10 of History's Most Torrid Love Affairs

Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor in London in 1975. Evening Standard/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

Perhaps the most passionate, yet destructive, love affair in history was the one between actors Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor. The pair first got to know one another in 1963, on the set of "Cleopatra." Taylor was 29 and married to Eddie Fisher, her fourth husband, at the time. The Welsh Burton, 38, had been married to his first wife, Sybil, since 1949 [source: Biography]. Liz and Dick quickly became inseparable, and by March 7, 1964, had divorced their respective spouses and married one another [source: Cahalan].

The Hollywood power couple worked on 11 movies together, received Oscar nominations and made millions. But both also battled addictions to booze and drugs, so despite their passion and devotion, their marriage was stormy. The couple divorced in 1974, remarried in 1975 and divorced again in 1976 [source: Cahalan].

But even divorced, they were never far from each other's minds or hearts, keeping in touch via letter or phone [source: Turner]. In 1982, shortly before Burton wed his second post-Liz wife, the two agreed to join forces in Noel Coward's play "Private Lives." Although the play got terrible reviews, people were dying to see the two together, and it was sold out every night. Who knows if the couple would have eventually married a third time; in 1984, Burton died from a cerebral hemorrhage [source: Cahalan].