Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton Starred in a Movie About Divorce Before Their Second One

Elizabeth Taylor was the Golden Age‘s queen bee. But as legendary as her career was, her personal life shared a significant portion of the spotlight. Taylor was married a record eight times, a feat which drew massive attention to her, especially in the ’50s when it was unheard of for a woman. She even married Tony-Award winner Richard Burton twice. Interestingly, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton starred in a movie about divorce before their second one.

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton met years before appearing in a movie together

Elizabeth Taylor Richard Burton divorce
American Actors Liz Taylor and Richard Burton | Bob Penn/Sygma/Sygma via Getty Images

Taylor and Burton first laid eyes on each other in 1953. Burton, an upstart actor attending a Hollywood party at Jean Simmons’s house, wrote of Taylor, “She was so extraordinarily beautiful that I nearly laughed out loud.”

Taylor, who was already famous at 21 years old, found the Tony Award winner “swaggering and vulgar” and brushed off his advances. Taylor was then just out of her marriage to Conrad Hilton Jr., which lasted less than a year.

Burton had earned a reputation. Taylor said she rejected him to avoid becoming “a notch in his belt.” Unbeknownst to the pair, they would meet again nine years later on the set of the hit film Cleopatra, where Taylor played the titular character while Burton played Mark Antony.

Vanity Fair quoted an expert from the book Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton and The Marriage of the Century. The site noted that the pair fell for each other, with every one of their kisses on the movie set taking longer than the other. They formed a connection and began seeing each other.

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton starred in ‘Divorce His, Divorce Hers’

The duo’s affair happened as they were still married to other people, Taylor to Eddie Fisher and Burton to Sybil Williams. It took a while before they divorced their respective spouses. But once it happened, the couple didn’t waste any time. Taylor and Burton got married in 1964.

The couple would last a solid decade together but divorced in 1974 only to remarry the following year. Around this time, they starred in the film Divorce His, Divorce Hers, which examined the conflicted emotions of a couple 18 years into a broken relationship.

Divorce His, Divorce Hers debuted in early 1973. While it may or may not have reflected the couple’s real-life marriage, the pair parted ways soon after. 

A rundown of Elizabeth Taylor’s marriages

Taylor’s eight marriages only increased media attention on her and her projects. MGM organized for her to date Glenn Davis in 1948, but she got engaged to William Pawley Jr. When she was 18, she married Hilton Jr. but filed for divorce a few months later.

Taylor married actor Michael Wilding who was 20 years her senior but divorced in 1957. She moved on with Mike Todd, but he died in a plane crash. Taylor then sought refuge with Fisher, her best friend’s husband (Fisher was married to Debbie Reynolds at the time). She and Fisher got married in 1959 but divorced in 1964.

She and Burton married twice but finalized their second and last divorce in 1976. The pair remained friends until Burton’s death in 1984 at 58. Taylor married John Warner, who she divorced in 1982. Finally, she married her last husband, Larry Fortensky, in 1991, but the marriage ended in 1996.

Despite their divorces, Elizabeth Taylor revealed in an interview that she was still in love with Richard Burton when he died in 1984 and believed he loved her too. Taylor died in 2011 at 79 years old. 

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