Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for years.
The Golden Age of Hollywood gave the world iconic and memorable stars that have stood the test of time. Many of these beloved figures found love in Tinseltown, and while their films and careers remain prominent to this day, some of these romances weren't meant to be. Let's take a look at some of Hollywood's most famous couples on their wedding days.
Marilyn Monroe and Arthur Miller
Date: June 29, 1956 Married: 1956-1961
The iconic blonde bombshell married the famous playwright Arthur Miller on June 29, 1956, in a civil ceremony at the Westchester County Court and then in an intimate Jewish ceremony two days later. It was the third marriage for Monroe and the second for Miller. Twenty-five guests were invited for the union, and the actress donned a mid-length body-skimming sheath dress paired with a chin-length veil.
The media was shocked by the marriage, as Monroe was notorious for her sex symbol status and Miller was a revered intellectual. They would ultimately earn the name the Egghead and the Hourglass, and their wedding rings were inscribed with "Now is forever." Unfortunately, the pair divorced five years later.
Natalie Wood and Robert Wagner
Date: December 28, 1957 Married: 1957-1962, 1972-1981
The beloved actress married her long-time crush and fellow actor Robert Wagner on December 28, 1957, in a union argued by her mother. On her 18th birthday, Wood went on a studio-arranged date with the 26-year-old Wagner. A year later the two were joined in holy matrimony, in nuptials deemed the "glittering union of the 20th century." The wedded bliss lasted for five years before the pair divorced.
After 10 years apart and an additional marriage for both, the Hollywood heavy-hitters remarried in 1972 and remained together until her tragic death in 1981. Events surrounding her death by drowning remain controversial, with suspicion even falling on her husband for some time.
Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart
Date: May 21, 1945 Married: 1945-1957
Arguably one of Hollywood's most iconic couples of all time, Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart famously fell in love on the set of the 1944 film To Have and Have Not. Bogart separated from his wife Mayo Methot and began a romance with Bacall. The two were married on May 21, 1945 at Malabar Farm State Park in a private ceremony.
Their marriage sadly ended when Bogart passed away from esophageal cancer at the age of 57. When Bacall was pressed by a reporter to comment on her marriage, the actress famously quipped, "being a widow is not a profession." Despite their 25 year age difference (she was 20 and he 45 when they married), according to their son Stephen, "He was the great love of her life, and she his."
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Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra
Date: November 7, 1951 Marriage: 1951-1957
The blue-eyed crooner and gorgeous starlet first got together in 1948, though the singer was married at the time. He was known for his numerous extramarital affairs that the media covered fiercely. By 1951, Sinatra (then 35) went to Nevada in order to divorce his wife Nancy. Seventy-two hours later he was walking down the aisle with Gardener, then 28. The actress wore a blush pink and white halter gown with a pearl choker, and the two were married in Philadelphia. Though the nuptials brought them flak from the media, the two cared more about one another than protecting their careers. They ultimately divorced in 1957 due to jealousy and their busy careers.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton
Date: March 15, 1964 Married: 1964-1974,1975-1976
While filming Cleopatra together in Italy 1961, iconic film star Elizabeth Taylor began an affair with her also married co-star, Richard Burton. The scandal caused the two to be condemned for "erotic vagrancy" by the Vatican, and was heavily covered by the media. After divorcing their spouses, the duo were wed in a low-key ceremony on March 15, 1964 at the Ritz Carlton Hotel. Taylor wore an empire-style chiffon gown in daffodil yellow and in her hair she wore lilies of the valley and white hyacinths. During their first marriage of 10 years, they became Hollywood's "It" couple and would star in 11 films together. Though they divorced in 1974, they remarried 16 months later. The reunion was short-lived, as they divorced again in 1976. Their love affair remains iconic.
Grace Kelly and Prince Rainier of Monaco
Date: April 18, 1956 Married: 1956-1982
The talented and lovely actress became the Princess of Monaco when she wed prince Rainier III after a year-long courtship. The 16-minute civil ceremony took place in the Palace Throne Room of Monaco on April 18, 1956 and the nuptials were seen by an estimated 30 million viewers on live television. Her dramatic and elegant wedding gown was designed by MGM's Helen Rose and was worked on for six weeks by three dozen seamstresses. Over 700 guests were invited, including Hollywood's Cary Grant, Ava Gardner and Gloria Swanson. Kelly retired from acting at 26 to marry Rainier, and they remained together until her untimely death at 52 in 1982.
Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh
Date: June 4, 1951 Married: 1951-1962
The Hollywood superstars were married in a widely debated ceremony on June 4, 1951 outside a courthouse in Greenwich, Connecticut. Prior to the nuptials, studio executives with Universal-International attempted to talk Curtis out of it for three days. They claimed he would be "poisoning himself at the box office” and threatened to banish him; the young and in love couple didn't care. They eloped on June 4, 1951 and would go on to have two daughters together, Jamie Lee and Kelly Ann Curtis. For a while they were commonly referred to as Hollywood's golden couple, and their marriage was frequently the topic of gossip columns. The two would ultimately part ways in 1962, after 11 years of marriage.
Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles
Date: September 7, 1943 Married: 1943-1947
The sultry and complex movie star married fellow actor and radio legend Welles in a very private ceremony before a judge on September 7, 1943. The beautiful Hayworth wore a beige suit with a ruffled blouse and veil, and none of her colleagues knew about the nuptials. Though the couple would have a daughter together, their romance would fizzle out. Hayworth claimed that Welles did not want to be tied down with a wife, and that his "genius" was far too much to handle. Though they divorced in 1947, Hayworth nevertheless called Welles the "great love of her life."
© 2019 Rachel M Johnson