What Famous Figures In On-Again, Off-Again Relationships Had To Say About Them

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Vote up the hottest tea spilt on these historically bumpy relationships.

From the Old Hollywood era to the "it couples" of the '80s, celebrity relationships have long been a focus of public fascination. But double the fame can mean double the headache, leading to many failed and fleeting relationships that struggled to endure tabloid headlines, infidelity, and the mercurial opinion of fans who might adore the relationship one day and ridicule it the next.

Despite the drama, some of these couples went back to each other for another round (or several) in the relationship ring. Many even married (and divorced) one another multiple times. In some instances, the second time around stuck, as perhaps both parties were older and wiser. In other cases, getting back together was quickly deemed a mistake. 

Whatever may have gone down in these relationships, some of these exes managed to escape with no hard feelings. Others needed another go just to determine exactly how wrong for them the person was. Either way, they had a lot of interesting things to say about the former flames that made them walk away, come back... and maybe walk away again. 

  • Frida Kahlo Described Diego Rivera As One Of 'Two Great Accidents' In Her Life
    Photo: Unknown / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    The famous artists first met in Mexico City in 1922, when 15-year-old Frida Kahlo saw 36-year-old Diego Rivera painting a mural and became an admirer of his work. They were reintroduced six years later and soon married. Kahlo was beginning to paint, and Rivera encouraged her to pursue it as a career after seeing her talents.

    Their marriage was famously fiery and turbulent, and Rivera, who Kahlo once described as "a boy frog standing on his hind legs" was known to be a womanizer. Each partner engaged in extramarital affairs. While some of these lovers were permitted, and possibly shared, Rivera's affair with Kahlo's sister was reportedly devastating to Kahlo, influencing some of her famous works like Memory, the Heart, which depicts Kahlo being impaled through the space where her heart should be, the missing organ bleeding on the ground beside her. 

    Kahlo and Rivera ended up divorcing in 1939 only to remarry the following year. The couple continued to have affairs, but stayed married until Kahlo's passing in 1954. For Kahlo, biographer Dr. Salomón Grimberg says, "Diego was her organizing principle, the axis around which she spun.” As evidence, he points to an entry in her diary reading: 

    Diego = my husband / Diego = my friend / Diego = my mother / Diego = my father / Diego = my son / Diego = me / Diego = Universe.

    After her passing, Rivera reportedly said, "Too late, I realized the most wonderful part of my life had been my love for Frida." Of Rivera, Kahlo famously wrote in her notebook:

    There have been two great accidents in my life. One was the trolley, and the other was Diego. Diego was by far the worst.

    The trolley refers to a serious accident Kahlo was in at age 18, which left her in pain for the rest of her life.

    205 votes
  • Carrie Fisher Said She Was More Than Paul Simon Could Take
    Photo: The Blues Brothers / Universal Pictures

    In her numerous autobiographical works, Carrie Fisher wrote candidly about her relationships with several famous names, including Paul Simon. The two were married from 1983 to 1984, divorced, and then dated again. According to Fisher, "We were together for more than 12 years (off and on) and we traveled a lot. The last place we went to was the Amazon, which I recommend if you like mosquitoes."

    Fisher claims Simon wrote several songs about their rollercoaster of a relationship - including "She Moves On," which contains the lyrics:

    When the road bends
    And the song ends
    She moves on...

    ...Then I fall to my knees
    Shake a rattle at the skies
    And I’m afraid that I’ll be taken
    Abandoned, forsaken
    In her cold coffee eyes

    In response to the lyrics, Fisher quipped in her memoir, Wishful Drinking, "Yup, I'm a b*tch." She also shared her own take on the relationship, writing:

    Poor Paul. He had to put up with a lot with me. I think ultimately I fell under the heading of: Good Anecdote, Bad Reality. I was good for material, but when it came to day-to-day living, I was more than he could take. We once had a fight (on our honeymoon) where I said: "Not only do I not like you, I don't like you personally!" We tried to keep the argument going after that but we were laughing too hard.

    Fisher ended things with Simon permanently while on their Amazon trip, after she reportedly had a vision after drinking tea made from a psychedelic plant. When she passed in 2016, Simon tweeted, "Yesterday was a horrible day. Carrie was a special, wonderful girl. It’s too soon."

    177 votes
  • Natalie Wood Predicted Her Marriage To Robert Wagner When She Was 10 And He Was 18
    Photo: Press photo / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Natalie Wood was a child actress when she first encountered her future husband, Robert Wagner. She later told People:

    I was 10 and he was 18 when I first saw him walking down the hall at 20 Century Fox... I turned to my mother and said, "I’m going to marry him."

    Years later, Wood and Wagner were set up on a first date by the studio in 1956, to attract publicity for the budding actress. They ended up marrying the following year, Wagner proposing by dropping a pearl and diamond engagement ring in Wood's champagne flute.

    As Wood's fame increased, so did the media scrutiny, and the couple eventually found their marriage in trouble. They divorced in 1962 amid rumors of infidelity - some claiming Wood had an affair with co-star Warren Beatty, others, including Wood's sister, alleging that she'd caught Wagner with another man. In an unfinished memoir, Wood recalls:

    My marriage collapsed that weekend. It’s too painful for me to recall in print the incidents that led to the final breakup... It was more than the final straw. It was reality crushing the fragile web of romantic fantasies with sledgehammer force.

    Following the divorce, both Wood and Wagner married other people, but according to Wood, they "never stopped loving each other." They remarried in 1972. Wood told People:

    Friends told me to put on the breaks... We were both in shock... We talked about what had happened to our marriages. He had become a man instead of a boy.

