Born on 27 February 1932, in Hampstead, London, Elizabeth Taylor was universally known for her unearthly beauty, especially for her violet eyes rimmed by dark double eyelashes, with which she captured audiences, even early on in her youth and kept the world hooked on her during her prime. While her talent and beauty captivated millions on the silver screen, she was also known for falling in love in the blink of an eye and it was her personal life that made her a Hollywood star like no other. In 1948, when she was only 16, MGM arranged for her to date the famous footballer Glenn Davis, intending to highlight their new star for the benefit of their business and the following year, she was briefly engaged to William Pawley Jr, son of US ambassador William Pawley. American business magnate, record-setting pilot, engineer and film tycoon Howard Hughes was also eager to marry her and proposed to pay her parents a hefty, six-figure sum of money if she were to become his wife. Although Taylor declined the offer, she was otherwise eager to marry young as she believed that love was synonymous with marriage, probably due to her puritanical upbringing. But later, she described herself as being emotionally immature during that time and believed that she could gain independence from her overprotective parents and MGM through marriage.
Elizabeth got married for the first time just weeks after her 18th birthday, when she tied the knot with 24-year-old Conrad Hilton Jr, the heir to the Hilton hotel empire, in a large and expensive ceremony organised by MGM, which became a major media event, at the Church of the Good Shepherd in Beverly Hills on 6 May 1950. However, in the weeks following, Elizabeth realised that it was a blunder on her part to marry Conrad, as they have few interests in common and moreover, he was alcoholic and abusive.
Even, Hilton caused Taylor to have a miscarriage after one of his violent outbursts. She was granted a divorce on the grounds of mental cruelty on 29 January 1951, just eight months after their wedding. After Hilton’s premature death in 1969, his stepmother, actress Zsa Zsa Gabor confessed that Hilton and she had an affair in 1944, when he was 18.
The next year, Liz Taylor married British actor Michael Wilding, a man 20 years her senior, in a low-key ceremony at Caxton Hall in London on 21 February 1952. They met first time in 1948, while filming The Conspirator (1949) in England, and their relationship began when she returned to film Ivanhoe in 1951. It was reported that Taylor felt that their age gap would be helpful to achieve the calm and quiet security of friendship, which she wanted from a relationship, while Wilding probably hoped that the marriage would aid his career in Hollywood. However, after the couple had two sons together and Elizabeth became more confident in herself, she began to drift apart from Wilding, whose failing career was also a source of marital conflict. Adding fuel to it, the gossip magazine Confidential created a scandal by claiming that when she was away filming Giant in 1955, Wilding booked the services of strippers at his home. Eventually, the couple announced their separation on 18 July 1956 and after five years of togetherness, they were officially divorced on 26 January 1957.
Elizabeth took her third trip down the aisle the same year in Mexico, marrying film and theatre producer Michael Todd in Acapulco in Mexico on 2 February 1957, when she was pregnant with their child. Todd enjoyed the media attention of their marriage and in June 1957, he threw a lavish birthday party at Madison Square Garden, which was attended by 18,000 people and was broadcast on television.
They welcomed their daughter, named after her, Elizabeth Liza Frances, born on 6 August 1957. Unfortunately, tragedy struck just one year after their marriage, when Michael died in a plane crash on 22 March 1958, while aboard his private jet, ironically called The Liz, which reportedly left Taylor half-crazed with grief.
While Elizabeth, a vulnerable widow, was left devastated by Michael's death, she was comforted by the heartthrob singer Eddie Fisher, who was the best friend of her late husband, Michael Todd, since their teens But soon it turned into a tumultuous affair that created a public scandal and Elizabeth was termed as a homewrecker, since during that time, Fisher was married to actress Debbie Reynolds, one of the closest friends of Elizabeth, who was the matron of honour at her wedding to Todd. Despite everything, Elizabeth and Eddie made things official and after being converted to Judaism, she tied the knot at the Temple Beth Sholom in Las Vegas on 12 May 1959. In subsequent interviews, Taylor said she married Fisher only to tide over the grief of Todd's death and she did not feel any guilt about the affair, as she believes that one cannot break up a happy marriage, but Debbie and Eddie’s marriage was never that.
Elizabeth met the Welsh actor, Richard Burton, often described as the love of her life, on 22 January 1962, in full costume and makeup, while filming the blockbuster movie Cleopatra in Italy and they immediately began an affair, although they married to other people. They first met in 1953, at a Hollywood party at the home of movie stars Jean Simmons and Stewart Granger, when Burton found her unquestioningly gorgeous, while Taylor, already a popular star at 21, found Burton snobby, aloof and pretentious and decided to ignore him. But the chemistry took place nine years later, when on the first day of shooting together, Taylor found herself endeared to a painful hung over Burton. In their first deep kiss, in Cleopatra’s boudoir, Burton found himself caught up, almost drugged, in her presence and they repeated the scene several times, their kiss lasting longer with each take, until it was stopped by the director.
