ET – same initials for Elizabeth Taylor and Entertainment Tonight. Coincidence? I don’t think so, honey!
Anyway, the divine Elizabeth Taylor has died and we are left to ponder what it all means. Not the acting, the AIDS activism, the friendship with Michael Jackson… No, we’re left to ponder what her series of marriages really means about the natural timeline of a marriage. A recent new story reported that the seven-year-itch is now more common than the three-year-itch. For Liz, it was apparently a five-year-itch.
Marriage 1 to Nicky Hilton (no, not Paris Hilton’s sister) lasted from May 1950 to February 1951. Okay, she was just getting her feet wet and he was apparently abusive.
Marriage 2 to Michael Wilding lasted from February 1952 to January 1957. Bingo! Five years. And they remained friends after the split.
Marriage 3 to Mike Todd lasted from February 1957 to March 1958. Only one year, but he died, and she claimed in a late interview that he was truly the love of her life. So I’d say they’d have made five years.
Marriage 4 to Eddie Fisher lasted from May 1959 to March 1964. Bingo again! Five years. Even with cheated-on wife Debbie Reynolds pulling the nation’s heartstrings like Jennifer Aniston did after Angelina stole Brad.
Marriage 5 and 6 to Richard Burton, the first time from March 1964 to June 1974, the second time October 1975 – August 1976. You see how that averages out to about five apiece? All kidding aside, Liz seemed more than usually determined to make it work with Dick, but I wonder whether that’s just because the Vatican stepped in at the beginning told them what they were doing was a sin (since they were both married to other people when they met and started messing around). Both had a bit of rebel in them, maybe determined to prove the Pope wrong.
Marriage 7 to John Warner lasted December 1976 to November 1982. A little over five, even though he was Republican politician and she a Democrat.
Marriage 8 to construction worker Larry Fortensky lasted from October 1991 to October 1996. See? Even a goofy marriage born in the Betty Ford Clinic couldn’t nudge this one past five years. Liz had her internal clock. The alarm clock went. It was time to move on.
It all makes her time with Richard Burton that much more notable in retrospect, doesn’t it? Not only did she defy the Pope, but she stuck with him well past her normal five-year span and remarried him a year after the divorce just to be really sure there was no way they could make it work.
And if all this sounds a little flip, well, it is. But deep down I have a great deal of respect for Ms. Taylor’s gusto. It hurts to love and lose (or combust or fall into a state of loathing him whom you once loved), but she just kept getting back up on the horse, so to speak. This was a woman who loved passionately, if not well. She was a whole series of romance novels; she just missed the happily-ever-after part.
May you and yours experience the passion but also avoid becoming a movie star and nail down that HEA with good hard work.
Until next time…