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Who’s Counting?

It’s difficult to pin down statistics on celebrity divorce.

While 43% of marriages among the general population come to an end, it’s estimated that 75% among the well-known and well-heeled do so.  The source of this statistic is unknown, but it certainly seems accurate.  Just peruse the National Enquirer while waiting in the grocery line.

Celebrity marriages don’t seem to last as long either.   And then the movie stars, rock stars, and other Hollywood types try it again.

“I do. I do. I do.” Photo by: brtsergio

This isn’t a recent phenomenon.  We’re all familiar with the conjugal histories of Zsa Zsa Gabor, Elizabeth Taylor, and Mickey Rooney.  They started young and kept going and going and going – Energizer bunnies, all of them.

Gabor first married in 1937 in her native Hungary when she was twenty years old.  Her husband was a Turkish ambassador.  She left him four years later to immigrate to the United States where her stage background gave her entree to Hollywood.  She’s been married to her eighth or ninth husband, depending on how you count, since 1986.

Elizabeth Taylor also wed eight times beginning in 1950 at the tender age of eighteen.  Her first husband, Nicky Hilton, was a playboy with a mean temper and a drinking problem, and she left him less than nine months later.

But, boy, was Hilton good-looking with lots of sex appeal!  Zsa Zsa had an affair with him while she was married to his father, Conrad Hilton, founder of Hilton hotels.  It lasted through her divorce, into her marriage to actor George Sanders, and beyond Nicky’s betrothal to Taylor.

Zsa Zsa also had an affair with Richard Burton in his pre-Elizabethan days while he was married to Sybil Williams.  She certainly got around, as did Burton.

Elizabeth, on the other hand, once stated, “I’ve only slept with men I’ve been married to.  How many women can make that claim?”  Certainly not Zsa Zsa, although they were the best of friends.

Mickey Rooney and Ava Gardner, the first of his eight wives, couldn’t keep it going much more than a year.  In 1942 he was only twenty-one years old; she was nineteen and on her way to stardom.

Ava next married jazz musician Artie Show.  She was the fourth of his eight wives, and their union was short.  Frank Sinatra, whom Zsa Zsa also slept with although she didn’t like him much, was the love of her life and her third and last husband, but they were both too tempestuous to make it last.

Mickey, however, has now been happily married to the same woman since 1978.   His secret?  “Don’t marry anybody you love… Marry somebody you like,” he advises. “Love is sex, love is drunkenness, but it never lasts.  But when you marry your best friend, love grows.”

At one time Mickey also suggested, “Always get married in the morning. That way if it doesn’t work out, you haven’t wasted the whole day.”

© 2011 Susan Marg – All Rights Reserved

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