Iconic Couples Of Hollywood’s Past

Before there was Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie or Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves, in the earlier days of Hollywood, there were couples that truly defined what it meant to be in a relationship in showbusiness. They were like the Marc Antony and Cleopatra of their time, and although not all of them always worked out, they were iconic enough that people still talk about these romances to this day. Take a look to see who these love birds were, what made their relationship so special, and the final result of it.

Douglas Fairbanks And Mary Pickford

Picture of the couple
Edward Steichen/Condé Nast via Getty Images
Edward Steichen/Condé Nast via Getty Images

Douglas Fairbanks met the actress Mary Pickford at a party in 1916 on tour with Charlie Chaplin. It wasn’t long after that their affair began, and the two were married in 1920, making them one of the first celebrity couples. They went to Europe for their honeymoon, and upon their return, the crowds were so massive to greet them that a riot occurred to get near the newlyweds.

Their relationship continued as the American golden couple of Hollywood, recognized around the world. At the end of the silent era of films, their relationships began to fail. Then, it was exposed that Fairbanks was having an affair with Sylvia Ashley. The couple divorced on January 10, 1936.

Greta Garbo And John Gilbert

Picture of Greta Garbo and John Gilbert
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Both colleagues and lovers, Greta Garbo and John Gilbert are known for working together on the silent films Flesh and the Devil, Love, and A Woman of Affairs. The two met on the set of their first movie together, Flesh and the Devil.

At that point, Gilbert was already incredibly popular and Garbo was essentially unknown, although marked as Moody Ice Queen. They had a passionate relationship although they never married– Gilbert insisted on marriage but Garbo denied.

Humphrey Bogart And Lauren Bacall

Picture of the couple
Warner Bros./Getty Images
Warner Bros./Getty Images

Easily one of the most memorable in Hollywood history, Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall’s relationship is regarded as one of the modern times most sincere romance stories. In 1944, the two met on the set for To Have and Have Not, leading both to fall in love with each other. Interestingly, Bogart was 26 years older than Bacall and had already been married three times.

Even though Bogart was married at the time, they started an affair that has lasted for decades. After they officially became a couple they had two children, and a fine marriage until Bogart’s death in 1957.

Paul Newman And Joanne Woodward

Picture of Paul Newman And Joanne Woodward
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

A relationship that proved to be true until the end was Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward. The two met one another on the movie set of The Long Hot Summer in 1953. The couple fell in love and married in 1957, and stayed together for an incredible 50 years of marriage.

They were often quoted for their affection towards each other with Woodward stating, “Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades, but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day, ah that’s a real treat.”

Frank Sinatra And Ava Gardner

Picture of Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images
Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner began what can be described as nothing less than a “steamy” love affair. Sinatra’s wife at the time, Nancy, allowed for a divorce in 1951. Afterward, Sinatra and Gardener’s relationship was no longer an affair and turned into a real marriage in 1953.

Throughout their marriage, however, both stars continued to have affairs with other major Hollywood celebrities until their divorce was officially finalized in 1957.

Tony Curtis And Janet Leigh

Picture of the family
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

Although it might sound a bit braggadocios, at one point, Tony Curtis referred to he and Leigh as “Hollywood’s golden couple.” No matter how “golden” the relationship may have sounded, prior to the nuptials, studio executives attempted to talk Curtis out of the whole thing just three days before the ceremony.

The couple ignored everyone and went on to have two daughters. Yet, in 1962, Curtis had divorce papers sent to Leigh on the set of The Manchurian Candidate, which were eventually signed.

Lucille Ball And Desi Arnaz

Desi and Lucille
Archive Photos/Getty Images
Archive Photos/Getty Images

Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz met while filming the classic stage performance of Too Many Girls. The couple connected almost instantly and eloped in 1940, just six months after they had met. Nevertheless, not all was well with the couple, as they separated for a time in 1944, supposedly due to Arnaz’s drinking habits and lack of loyalty.

