Elizabeth Taylor of blessed memory is famous for having been married eight times (remarrying Richard Burton twice). You may not know it but Larry King has had his fair share of marriages too. Eight also I believe. Trump is currently with his third wife. Stories like this just make me wonder: is it that some people are destined not to marry? I don’t want to believe these people are so bad nobody could stand to grow into old age with them. Is it just really poor judgment on their part? What is it really that makes some people suffer through the agony of multiple failed marriages and how come they never give up?
By JOAN COLLINS
In her wickedly indiscreet memoirs, screen siren Joan Collins has been laying bare the intimate secrets of her love life. Yesterday, she told how her first marriage came to an abrupt end after her husband tried to sell her to a sheikh. Today, she reveals how that didn’t stop her trying married life again and again . . . with equally disastrous results.
Men, you can’t live with ’em and you can’t kill ’em – so an old saying goes.
Well, I’ve lived with quite a few and there are times when some have driven me to murderous thoughts.
But I still believe that marriage is the glue that binds a couple together, especially where children are concerned, and by the age of 27 – newly divorced from my first husband, Maxwell Reed – I was fast becoming broody.
I’d find myself peering into prams and smiling idiotically at infants in their mothers’ arms.
Unconsciously, I was looking for a father figure for my unborn children.
I soon found him in the unlikely shape of Anthony Newley.
At the time, Tony was starring in the West End box-office smash Stop The World — I Want To Get Off, a semi-autobiographical musical. Our romance took off fast.
I was fascinated by his talent, his quirky sense of humour and saucy Cockney charm.
What I didn’t know was that beneath his self-deprecating wit raged deep insecurities and a fundamental fear of women — not unrelated to the fact that his single mother had tried to abort him.
How foolish of me not to have seen the warning signs.
Although Tony professed abundant love for me, he confided during our stormy courtship that he’d never been faithful to one woman.
During one of our spats, we flew off with some friends for a short break in Jamaica. I remember sulking on the beach, and wondering if my Cockney lover was having a fling.
The answer came some 45 years later, when a woman purporting to be Tony’s daughter tried to contact my own daughter by him, Tara.
There were only three months between them. My suspicions on that sunny day in Jamaica had been well-founded.
Not long after the Jamaican holiday, I broke up with Tony after discovering he was having another affair with a blonde in his show.
Then I started dating the handsome young actor Terence Stamp.
Driven by extreme jealousy, Tony began bombarding me with messages and flowers, even stalking me, though I stubbornly refused to meet him.
Then, one blustery November day, he caught up with me.
Promising that he’d ‘really try’ to be faithful, he got down on one knee and proposed. Within a week, we’d tied the knot.
Now, I’m not stupid. But for a while I was too happy being a wife, homemaker and mother to let Tony’s wandering eye impinge on my consciousness.
Then, at the end of 1965, just after our son Sacha was born, we moved to LA where Tony — having just played Matthew Mugg in Doctor Dolittle — began a new career as an American movie star.
Barbra Streisand was one of the many who were fascinated by his talent and charisma.
And when she came to his 36th birthday party at our home and sang, ‘Newley — people who need Newley’, to the music of ‘People’, I thought something might be up.
I was proven right some years later, when Barbra told our son that she’d had an affair with Tony.
The crunch came in 1968, when he wrote, directed and starred in the notorious film Can Heironymus Merkin Ever Forget Mercy Humppe And Find True Happiness?
I played his long-suffering wife, who watches resignedly as a host of women share his bed.
But it wasn’t until Universal gave me a private viewing of the film, and I saw my husband almost naked, making love to a parade of women, that I realised it hadn’t all been play-acting. I was deeply hurt.
So when Ryan O’Neal — the blond, pretty and very funny star of the TV soap Peyton Place — pursued me for several months, I saw no reason why I shouldn’t try to even the scales.
My marriage wasn’t going well, Tony was away a lot: I figured, what the hell, it’s the Sixties — and let Ryan laugh me into bed.
Eventually, however, there was a coded reference to our affair in the Press.
Romances: Joan briefly dated actor Terence Stamp, pictured left in the 1961 film Billy Budd, before having an affair with Peyton Place star Ryan O’Neal, right
Overcome by guilt, I gathered the kids and flew to the UK, where Tony was then working.
