Debbie Reynolds was undoubtedly a Hollywood great, but her life was filled with the pain of betrayal and slander she felt, especially after being dumped by her husband Eddie Fisher in favor of her friend.
Being a celebrity comes with many controversies; in fact, scandals are one of the side consequences of being a star, and some of these stars seemed to be more drawn to these public dramas than others.
Debbie Reynolds is one of the stars whose life was plagued with controversy. Although her career was remarkable, Reynolds suffered greatly from the shame of being dumped by her husband for her friend.
US actor Tony Curtis wearing a short-sleeved black-and-white check shirt, circa 1955. [Left] | Monochrome photo of Debbie Reynolds at an event. [Right] | Photo: Getty Images
Reynolds was married to singer Eddie Fisher who was friends with Mike Todd, Elizabeth Taylor’s husband. Following Todd’s death, Fisher was asked to console the mourning Taylor and soon enough, a romance ensued between them.
The singer left his wife and children in favor of his new heartthrob, also Reynolds’s friend. Their split and Fisher’s marriage to Taylor were part of the most talked-about events of that decade and led to several rumors. Here’s how it happened.
Portrait of american actress and singer Debbie Reynolds, circa 1955. | Photo: Getty Images
REYNOLDS AND FISHER’S SAGA
Taylor was one of the most sought-after actresses of her time. She was a classic example of the word “diva.” The “Cleopatra” actress was a beauty and, at the same time, she loved controversies.
Taylor was never far from scandals, and it never seemed to matter much to her. It looked like it propelled her career to greater heights as she continued to soar amid several allegations.
American singer Eddie Fisher smiling and embracing his wife, Debbie Reynolds, in front of a holiday wreath circa 1957. | Photo: Getty Images
Taylor was married eight times and twice to Richard Burton, but her marriage to Fisher was the most scandalous. Taylor and Fisher’s wife, Reynolds, had been friends since their childhood, so it was considered the height of moral bankruptcy that she would steal her friend’s man.
Six months after Fisher had gone to console Taylor following the death of her husband from a plane crash, the duo began an affair that would go on to become one of the era’s biggest Hollywood love scandals.
Portrait of US actress Debbie Reynolds wearing a blue and white print pattern sleeveless top, circa 1970. | Photo: Getty Images
The affair was more heartbreaking because they were all family friends who had shared moments, Fisher, Reynolds, and Taylor were pictured together socially at the time, but little was known of the infidelity behind the scenes.
Fisher was the best man at Taylor’s wedding to Todd, and when he and Reynolds welcomed their first child in 1958, they called him Todd in honor of Taylor’s spouse.
Elizabeth Taylor and Eddie Fisher dining at an event, circa 1959. | Photo: Getty Images
As their relationship grew more intense, the musician surprised the world by divorcing his wife and their two children to be with Taylor. Reynolds was met with pity and love while Fisher and Taylor suffered public outrage for their relationship.
Despite the seeming bad blood between both women, Reynolds later confessed that she made peace with Taylor and considered her a friend except when she stole her man.
After her divorce from her first love, Reynolds married two more times.
TAYLOR LEFT FISHER FOR BURTON
Reynolds also remarked that she was never resentful of Fisher’s betrayal. In an interview, she claimed that no one requests for a divorce until they truly want to leave, adding that she knew Taylor never loved Fisher and that he was merely a stopgap until she found love.
Taylor met her true love, Richard Burton, on the set of “Cleopatra,” after a few years together, and she spent no time in ditching Fisher for the actor her heart desired.
Fisher was heartbroken after realizing he had been ditched. He confronted Taylor with a gun bit; even that was not enough to stop the romance the duo had developed.
Fisher spent the rest of his life being the bad guy and regretting the cost of his actions on his career. Reynolds and Taylor remained friends until Taylor’s death, even starring opposite the 2001 TV drama “The Old Broads.”
However, Reynolds wished she had heeded the advice of Frank Sinatra, her co-star from the 1955 film “The Tender Trap,” who warned her of the danger of marrying a singer. Heeding the advice would have spared her from being the center of gossip from co-stars.
Reynolds’s life was an adventure featuring both good, bad, and ugly. Following the end of her marriage to Fisher, she became the subject of rumors from co-star Tony Curtis, a friend to her ex-husband, Fisher.
According to reports, Curtis spread the rumor that Reynolds’s marriage to Fisher had ended because she was a lesbian and a “lousy lay.” In her defense, Reynolds claimed Fisher never took the time to tell her what he loved but instead left her for Taylor.
Tony Curtis salutes at the annual Veterans Day parade on November 11, 2009. | Photo: Getty Images
When the rumors persisted, Reynolds confronted Curtis, and surprisingly, he refused to back down but instead maintained his stance. He claimed he was only repeating what Fisher told him, and he believed him because they were friends.
Curtis himself was a popular star whose marriage had crashed and left him in obscurity. He was married to famous actress Janet Leigh, but by the end of their marriage and his death, his career was a shadow of what it was.
After her divorce from her first love, Reynolds married two more times to Harry Karl (1960-1973) and Richard Hamlett (1984-1996). Unfortunately, both unions were not the answer she had hoped for in her quest for a new love.
Karl looked like he was the answer and provider Reynolds had hoped for, but by the end of their 13-year marriage, she was left heartbroken and in debt to his many creditors.
Actress Debbie Reynolds waves as she arrives for Dame Elizabeth Taylor’s 75th birthday party at the Ritz-Carlton, Lake Las Vegas on February 27, 2007. | Photo: Getty Images
After avoiding bankruptcy with Karl, Reynolds could not avoid financial ruin after her third marriage to Hamlett ended in divorce. She forked out $270,000 to buy out his interest in the Las Vegas casino they’d purchased together, and that put her in a bad place financially.