In 1951, the couple came back together to create the iconic show I Love Lucy. Unfortunately, despite creating one of the most iconic shows ever to ever grace television, the two divorced in 1960. They’ve both said that they’ve never fallen out of love, and have never spoken ill of the other.

Marilyn Monroe And Joe DiMaggio

Picture of Marilyn Monroe And Joe DiMaggio
Underwood Archives/Getty Images
Underwood Archives/Getty Images

While Marilyn Monroe may have been known for her many romances throughout her days, the most publicized one was with baseball player Joe DiMaggio. It was the perfect match; a tall and handsome sports star, and a beautiful actress. The two began dating in 1952 after DiMaggio asked a friend to set up a dinner date for the two of them.

The couple was married on January 14, 1954. However, DiMaggio would experience issues with his wife’s reputation, and his jealousy would lead to divorce just a year after they were married. They reconciled in 1962, but unfortunately, Marilyn would pass away that same year.

Spencer Tracy And Katharine Hepburn

Picture of Spencer Tracy And Katharine Hepburn
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

In 1941, Hollywood stars Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn began a lifelong affair while Tracy was still married. The couple fell in love on the set of Woman of the Year, which sparked a relationship that would last almost 26 years.

While Tracy did everything he could to hide his relationship with Hepburn from his wife and the public, everyone knew. Hepburn never asked Tracy to leave his wife despite starring in several films together while their affair continued. Tracy then died of a heart attack at the age of 67.

Elizabeth Taylor And Richard Burton

Picture of Elizabeth Taylor And Richard Burton
API/GAMMA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images
API/GAMMA/Gamma-Rapho via Getty Images

Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton met on the set of Cleopatra in Italy in 1961, in which they began an affair while both were still married. After both divorced their previous spouses, the two were married in a small ceremony on March 15, 1964.

During their first ten years of marriage, they were Hollywood’s most talked-about couple, appearing in eleven films together. They lived a life of luxury with its fair share of rumors. They ended up divorcing in 1974 and getting back together in 1975 before divorcing again the following year. However, there was never any true animosity between the two.

Natalie Wood And Robert Wagner

Picture of Wagner and Wood
Chris Wood/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Chris Wood/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner began a relationship when Wood was just 18 and Wagner was 26. Supposedly, the actress had a crush on the leading man for some time, and for her eighteenth birthday went on a studio-arranged date with the man. The two were married a year later on December 28, 1957, with their nuptials being described as the “glittering union of the 20th Century.”

Their marriage lasted for five years and divorced for the first time in 1962. During their ten year separation, both remarried and had children before returning to each other once again. The couple remarried in 1972, had a daughter, and remained together until Wood’s death in 1981.

Rita Hayworth And Orson Wells

Picture of Rita Hayworth and Orson Wells
Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

Rita Hayworth married actor Orson Wells in a small ceremony before a judge on September 7, 1943. Since few people knew about the marriage, the two returned to the set just hours after being married. Although the media had a field day with their relationship, the couple eventually fell out of love, with Welles claiming that he didn’t want to settle down, resulting in divorce in 1947.

Haworth noted that “During the entire period of our marriage, he showed no interest in establishing a home. When I suggested purchasing a home, he told me he didn’t want the responsibility. Mr. Welles told me he should never have married in the first place; that it interfered with his freedom and his way of life.”

Vivien Leigh And Sir Laurence Oliver

Picture of Vivien Leigh And Sir Laurence Oliver
George Hales/Getty Images
George Hales/Getty Images

In 1937, actress Vivian Leigh began an affair with Sir Laurence Oliver while starring as lovers on Fire Over England. Although both of their partners refused to grant them a divorce, the two began living together.

In February 1940, Leigh was divorced and on August 31, 1940, the couple was married in a small private ceremony. However, their marriage wouldn’t last. After a series of affairs, the two divorced in 1960, mostly due to Leigh’s depressions and disorders that came from a miscarried child.

