Love letters shed light on Taylor-Burton romance

Elizabeth Taylor has made public her love letters from Richard Burton, giving insight into a passionate, playful but turbulent romance that spanned 20 years and two marriages.

But Taylor is keeping one letter private, according to Vanity Fair magazine.

It was written by Burton just days before his 1984 death in Switzerland of a brain haemorrhage and reached Taylor in California after she returned from his memorial service.

Burton wanted to come home to her, Vanity Fair claims. Taylor read the letter she keeps in her bedside drawer to the magazine’s contributing editor Sam Kashner and writer Nancy Schoenberger, but did not want it reproduced.

Taylor, 78, decided to make public the bulk of the letters with Kashner and Schoenberger for their book Furious Love: Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton And The Marriage Of The Century.

Burton playfully calls Taylor “Twit Twaddle”, addresses her as “My Lumps” and sometimes signed his letters “Husbs”.

“If you leave me, I shall have to kill myself. There is no life without you,” he wrote in one early letter.

“Richard was magnificent in every sense of the word,” Taylor, the eight-times married actress, told Kashner and Schoenberger.

“And in everything he ever did … he was the kindest, funniest – and most gentle father. All my kids worshiped him. Attentive, loving – that was Richard,” she said.

“From those first moments in Rome we were always madly and powerfully in love. We had more time but not enough.”

Taylor and Burton started a torrid affair in 1962 on the Rome set of Cleopatra that shocked the media and was denounced by the Vatican as both were still married to other partners.

Their first marriage lasted from 1964-74. They wed again in October 1975 before breaking up in July 1976.

“You are probably the best actress in the world, which, combined with your extraordinary beauty, makes you unique,” Burton wrote in one of the released letters.

“The fundamental and most vicious, swinish, murderous, and unchangeable fact is that we totally misunderstand each other … We operate on alien wavelengths. You are as distant as Venus – planet, I mean – and I am tone deaf to the music of the spheres,” he wrote in another.

In other letters, Welsh-born Burton confesses that he believes acting – for a man – is “sissified and faintly ridiculous” and talks of how he wished he had chosen the life of a writer.

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