Love will find a way, as the saying goes. Even when that love is 20 years your senior. Or junior, depending on who you’re asking. Elizabeth Taylor and Michael Wilding married at Caxton Hall in London on February 21, 1952. No matter that she had been divorced barely a year at that point (the same for him). No matter that he was also 20 years her senior. When it’s love, it’s love. Or so they say.
But with Liz, love didn’t ever seem to last too long. Wilding’s career was failing and it’s rumored that he thought marrying her would help revive it. Liz, on the other hand, thought that marrying a man 20 years older would be quiet and “more friendly” than her first marriage to Nicky Hilton. She was probably right on that count.
Liz and Michael had first met when she was filming The Conspirator in England in 1948. However, their relationship didn’t begin until she was back in London to film Ivahnoe in 1951, which also happened to be the year that Michael divorced his first wife.
They married at Caxton Hall in London in a small ceremony and Elizabeth’s dress was once again designed by Helen Rose, the head costume designer at MGM (her studio). And of course we all want to know about the engagement ring, right? It is Liz Taylor, after all. This time she went with something a little subdued for her (chalk it up to marrying an Englishman): Michael gave her a large cabochon cut (domed and shiny, not faceted) sapphire ring. Liz loved wearing jewelry that was cutting edge and after their nuptials, there was a boost in sapphire engagement ring sales.
Together, Liz and Michael had two sons, Michael Howard (1953) and Christopher Edward (1955). Sometime after that, Liz, empowered by her fame and having matured some by then, was growing weary of the relationship. Once again the rumors flew – this time while she was away filming Giant in 1955 – it was said that Michael hired strippers to come to their home. Whether or not that was true, they announced their separation in the summer of 1956 and were granted a divorce in 1957.
With a second marriage down the drain, who does Liz turn to next? Stay tuned next week to find out. 😉