Weird History 4 Divorces, 2 Gay Husbands, 1 Oscar, And A Lifetime of Tragedy: The Insane Life of Liza Minnelli  

Katia Kleyman
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Liza Minnelli and her mother, Judy Garland, are among some of the most adored musical and silver screen figures in American pop history. Liza Minnelli’s mom, the beloved Dorothy of The Wizard of Oz fame, propelled young Liza into show business career when she was just a toddler. Subsequently, Liza Minnelli became a huge star in her own right, racking up awards throughout all tiers of the entertainment community, including winning her first Tony when she was still a teenager.

Born in 1946 to her famous mother and film director father, Vincente Minnelli, Liza's first stint in show business was on stage, and in 1965 she won the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for Flora the Red Menace, which made her the youngest recipient to ever receive the award. She continued her youth performing in off-Broadway shows and in nightclubs, then in 1972, the 26-year-old cemented her name and place in musical history with Cabaret, the sensual, Bob Fosse-directed film about 1930s-era Berlin.

But, like her mother, Liza’s life was filled with hardships, tragedy, and devastating substance abuse problems. She's agonized over her personal appearance for decades, spent multiple stints in rehab for drug addiction, and her personal relationships with men have publicly unraveled in humiliating ways. Liza Minnelli and David Gest’s relationship, in particular, became tabloid fodder and painted Liza as a caricature of her former self.

Despite all this, the 71-year-old actress is still going strong and is one of the most beloved performers of our time.

Liza's Fourth Husband Sued Her For $10 Million And Accused Her Of Giving Him An STD


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Liza had a very trauamtic and public divorce in 2003 from her last husband, producer David Gest, to whom she'd been married only 16 months. During the separation proceedings, David sued Liza for $10 million. He claimed that Liza violently abused him, causing him a host of issues. “[V]ertigo, nausea, hypertension, scalp tenderness, insomnia, mood dysphoria, photosensitivity and phonophobia,” were just a few of the things the lawsuit claimed. The last one means a fear of voices. He also claimed that Liza made him an anorexic and gave him herpes. But a test revealed that he did not, in fact, have herpes.

Liza Was Sued By Her Former Chauffeur For Sexual Abuse

If this story broke in 2018, Liza would undoubtedly be taken down in the “#MeToo” movement. Following her divorce from David Gest, Liza was sued by her former chauffeur, Mohammed Soumaya, who worked for Liza for over 10 years. He claimed that she was violent and that she sexually abused him. In the lawsuit, he claimed that Liza threatened to fire him if he didn’t sleep with her, which he reluctantly did, after he was scared to lose his job. Liza counter-sued, claiming defamation, but ended up settling out of court in 2009.

Two Of Liza's Husbands Later Came Out As Gay


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Like her mother, Liza had two husbands who later turned out to be gay. In fact, Liza’s first husband, Peter Allen, was having an affair with her own stepfather, Mark Herron. Allen didn’t try to even be subtle about cheating on Liza with men. He was caught sleeping with another man on his and Liza’s wedding night. Liza’s last husband, producer David Gest, always publicly denied he was gay, but many close to the former couple insisted that he preferred men.

Liza Blamed Michael Jackson For Her Disastrous Marriage To Her Fourth Husband


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Liza and David Gest had a star-studded and unusual wedding party for their 2002 nuptials. Michael Jackson served as the best man at the wedding, and Elizabeth Taylor served as the matron of honor. Subsequently, following the divorce, Liza jokingly blamed Michael Jackson for letting her marry Gest. Liza explained:

"I grabbed [Michael]... And I said, 'Why did you let me marry this idiot?' He said, 'I thought you liked him! You look so happy. Your dress was so beautiful. I don't know. Let me go!' And I said, 'Michael, how could you.' He said, 'It's over, relax.' Then we looked at each other and we started to laugh. We really started to laugh."