Elizabeth Taylor’s young love

SIXTY passionate and ­never-seen-before letters written by Elizabeth ­Taylor to her first love are to be sold at auction ­following the Hollywood legend’s death last month. The letters, penned in purple ink on pale pink notepaper, were written when she was just 17 and already a fast-rising film star, to handsome William Pawley, the 22-year-old son of a former US ambassador to Brazil.

Their little-known romance, during which they were briefly engaged in 1949, ended in heartbreak.

But Elizabeth’s letters, written at the height of their affair, give an insight into the starlet’s transition to the eight-times married Oscar-winner and screen icon she eventually became.

Her celebrated enduring love affair with Welsh actor Richard Burton, whom she married twice, has come to be regarded as her “great love”, perhaps followed by third husband Mike Todd, who died in an air crash in 1958.

Yet in one letter to first fiance William, dated May 6, 1949, she wrote: “I’ve never known this kind of love before; it’s so perfect and complete and mature. I’ve never loved anyone in my life before one third as much as I love you – and I never will. (Well, as far as that goes, I’ll never love anyone else, period).”

I’ll never love anyone as I love you…

Elizabeth Taylor to her fiance when she was 17

Despite being a big star on the MGM studio payroll, she sought reassurance, fretting about her weight, saying: “As I’m sitting here, writing to you, I’m just stuffing myself on a box of candy. Honestly, I’ve got to stop eating so much.”Sponsored

In a March 28, 1949, letter she wrote tenderly: “My heart aches and makes me want to cry when I think of you and how much I want to be with you and to look into your beautiful blue eyes, and kiss your sweet lips and have your strong arms hold me, oh so tight and close to you.

“I want us to be ‘lovers’ always, even after we’ve been married seventy-five years and have at least a dozen great-great- grandchildren.”

Two months later, presumably after a trying day on set, she told William she was ready to say goodbye to her Hollywood career, adding: “I won’t be giving anything up. But I will be gaining the greatest gift that God bestows on man; love, marriage and a family – and you, my Darling.”

However, by September she was writing about returning her engagement ring at William’s request after he broke off their relationship. She seemed to find it impossible to let go.

She told him: “I know with all my heart and soul that this is not the end for us. It couldn’t be. We love each other too much.”

Bobby Livingston, a spokesman for RR Auctions of Amherst, New Hampshire, revealed the letters were bought from William who is retired and living in Florida, before Elizabeth’s death from congestive heart failure aged 79 on March 23.

He said: “Before her sad passing, we would have expected to fetch somewhere between $25,000 (£15,617) and $35,000 (£21,860).

“I now expect they will go for at least two to three times that because this is such a little documented period of her life.”

The online auction will take place between May 19 and 26.

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