Elizabeth Taylor’s second marriage lasted a bit longer than her first. Actually, it lasted quite a bit longer. While the first lasted for less than a year, she and her second husband, Michael Wilding, were married from 1952 until 1957. By our calculations, that’s about five times longer than her time with Conrad Hilton.
And fans were shocked to learn that there was quite an age gap between the two stars. Michael Wilding was a British actor and was two decades older than the young actress. Apparently, Wilding was no prize by any means, but perhaps not for the reason you may think…
It makes you wonder how often Hollywood pulls this silly idea of coercing young couples into relationships to promote films. In this case, Elizabeth Taylor had to endure this while making "Father of the Bride." Although the studio has never admitted to it, many have suspected that they were behind the entire event.
Eight months later, however, it would all come crashing down. Elizabeth had finally had enough, and Conrad Hilton’s behavior was scaring both her and her parents. The two called it quits and Elizabeth found herself going through her first divorce, but it would be one of many.
MGM Scare Tactics
When the young actress could no longer take any more of Conrad’s aggression and all-night rampages, the two opted for divorce. But MGM didn’t take the news very lightly. In fact, despite him being the problematic one, they were so upset about her leaving that they forced her to star in the 1952 film, "Love Is Better Than Ever."
That may not seem like some sort of punishment, but when you take into consideration the level her other films at the time were on, it does seem a bit strange for her to have done a B film as well.
In the Closet
Wilding definitely was no Prince Charming to his wife, and there were plenty of rumors about him swirling around the mill. Aside from the fact he reportedly used to hire exotic dancers when she was out of town, something even more alarming was revealed by a certain columnist: Wilding actually preferred his meat with…well, extra meat.
The columnist claimed the actor was actually gay, and even tried to prevent Taylor from marrying him in the first place. But, regardless of whether or not it was actually true, the marriage was doomed anyway, and the two were on their way to divorce.
Party Like a Film Star
For Elizabeth’s 24th birthday in 1957, her third and newest husband Mike Todd threw her an enormous ceremony in Acapulco. The mayor of the town even officiated the event. Todd himself had been divorced twice before he and Elizabeth tied the knot and he was really hoping that this would be a case of "third time's a charm."
That seemed like a sign to both young lovers. For all intents and purposes, this should have been happily ever after for the couple. While the two were very happy for a short while, everything was about to once again come crashing down, maybe even literally, but not before something incredible happened.