Soon the stories about the juicy affair of Liz and Dick, as they were termed, began to circulate in the press and were confirmed by a paparazzi, who caught them in his camera on a yacht in Ischia, a volcanic island at the northern end of the Gulf of Naples, around 30 km from Naples. The publication of the photograph created a scandal for which the couple was condemned for erotic vagrancy by the Vatican, which also called the US Congress, requesting them to bar them from re-entering the country. By that time, their obsessive affair consumed their respective marriages. One day, Eddie Fisher called Taylor from another city, only to discover Burton spending the night with his wife.
Eventually, while Fisher eventually overdosed, there were rumours that Burton’s wife Sybil attempted suicide. The couple married in a private ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton Montreal on 15 March 1964, ten days after Elizabeth was granted a divorce from Fisher on 5 March 1964, in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.
Although termed as the marriage of the century and Burton presented Elizabeth with some of the most storied jewels in the world, including the 33.19-carat Krupp diamond and the fabled La Peregrina pearl, one of the most famous pearls in the world, once owned by Spanish royalty, they divorced for the first time on 26 June 1974. However, although the Burtons were infamous for their fights in both private and public, they reconciled and remarried on 10 October 1975 in Kasane, Botswana, which, unfortunately, lasted less than a year, ending in divorce on 29 July 1976. However, in her later life she confessed that, after Richard, all the men in her life were just company. They were just there to hold the coat or to open the door.
Not long after her final divorce from Richard, she met her sixth husband, a Republican politician from Virginia, John Warner and after a whirlwind romance, they married within five months of their first date, on 4 December 1976. As a dutiful wife, Taylor helped Warner's election campaign, but after Warner was elected to the Senate, she started to find her life boring and lonely as a politician's wife in Washington, DC. As she was badly missing her busy life as a celebrity, she gradually became depressed, overweight and increasingly became addicted to the prescribed drugs and alcohol. Eventually, the couple separated in December 1981 and divorced a year later on 5 November 1982.
After the divorce from Warner, Taylor was engaged to Mexican lawyer Victor Luna in 1983/1984 and New York businessman Dennis Stein in 1985. However, after almost a decade of being single, the actress married again at the age of 59, to construction worker Larry Fortensky, whom she met at the Betty Ford Center in 1988, during her stint in rehab for her prescription pills and alcohol addiction. They married at Neverland Ranch of her close friend Michael Jackson on 6 October 1991and she sold the wedding pictures to People, an American weekly magazine for $1 million, which she used to start her AIDS foundation. They divorced on 31 October 1996, which Taylor attributed to her painful hip operations and his obsessive-compulsive disorder, but they remained in contact for life. However, it is also presumed that Elizabeth's fame was instrumental to drive the couple apart. Fortensky did not like the idea of walking in his wife’s shadow and hated to be known as Mr Elizabeth Taylor.
With eight marriages to her name with seven different men, Elizabeth Taylor was rarely alone in her life, but the great actress undoubtedly had one of the most dysfunctional love lives in the history of Hollywood. During her days, she was always at the centre of some of the most talked-about affairs of the last century and even more than a decade after her death, lots of men speak out about their secret romances with the late actress.
Just before she was married to Michael Wilding in 1952, the violet-eyed Elizabeth starred opposite Montgomery Clift for the time in A Place in the Sun (1951) and instantly fell hard for him. During that time, Taylor was just 17, in her formative period, while Clift, who was 29, was viewed by many as a moody loner, who avoided the Hollywood crowd and scoffed at the press and viewed the industry as merely a movie-making machine with no regard for creating art. Naturally, Taylor was initially a little hesitant and even a little afraid of working with Clift for his reputation as a no-nonsense stage actor. However, there was electricity in the air when the two first met, Clift instantly felt his heart stop when he looked into her violet eyes and became excited to work with her and the bond between the two grew when they began to work together. However, he was gay and he tried to convey the message by bringing in men that he was dating onto the set to meet her. But that did not stop the forming their great friendship.
It was rumoured that towards the end of her unhappy marriage to Michael Wilding, Elizabeth found herself pregnant by Frank Sinatra and wanted to marry him, but he arranged an abortion for her instead. It is strongly assumed that she had also been dating the Irish actor Colin Farrell for two years, who was over double his age at the time. Although the details about how they spent those two years together during their intimacy are not known, it seems that something profound had happened between the two. The American actor, George Hamilton, who won a Golden Globe Award and also won two Golden Globe nominations, had dated her back in the ’80s and remained close to his old flame, the Cleopatra star, all the way to the very end. Elizabeth Taylor stunned her fans in 1981, with her stint on the hottest soap opera of its time, General Hospital, in which she appeared in three episodes and shared scenes with some of the famous television stars of the day, including Anthony Geary, who revealed all in an exclusive interview that he was sort of her boy toy for a couple of years. Despite any confirmation, there remain lots of clues that sharply point out that Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Jackson had a unique romantic relationship, with which the public was consistently in a frenzy. It was highly rumoured that Jackson had not only undergone plastic surgery to look more like the actress, he even preferred to spend time with her over his own family.