds’s suspicions about Taylor and Fisher’s connection became real in 1964. After five years, Fisher and Taylor divorced. Nine days later, Taylor and her co-star, Richard Burton, got married. Taylor and Reynolds eventually became friends again until Taylor died in 2011.