Eddie Fisher And Debbie Reynolds

Picture of Eddie Fisher And Debbie Reynolds
Hulton Archive/Getty Images
Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds married in 1955 and everything seemed to be going well until Elizabeth Taylor entered the picture. Debbie and Eddie were friends with Debbie’s lifelong friend, Liz, and her third husband, Mike Todd. So, when Todd was unfortunately killed in a plane crash, the couple stepped in to comfort the grieving wife, Taylor.

It was only a matter of time at that point that Fisher and Taylor would get involved with one another. This led to the destruction of Fisher and Reynolds’ relationship, although we got Carrie Fisher out of it.

Prince Rainer III And Grace Kelly

Picture of Prince Rainer and Grace Kelly
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

Prince Rainer III and Grace Kelly first met at the Cannes Film Festival in 1955 and were engaged by the end of the year. What was described as the “Wedding of the Century” took place one week after Kelly finished filming High Society in 1956, which would also be her last film as being an actress wasn’t a fit profession for royalty.

Retiring from acting, she took up her position as the Princess of Monaco. The former actress and Prince Rainer III had three children together and remained married until Kelly’s unfortunate death in a car accident in 1982.

Carlo Ponti And Sophia Loren

Picture of Carlo and Sophia
Keystone/Getty Images
Keystone/Getty Images

Actress Sophia Loren and movie producer Boris Ponti had been somewhat together since 1950 when Ponti was 40, and Loren was just 15. The two would remain together for 56 years, with Sophia appearing in 37 movies that Ponti would sponsor.

However, their marriage was no walk in the park. They were mocked by the public for their age difference and rumors spread about Sophia’s infidelities. Yet, the two remained true to one another until Ponti’s death at the age of 94.

Clark Gable And Carole Lombard

Picture of Clark Gable and Carole Lombard
Bettmann/Getty Images
Bettmann/Getty Images

One of the most celebrated couples of their time, Clark Gable and Carole Lombard, are considered to be one of Hollywood’s first power couples. Clark was one of the most successful lead actors, with Lombard being regarded as the queen of screwball comedies.

The couple was married for three years until Lombard was one of 22 passengers killed in a plane crash on January 16, 1942. Although Gable would remarry two more times, it’s noted that he was never the same after losing Lombard.

Blake Andrews And Julia Andrews

Picture of Blake Edwards and Julie Andrews
Ron Bull/Toronto Star via Getty Images
Ron Bull/Toronto Star via Getty Images

After meeting each other on a few different occasions, Blake Andrews and Julie Andrews both divorced their spouses and began dating soon after, regardless that Andrews was 13 years Andrews’ senior.

When the two were married, Andrews and Blake both had children from previous marriages and adopted two girls, Amy and Joanna, from Vietnam in 1974 and 1975. The two would also go on to make seven films together, which they credit for bringing them closer together, particularly during the filming of Darling Lilian 1970.

Laurence Oliver And Vivien Leigh

Picture of Laurence Oliver and Vivien Leigh
London Film Productions/United Artists/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images
London Film Productions/United Artists/Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images

Laurence Oliver and Vivien Leigh met in 1936, and the two took an immediate liking to one another, with Leigh claiming, “That’s the man I’m going to marry.” The two then began a steamy affair after they were both cast in Fire Over England, where they played each other’s love interest.

It wasn’t long after that Leigh began to show signs of bipolar disorder, and with no cure, her condition only worsened over the years. The couple would go on to marry in 1940 after both of their spouses agreed to divorce. However, Leigh’s mental illness would put a strain on their relationship, ending with Leigh’s death in 1967.

Audrey Hepburn And Mel Ferrer

Picture of Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer
Archive Photos/Getty Images
Archive Photos/Getty Images

In 1954, Mel Ferrer met Audrey Hepburn at a cocktail party hosted by Gregory Peck. The two would act together in the play Ondine, leading the two to start a relationship. They became married in Bürgenstock, Switzerland in September of the same year.

The couple would experience two miscarriages before having their only child, a boy named Sean Ferrer, in July 1960. There were rumors of infidelities on both sides, and after 14 years of marriage, the two were divorced in 1968.

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