Later today at 12:45pm, Elizabeth Taylor stars in the epic 1963 film Cleopatra on BBC 2. This iconic Hollywood film is where Taylor met her fifth husband, Richard Burton. She stayed with the actor for ten years before divorcing him (and then remarrying him and divorcing him again a year later). But before that ordeal, Taylor stole her husband from her best friend, Debbie Reynolds.
Taylor and Reynolds had appeared in Hollywood around the same time. Both were child stars who learned the ropes as stars before transcending into mature movie stars who took the world by storm. They reportedly went on double dates and spent many nights together dating and up to no good.
Reynolds and her husband, Eddie Fisher, were head over heels in love. He would introduce her on stage as “my princess” and worship the ground she walked on. But that all changed a few years after the marriage when Taylor’s third husband, Mike Todd, died suddenly in a plane crash. Fisher comforted Taylor, and before long, their friendship turned into a sordid affair.
One night, while Fisher was “at work,” a single Reynolds called her best friend, Taylor’s, hotel room to chat. She was stunned when her husband picked up the phone.
“Suddenly a lot of things fell into place,” Reynolds recalled in 2010. “I could hear his voice asking who was calling, they were obviously in bed together. I yelled, ‘Turn around, honey, and let me talk to Isabel.’ “.
Fisher reportedly dropped the phone and ran home to face the music. She told Reynolds, “I’m sorry. Elizabeth and I are in love and I want a divorce.”
Reynolds assured her soon-to-be ex-husband: “If you marry her, she’ll kick you out in 18 months.” Of course, she was right. When Taylor joined the cast of Cleopatra, she fell in love with Richard Burton.
But before that, Reynolds didn’t want their marriage to end. She told the Daily Mail: “She was very religious so she didn’t believe in divorce.” But the new couple insisted and she gave him no other choice.
“They blamed me that I was keeping them apart from true love,” she recalled. “So I finally let Eddie go free. I told him to go away.”
Reynolds was really shocked and hurt by the events. “Eddie had been a godfather in [Taylor and Todd’s] wedding and I had been a bridesmaid. We saw each other a lot and I never suspected that she was going to push my husband away.”
Looking back, Reynolds confessed that she didn’t entirely blame her husband for sneaking off with Taylor.
“I might not have been so surprised if it had been someone else. But how it all happened was pretty shocking because they weren’t more careful to avoid hurting me,” she recalled. “I understand when I remember. Who would pass up Elizabeth? No woman in life was as beautiful as she was. And Eddie had even tried to act like Mike Todd, smoking big cigars.”
Reynolds knew there were rumors in the press about her husband dating Taylor after dark, but she paid no attention to them. She dismissed them as nothing more than rumors.
Unfortunately for her, she was wrong. She said: “I was the last to know about the affair. There were hints in the newspapers and I realized that when I appeared alone at functions or parties, my friends would whisper. Although I did not want to know the truth, I had to face it. Still, It was such a shock to find them together. It blew me away.”
Still, Reynolds had the last laugh. His warning came true: Taylor left Fisher when she met Burton, and they rarely saw each other again for the rest of their lives.
Reynolds, on the other hand, remarried a year later, in 1960, to Harry Karl, a shoe store owner.
#Elizabeth #Taylor #Debbie #Reynolds #husband #pushed #divorce