Late actor and icon, Elizabeth Taylor, was famous for her beauty, talent, style, and her marriages. And while she had a younger husband in the ‘90s, she talked to legendary Tonight Show host Johnny Carson about what scrutiny over her union’s age difference was getting wrong.
Johnny Carson to Elizabeth Taylor: there’s a new trend of older women marrying younger men
While chatting with Taylor for their first and only Tonight Show interview in 1992, Carson turned the conversation to each of their much-talked-about personal lives. In a clip available on YouTube, he mentioned that his fourth wife, Alexis, was “quite a bit younger” than him.
“On the other hand, recently, it seems that older women are marrying younger men,” he said to Taylor. “In your case…“
But Taylor interrupted him at that point. “See, my men have stayed the same age,” she told him. “I used to marry men 20 years older … and they’ve stayed the same age.”
She went on to explain that there was just something she liked about men around the age of 40. “It’s a good age,” she concluded, as she was nearing her 60th birthday.
Elizabeth Taylor’s first four marriages
When Taylor was 18, she married for the first time to 23-year-old Conrad Hilton, Paris Hilton’s great-grandfather. But their union didn’t last, and she next married a man 20 years her senior, Michael Wilding. They had two children and divorced after five years.
Taylor’s third husband, Mike Todd, was 25 years older than her and died in a plane crash while they were married. They had a daughter together and she later described him as the love of her life, per People.
While seemingly mourning Todd’s death, Taylor began an affair with entertainer Eddie Fisher, who was married to her best friend, actor Debbie Reynolds, and father to Star Wars actor, Carrie Fisher. Taylor lamented being called a “home-wrecker” in the press and claimed Fisher’s marriage to Reynolds was already failing.
The friendship with Reynolds was paused, though they eventually reconciled.
Elizabeth Taylor’s last four marriages
While still married to Fisher, Taylor began an affair with her Cleopatra co-star, Richard Burton, which eventually ended both of their marriages. They walked down the aisle for her fifth wedding, stayed together for a decade and adopted a daughter, divorced, and then married and divorced again.
When Taylor next married John Warner, her fame helped earn him a seat in the U.S. Senate. But she didn’t appreciate being the wife of a senator, and they ultimately divorced. That eventually led to her final marriage to construction worker, Larry Fortensky, whom she spoke with Carson about on The Tonight Show.
He was 20 years younger than her, and they met at the Betty Ford Clinic. So, Taylor explained how they were very careful to follow the rules of entering a new relationship while in recovery. But they were eventually wed, and she eventually divorced him when she said he stopped working, according to People.
After that seventh divorce, she said she would never marry again. She died on March 28, 2011, unmarried at the age of 79.