The Only Husband Elizabeth Taylor Married Twice

Elizabeth Taylor is a name that evokes glamor, independence, and passion. During the height of her popularity in the 1950s, Taylor likely could have had any man she desired. After all, she wasn't afraid to go after what she wanted, both in her career and her love life. So much so that the infamous Taylor was married eight times, and one of those lucky gentlemen even married her twice.

But before Richard Burton and Taylor would tie the knot, the pair had one of Hollywood's most infamous affairs. It began with a bad pickup line, an alcohol-fueled bender, and apparently, his facial blood vessels, which are common with heavy drinking, that Taylor simply couldn't resist, as per Town&Country. Allegedly, when Burton stumbled hungover onto the set of Cleopatra to film their first scene together, the 29-year-old Taylor saw the vulnerability behind the 36-year-old's typical swagger. Their private drama would play out throughout filming and their tryst setting the stage for a multi-year romance.

An auspicious beginning

The only problem with Burton and Taylor's love at first sight or set, should we say, is that they were both married to other people. Taylor was the wife of Eddie Fisher, while Burton was wed to his wife, Sybil. Once the relationship between the two Hollywood favorites began, Fisher allegedly found it too humiliating to come on set and witness the pair's obvious flirtation. Mrs.Burton was confident the affair would blow over like all the rest, as her hubby had a reputation for seducing his co-star leading ladies.

It didn't. Their affair became so scandalous that it was condemned by the Vatican. The media was relentless in pursuing the Hollywood "it" couple and detailing their every move to the public. In fact, the papers' front pages were constantly splashed with images of the couple vacationing in the Mediterranean or touring Rome. That being said, Burton fondly referred to the situation as "Le Scandale," according to Town&Country. At the same time, the Vatican liked to refer to it as "erotic vagrancy," seeing as both Burton and Taylor were still married (per Entertainment Weekly). But not for long.

On March 15, 1964, Burton at 38 years old and Taylor of 32 years, were wed, for the first time. Interestingly enough, the date was the Ides of March, known as the day Caesar was overthrown and considered an unlucky date since then (via Vogue). 

Torrid but tumultuous

The couple continued to make waves after their wedding. They starred in various films together, amassed millions, and adopted a child. Everywhere they went, they were mobbed, hounded, and harassed. It's rumored that Taylor couldn't wait until the day she could quit acting and take care of their family, while Burton could pursue his other passions like writing. Yet it was always to be a dream and never a reality. Soon Hollywood's pressures, Burton's drinking, and Taylor's addiction to sleeping pills took a toll on the couple. Letters to one another often included an apology for an alcohol-fueled fight interspersed between lines of how much one couldn't bear to live without the other.

There was no denying that their hectic relationship seemed as if it was doomed from the beginning. Taylor once said, "We were like magnets, alternately pulling toward each other and, inexorably, pushing away" (via Town&Country). Burton was equally ablaze with romanticism, stating, "I love you badly like a disease. I dream of you curled up asleep. I'm even jealous of the bed. . . ." A love so all-consuming couldn't burn so fiercely forever. The couple became self-destructive, earning them the moniker "Battling Burtons." A month after their 10th wedding anniversary in 1974, their divorce was announced.

Destined or doomed

However, like all legendary lovers (ahem, Ben Affleck, and Jennifer Lopez), Taylor and Burton couldn't stay away from each other. So, less than a year later, in 1975, they secretly wed again; shocking but likely not surprising to the public. Burton and Taylor's passion was often detailed in prolific love letters. Unfortunately, nine months later, Taylor would sign a much less romantic document — her divorce papers. "I love Richard with every fiber of my soul, but we can't be together," she said, according to Town&Country.

Throughout the rest of their lives, their daughter, careers, and spellbinding love for one another would continue to pull them back together, though they would never wed again. Taylor even once told authors, Sam Kashner and Nancy Schoenberger, "In my heart, I will always believe we would have been married a third and final time" states Vanity Fair. In a letter dated August 5, 1984, three days before his passing, Burton penned that he also missed Taylor and wanted desperately to return to her.

Nevertheless, only Taylor's fifth and sixth marriages would be to Burton. She seemed to know that while they captivated one another, they also drove each other crazy. In the end, the sage icon fell back on advice she shared with all forlorn lovers: "Pour yourself a drink, put on some lipstick, and pull yourself together," as per Town&Country. And that she did. A hopeless romantic, Taylor would go on to be married twice more.