Celebrities sometimes lead wild and complicated lives, so it’s perhaps no surprise that many celeb marriages are relatively short-lived. But what they lose in longevity, they make up for in glamor and excitement. For better or worse, the following vintage photos of 20 famous weddings from the 20th century capture those iconic moments when two stars tied the knot…
20. George Harrison and Patti Boyd, 1965
Former Beatle George Harrison married Patti Boyd at the zenith of Beatlemania – an era she subsequently described as “terrifying.” In a 2018 Harper’s Bazaar interview with Taylor Swift, Boyd described being assaulted by female Beatles fans at a concert in London. But despite the pressures of fame, their marriage lasted 11 years. Boyd is said to have inspired both “I Need You” and “Something” by the Beatles. After divorcing Harrison, she went on to marry Eric Clapton.
19. Jane Fonda and Roger Vadim, 1965
Film-maker Roger Vadim and actress Jane Fonda tied the knot in a glitzy ceremony at a Las Vegas hotel. However, Vadim was a notorious philanderer, and he soon pressed Fonda into indulging in his promiscuous, swinging lifestyle. “Jealousy is bourgeois,” he reportedly told her. He was also a gambling addict. Nonetheless, their marriage endured for eight years, which is longer than many Hollywood unions.
18. Jacqueline Bouvier and John F. Kennedy, 1953
Although the marriage of Jacqueline Bouvier and John F. Kennedy was cut short by tragedy, their big day in 1953 was the epitome of storybook romance. Jackie wore an extravagant ivory tissue silk outfit and a bouffant skirt stitched with 50 yards of material, a fitted bodice, a lace veil, a tiara, a pearl choker and a diamond bracelet. More than 1,000 guests attended the reception, where the cake was 4 feet high.
17. Elizabeth Taylor and Conrad Hilton, 1950
Elizabeth Taylor was an archetypal serial monogamist – she married eight times during her lifetime. At the age of 18, she wed her first husband, Conrad “Nicky” Hilton Jr., next in line to the Hilton Hotels business empire. This proved to be a mistake, however, as Hilton was an abusive alcoholic. They divorced eight months later. Taylor went on to marry Michael Wilding, Michael Todd, Eddie Fisher, Richard Burton (twice), John Warner and Larry Fortensky. Aged just 42, Hilton died of a heart attack in 1969.
16. Priscilla Beaulieu and Elvis Presley, 1967
Elvis started dating Priscilla in 1959. At the time, she was just 14 years old. When they finally married in 1967, it was a relatively modest occasion. Attended by fewer than 20 people, the wedding took place in a suite at Las Vegas’ Aladdin Hotel. The champagne reception was attended by around 100 guests, and the centerpiece of the feast was a 5 feet-high wedding cake loaded with Bavarian cream and apricot marmalade.
15. Mary Pickford, 1920
Known as “America’s Sweetheart,” Canadian-born Mary Pickford is remembered as an actress and studio entrepreneur. She was one of the 36 original members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts, and a co-founder of both United Artists and the Pickford-Fairbanks studio. In 1920 she married her second husband, Douglas Fairbanks and during their honeymoon in Europe, adoring fans rioted to get near to them. They divorced in 1936 after Fairbanks had an affair with English socialite Sylvia Ashley.
14. Lindsey Rudland and Andrew Clewer, 1973
London-based model Lindsey Rudland married Andrew Clewer in 1973. Their marriage, like their celebrity status, didn’t stand the test of time. Three years later, Rudland started having an affair with erotic photographer Bob Carlos Clarke, and she eventually left Clewer for him. Perhaps the most enduring legacy of their brief marriage is this photo, which went viral thanks to the couple’s impressive platform shoes.
13. Diana Darvey and Terry Gittings, 1975
Diana Darvey was an English actress who appeared several times on raucous TV sketch series The Benny Hill Show. Terry Gittings, her first husband, was a drummer who worked with English musician Georgie Fame. The couple eventually divorced, but this image of their complementary pantsuits might just last an eternity.
12. Liza Minnelli and Peter Allen, 1967
Following in the footsteps of her mother, Judy Garland, Liza Minelli has enjoyed a distinguished career as a singer and actress. However, her personal life has perhaps been less successful. Minelli’s marriage to Australian entertainer Peter Allen fell apart after she found out he was gay. His sexuality was common knowledge, apparently, but she only learned about it on their wedding night, when she walked in on him with his male lover. Minnelli married another three times.
11. Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher, 1956
Despite having two children together (including Carrie Fisher of Star Wars fame), the marriage between Hollywood stars Debbie Reynolds and Eddie Fisher lasted less than four years. They divorced after Fisher did the dirty with Elizabeth Taylor, Reynolds’ then best friend. He went on to become the fourth of Taylor’s seven husbands. Reynolds, meanwhile, enjoyed a high profile career lasting seven decades. She died in 2016.
10. Audrey Hepburn and Mel Ferrer, 1954
Remembered for her humanitarian work as much as her acting and singing, Audrey Hepburn was a star of the Golden Age of Hollywood. She married actor Mel Ferrer after meeting him at a party and subsequently working with Ferrer on a theatrical production. By Hollywood standards, they had a good run. Their marriage lasted 14 years before they divorced in 1968. A year later, she married her second husband, Andrea Dotti, an Italian psychiatrist.
9. Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra, 1951
Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner had chemistry. Unable to resist each other, they started an affair when Sinatra was still hitched to Nancy Barbarto. But chemistry isn’t the only requirement for a successful marriage. Two years after their wedding in 1951, their relationship descended into such tempestuous drama (including two pregnancies and two abortions) that the couple separated. They divorced a few years later in 1957, although they were rumored to still have feelings for each other.
8. Nat King Cole and Maria Hawkins Ellington, 1948
Nat King Cole married fellow jazz singer Maria Hawkins Ellington on Easter Sunday, a mere six days after finalizing a divorce from Nadine Robinson, his first wife. Together they had five children, but the couple subsequently split due to Nat’s extramarital affairs. However, when the singer became ill with lung cancer, Maria cared for him until he passed away.
7. Alana Hamilton and Rod Stewart, 1979
The marriage between model Alana Hamilton and rock singer Rod Stewart lasted five years before ending in divorce. Naturally, Stewart’s womanizing was to blame. And in 2012 Hamilton wrote about the breakup in the Huffington Post. “I thought my world was coming to an end,” she recalled. “Divorce is never easy, but it’s even more painful when you find out your husband is having an affair with a beautiful model 15 younger than you…”
6. Lulu and Maurice Gibb, 1969
Pop singer Lulu and Maurice Gibb of Bee Gees fame married a short time after meeting on the British music TV show Top of the Pops. However, Gibb had alcohol problems, and his rock ’n’ roll antics soon put a strain on their relationship. They divorced and went their separate ways in 1975. Gibb finally got sober in 1992, but 11 years later he died of a twisted intestine at the age of just 53.
5. Russ Meyer and Edy Williams, 1970
Cult American filmmaker Russ Meyer is remembered for his racy B-movies that frequently featured Amazonian women. Conservative conventions and values were the usual targets of his comedic productions. His marriage to actress Edy Williams, who starred in Valley of the Dolls and several other of Meyer’s movies, lasted until 1975.
4. Judy Garland and Vincente Minnelli, 1945
Judy Garland is best known for two things: her breakthrough role in The Wizard of Oz and her destructive inner demons. At the age of 23, she married her second husband, director Vincente Minnelli. But behind the scenes, she struggled with an addiction to sleeping pills and amphetamines. And after being kicked out of MGM, she suffered a nervous collapse and twice tried to kill herself. She married three more times after divorcing Minnelli in 1951.
3. Mia Farrow and Frank Sinatra, 1966
Actress Mia Farrow married Frank Sinatra at the age of 21. He was 29 years her senior. The ceremony took place in Las Vegas and lasted less than five minutes, before the couple flew off to throw a lavish party in Palm Springs. Although they divorced two years later, Farrow apparently never got over Sinatra. “I loved him till the day he died and beyond, he was the love of my live,” she told Ireland’s RTÉ Radio 1 in 2017.
2. Wallis Simpson and Edward, Duke of Windsor, 1937
King Edward VIII loved the American socialite Wallis Simpson so much that he gave up his throne to marry her. The relationship was controversial in the eyes of the British establishment because Simpson was twice divorced. Although their marriage lasted until Edward’s death in 1972, biographer Andrew Morton depicted their union as essentially unhappy. Furthermore, the pair were rumored to be Nazi sympathizers. “She would have made a good Queen,” Adolf Hitler reportedly said of Simpson after they met in 1937.
1. John Lennon and Yoko Ono, 1969
John Lennon and Yoko Ono were married in a brief, functional ceremony in Gibraltar, a British territory located at the southern tip of Spain. They had originally wanted to get married on a ferry between France and the UK, but visas issues prevented it. There was no reception as such, although the couple did retire to the Hilton Hotel for a famous seven-day “bed-in for peace.” Lennon was murdered in New York in 1980.