While conventional wisdom, and some interpretations of the most recent numbers, hold that half of all marriages in the United States end in divorce, the actual divorce rate varies depending on age, economic status, education, number of previous marriages, and a host of other factors. Some economists and relationship experts even claim the divorce rate is falling, at least among certain population.
One place where divorce seems to be a daily occurrence, of course, is Hollywood. The high divorce rate in the entertainment community can be attributed to the many quick marriages and even quicker divorces, of course, that take place every year (hello, Kim Kardashian, we’re looking at you!), but don’t forget the celebs who push the stats up all on their own, with multiple marriages and divorces.
Divorce and Classic Hollywood
Many stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age found themselves marrying and divorcing more than once or twice. Elizabeth Taylor and Zsa Zsa Gabor are two of Hollywood’s most famous serial spouses, at eight and nine marriages, respectively. Lana Turner married eight times, to seven different men. Actor Mickey Rooney has been married eight times; his eighth marriage, to Jan Chamberlin in 1978, has lasted longer than all his previous marriages combined. Rooney famously said of weddings, “Always get married early in the morning. That way, if it doesn’t work out, you haven’t wasted a whole day.”
Stars with more recent histories of marital excesses include:
Larry King: 8 marriages
Talk-show host Larry King has been married eight times, twice to the same woman, since the age of 18. The most recent marriage, to singer Shawn Southwick in 1997, nearly ended in divorce as well. They separated and filed for divorce in April of 2010 but reconciled later that year.
Jerry Lee Lewis: 7 marriages
Legendary rocker Jerry Lee Lewis married for the seventh time on March 9, 2012, to his cousin’s ex-wife. Lewis was previously married, in 1957, to the same cousin’s older sister. Way to keep it in the family!
Joan Collins: 5 marriages
The “Dynasty” star first married in 1952, at age 19. In 2002, she tied the knot for the fifth time with Percy Gibson, a man 32 years younger than she. Surprisingly to some in Hollywood, the marriage has so far lasted, and appears strong; they renewed their vows in 2009.
James Cameron: 5 marriages
Phenomenally successful director James Cameron is known for on-set romances. His second wife, Gale Anne Hurd, produced Cameron’s hits “The Terminator” and “Terminator 2: Judgement Day,” while his fourth wife, Linda Hamilton, starred in the two films. Hamilton recently spoke out about the failure of their marriage and Cameron’s workaholic ways. Since 2000, Cameron has been married to Suzy Amis, who had a small part his blockbuster “Titanic.”
Billy Bob Thornton: 5 marriages
Billy Bob was most famously married to Angelina Jolie, from 2000 to 2003, but he’s been married and divorced four other times as well. He’s now, so he says, sworn off marriage altogether; he’s also reportedly making a movie at least partly based on his brief, bizarre relationship with Jolie. (Remember when they wore vials of each other’s blood around their necks?)
Geena Davis: 4 marriages
Academy-award winning actress Geena Davis is on her fourth and longest marriage. She was married to Jeff Goldblum, her co-star in three films, and Renny Harlin, who directed her in two, but seems to have found lasting love with plastic surgeon Reza Jarrahy, whom she married in 2001.
Even the most prolific of Hollywood’s serial spouses has a long way to go to measure up to the current “most married” world record holder, an Indiana grandmother who has tied the knot a remarkable 23 times.