But my husband was still womanising, and it was plainly too late to save our marriage. So, in 1970, I went through divorce number two.
I was 35 and determined never to get hitched again. But then I met a tall handsome American called Ronald S. Kass through a mutual friend.
Within weeks, he’d asked me to marry him. This was jumping the gun, to say the least, as he was still married himself, with three kids under six.
At the time, he was head of the Apple Corporation, The Beatles’ production company, and regularly hung out with John, Ringo and Paul.
For a year, he bombarded me with love, attention and proposals of marriage.
I was extremely scared of committing, but I was also aware that my days as a leading lady were numbered. Plus Tony wasn’t paying me any alimony.
So what if I’d had two failed marriages? By my age, Elizabeth Taylor had managed three. And Ron seemed the answer to a maiden’s prayer.
So we married, our darling Katyana — known as Katy — was born soon afterwards, and the next three years were among the happiest in my life.
Things didn’t start going wrong until we moved to LA and Ron started a film company with a partner — Edgar Bronfman, the mega-rich head of the drinks company Seagrams.
Alas, Edgar wasn’t the friend we thought he was. The day after we threw a fabulous 21st birthday party for his son, Edgar fired Ron.
This came as a massive blow to my husband’s ego. It’s at this point, I believe, that Ron started taking drugs. He became terribly uncommunicative — and our money began to run out. So we started downsizing, moving to smaller and smaller houses.
One day, I discovered a cache of cocaine and confronted him. We had a furious, name-calling row.
Things really came to a head in the late Seventies, when he co-produced The Stud and The Bitch – films in which he wanted me to appear almost naked, which I didn’t want to do, but reluctantly agreed to.
Meanwhile, he was taking more and more cocaine. He’d also become quite profligate, spending hundreds of pounds on having expensive stationery printed when I could barely afford new shoes for the children.
Then I shut him out physically — and that, of course, infuriated him more.
Our marriage was already on the rocks when our eight-year-old daughter was in a terrible car accident, and lay in a coma for six weeks.
While Katy was recovering at home with an army of nannies and physiotherapists, I went back to the West End to star in The Last Of Mrs Cheyney, because we desperately needed the cash.
The play, which my husband co-produced, was quite successful.
But when I asked the company manager one weekend for a small advance, he sheepishly informed me that all my salary had gone to Ron. ‘That’s what he insisted on,’ he said.
Then, one afternoon, my brother Bill found a ton of unpaid bills in Ron’s desk, plus dozens of bank statements which revealed that we had a joint overdraft of £155,000 — equivalent to around half a million pounds today. I was absolutely devastated.
I confronted my bank manager, Stuart Wells of Coutts, who showed me my supposed signature on the overdraft document. ‘But that’s a forgery,’ I protested.
‘I’m sorry, Joan,’ said Stuart ruefully, ‘but he brought these papers in a year ago and swore you’d signed them.’
Dozens of creditors now surfaced in LA, where we had our home. So as soon as the play closed, I flew out to face the music.
There, I discovered that our car had been impounded along with our TV and other appliances, as well as more piles of unpaid bills.
It was a nightmare. Ron finally admitted that he was even taking heroin — yet whenever friends asked if he was on drugs, I always denied it. I was trying to save face, and hoping to save my marriage.
Together, we went to counsellors, marriage specialists and psychiatrists — to no avail.
By the time Dynasty came along in 1982, saving my life and my career, ours was a marriage in name only. It was a pretence we kept up just for Katy’s sake.
Although there was huge interest in me because of my role as Alexis, my personal and financial life was in ruins.
To cap it all, Coutts sued me for the £150,000 debt that Ron had run up by forging my signature.
I couldn’t risk him compromising my life again, so I finally insisted on a legal separation. This meant I had to give Ron $5,000 a month, plus pay the rent on his LA apartment.
Not that he was grateful. He sold ‘intimate’ secrets of ‘Life with Alexis’ — as he now liked to call me — to a British Sunday rag.
I was utterly appalled, but at least those articles finally made me see the light.
My intelligent and ambitious husband had ruined his life, and almost ruined mine. Time for divorce number three.
