One of Hollywood’s most combustible couples, Liz and Dick couldn’t live apart–or together. As famous for their relentless passion as for their prodigious talents, Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton were entwined for 22 years and two marriages. (“Our love is so furious, we burn each other out,” Burton panted.) Fueled by alcohol and excess, this lusty duo enthralled and tormented each other until Burton’s death in 1984.
After they met on the Rome set of 1963’s Cleopatra, discretion went out the window (along with their spouses) as Burton and Taylor carried on one of history’s most public adulterous affairs. “She is a wildly exciting lover-mistress,” Burton breathlessly told his diary. “She is beautiful beyond the dreams of pornography…Elizabeth is an eternal one-night stand.” They wed in Montreal in 1964, separated 10 years later, remarried in 1975 in Botswana and called it quits again four months later.
Taylor walked away from the marriages with millions of dollars in jewels Burton had bought her. “I introduced her to beer,” he grumbled. “She introduced me to Bulgari.”
Despite subsequent affiliations (he had three other wives, she had five other husbands), they never could disengage from each other. “Part of Richard was always with Elizabeth,” said his brother. “He used to hold hands with her under the table when Sally [Burton’s last wife] and Victor Luna [Taylor’s then fiancé] were there.”