    The pair remained together until Wood's passing in 1981. While on a boat trip to Catalina Island with Christopher Walken, the couple reportedly argued and Wood went to her cabin. Later that night, Wagner said he couldn't find her. Her body was discovered in the water the following morning.

    Investigators ruled her death an accidental drowning, concluding she had slipped into the water while trying to secure a dinghy. Wagner later said, "I lived a charmed life, and then I lost a beautiful woman I loved with all my heart."

    158 votes
  • Elizabeth Taylor Wanted To Be Buried Beside Richard Burton, But His Widow Disagreed
    Photo: Movie studio (MGM presumed) / Wikimedia Commons / Public domain

    Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton are known as one of the great, fabled romances of Old Hollywood. After meeting on the set of Cleopatra (where they played another pair of historic lovers) they famously married and divorced twice. But while they are commonly labeled the loves of each other's lives, one detail is often ignored. Burton was actually married when he passed in 1984, leaving behind not only Taylor, but his widow, Sally.

    Weddings were far from a one-time thing for Taylor or Burton, who were both married to other people when they got together in 1962. Taylor remembered:

    The first day we worked together he had a hangover and was looking so vulnerable. He was trying to drink a cup of coffee and his hand was shaking, so I held the cup to his lips. Our eyes locked and he drank the whole cup and we just kept looking at each other.

    But she recalled that Burton's pick-up line left something to be desired:

    Richard... sort of sidled over to me and said: "Has anyone ever told you that you're a very pretty girl?"... I thought, "Oy, gevalt..." the great lover, the great wit, the great Welsh intellectual, and he comes out with a corny line like that!

    On his end, Burton said, "She was the most sullen, uncommunicative, and beautiful woman I have ever seen."

    The couple wed in 1964 and stayed in a tempestuous marriage for ten years. As Burton put it,

    Elizabeth and I lived on the edge of an exciting volcano. I'm not easy to be married to or live with. I exploded violently about twice a year with Elizabeth. She would also explode. It was marvellous. But it could be murder.

    The year following their divorce, Taylor and Burton married each other again, but the reunion only lasted five months. Taylor, who mused that "maybe we loved each other too much," remained close to Burton. He passed in 1984, while Taylor lived until 2011. She expressed a desire to be buried next to him, an idea that was rebuffed by Sally Burton. Instead, Taylor was reportedly interred with a letter Burton wrote to her just before his passing that she'd kept with her for 27 years. According to Taylor's biographers, she'd said the letter expressed a desire to come "home" to her. 

    Sally refuted the idea that her husband had sent any such letter to Taylor before his passing, as well as the mythical quality of their romance, saying, "I get pissed off with all the talk of a great love story... Yes they were in love, but they got divorced twice - that means their marriage didn’t work."

    150 votes
  • The Miami Vice actor and the Working Girl star were married, separated, and divorced in the span of 1976. In the late '80s, the pair rekindled their romance and decided to tie the knot for a second time. They had daughter Dakota Johnson and remained together until 1996.

    When asked in 2016 about her advice for women on how to be single (while at her daughter's movie premiere, How to Be Single) Melanie Griffith responded, "Don't get married!" She explained further:

    There's no need... You don’t need to get married to have a child anymore... It’s not like there’s a stigma on a child, and getting married, you either go through the whole bullsh*t of a prenuptial, or if you want to get divorced and you don’t have a prenuptial, then you wish you had a prenuptial...

    So why not enjoy the person and have a good time and do whatever - live together, don’t live together - but marriage seems archaic to me.

    Interestingly, when asked about his relationship with his ex, Don Johnson made the point that children can tie two people together for much longer than a marriage:

    We talk quite often... I mean, when you have children together, I learned a very powerful lesson, for anybody that's paying attention out there. When you have a child with someone - whether you're married or not - you're with that someone forever. And I'm okay with that... I love Melanie. We get along and the kids are healthier because of it.

    146 votes
  • Ryan O'Neal Has Some Regrets About His Relationship With Farrah Fawcett
    Photo: Vicki L. Miller / Shutterstock.com

    In 1979, actor Ryan O'Neal reconnected with his old friend, Lee Majors. Majors was married to Farrah Fawcett at the time, and O'Neal was immediately smitten with his friend's wife, later writing:

    She’s delightful, full of childlike warmth... There is no pretense or cattiness about her whatsoever, she’s vibrant and wholesome, refreshing in this town.

    The feeling was mutual; Fawcett and Majors got divorced and she began a decades-long relationship with O'Neal. However, it turned out a be a volatile one, attracting tabloid headlines about drug use, infidelity, and family drama (O'Neal at one point shot his oldest son, allegedly in self-defense). The couple called it quits in 1997 after Fawcett walked in on O'Neal and actress Leslie Ann Stefanson.

    But as O'Neal put it, "We pulled apart, but we never popped loose." They reunited in 2001 after O'Neal was diagnosed with cancer. Five years later, he was in remission, and it was Fawcett who recieved a cancer diagnosis. Now in the caretaker role, O'Neal told People:

    The hair is gone... Her famous hair. I have it at home. She didn’t care. I rub her head. It’s kind of fun, actually, this great, tiny little head. How she carried all that hair I’ll never know. She doesn’t have a vanity about it.

    Though the couple never married, they were reportedly planning to wed just before Fawcett passed. O'Neal said, "The priest at St. John’s Hospital arrives to marry us - but administers the last rites instead." After her passing, O'Neal expressed his wish for a do-over, saying:

    I would have been much kinder, more understanding, more mature... I’d lose some of the savagery. I don’t know how she got cancer; maybe some of it was me.

    O'Neal's estranged son, Griffin, claimed at the time that his father's goal was to be in Fawcett's will. O'Neal rebuked these claims, saying he had money of his own. Fawcett did not leave O'Neal any money.

    128 votes