Yet my troubles with Ron paled in comparison with those I experienced with my fourth husband, who was a mixture of obdurate dullard and calculating sociopath.
Not that I could have guessed that when I first met Peter Holm, who was gently strumming a guitar as he sat beside the pool at the home of some good friends in Berkshire.
I guess I’d always been a sucker for a good-looking guy, which this Swede certainly was: tall, with blond hair and blue eyes. A whirlwind courtship began almost immediately, and he followed me back to Hollywood a few weeks later.
He soon became aware of my financial problems. I was riding high with my role in Dynasty, but I had three children and an ex-husband to support and was still paying off Ron’s debts.
n addition, I had business managers, lawyers, accountants, a live-in housekeeper, a press agent, a secretary and a secretary for the secretary!
So although I was earning about $40,000 an episode, money was haemorrhaging out as fast as it came in.
Peter started advising me — and within a matter of months, he’d cleared the decks of many of my unnecessary hangers-on.
Looking back, I can see he was the smoothest of smooth con-men: charming, self-effacing and seemingly highly knowledgeable about financial matters
Cleverly, during our first year together, he never asked me for a penny.
As I was working 12 hours a day, I eventually allowed him to handle my business affairs in return for 20 per cent of my earnings. Soon afterwards, he proposed, but I turned him down.
For one thing, Peter had no rapport with 12-year-old Katy; it was the same with my friends, none of whom liked him.
Indeed, he had no interest in anything apart from himself, his car, his computer and — as I was to discover — my money.
Why did I marry him, then? Well, he nagged me incessantly, and kept threatening to walk out.
When I dug in my heels, he’d often sulk or disappear for days. Ultimately, he just wore me down.
We married in Las Vegas in 1985, but at least I got him to sign a prenuptial agreement.
Afterwards, as I was working harder than ever, I didn’t give much thought to what Mr Holm was doing during the day.
Then I noticed that some of the outfits in my wardrobe had been moved, even worn, and began to suspect he was bringing girls back to my house.
He just scoffed, calling me paranoid. Later, I discovered that while my screen husband Dex was scr**ing my screen daughter on set, my husband was at his little home office, scr**ing everyone in a skirt.
And Peter soon had a bigger office. He’d insisted that we buy a massive house, in which he installed a state-of-the-art office with a special lock that only he could operate.
All my files and records were kept there but I had to ask permission to enter. Then he started laying down more rules — no one but himself, for instance, was permitted to use a certain phone in the house.
When I got upset, he’d snap sarcastically, ‘If only people could see the great Alexis now. What a pathetic cry-baby!’
I started getting recurrent headaches and staying late at the studio. It began to dawn on me that I didn’t want this man around my daughter. He’d turned into a fiend — angry, sulky and incredibly rude — and he was frankly scary.
Then, one day, I came home early from work and discovered him in our bed with a woman. When I exploded and asked how he could do this to me, he laughed and said I was just acting.
I told him I wanted an immediate divorce, which made him fly into a rage. Later he crooned: ‘I love you so much, I won’t live without you.’ What a lie.
Finally, I forced myself to face reality. I’d allowed Peter total control over my life — and for that, I realised, I had myself to blame.
When the pre-divorce proceedings began, Peter spent hours reading law journals. He told a good friend of mine, ‘I’d rather end up ruined as long as I can drag her down with me. And I intend to do that if it takes every last breath and every last penny.’
To him, our marriage had clearly been a sham. I’d been his meal ticket. How could I have been so hoodwinked, so utterly stupid?
The divorce proceedings in 1987 were so dramatic that they made Dynasty look like Little House On The Prairie.
At one point, Peter’s long-term mistress — the one I’d caught him in bed with, ridiculously named Passion Flower — took to the stand and histrionically fainted.
Predictably, Peter was desperate to prove that our pre-nup was invalid so he could claim half of everything I possessed.
He lost, and the judge ordered me to pay him only $80,000 in compensation. ‘He’s already taken enough off you,’ he said drily.
I felt I’d got off cheaply.
Adapted from PASSION FOR LIFE by Joan Collins, published by Constable & Robinson on October 24 at £25. To order a copy at £20 (p&p free), call 0844 472 4157.
Culled from dailymail.co.uk