A Brief History
On October 20, 1968, former First Lady of the United States and widow of President John F. Kennedy, Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy married Greek billionaire Aristotle Onassis. From that point on, the media usually referred to her as Jacqueline Onassis or as “Jackie O.,” even after Onassis’ and her deaths.
Many people marry more than once. Here 9 more second marriages of the notorious, rich and famous who married a second time or who were the second spouse are listed. Since many of these second marriages also ended in divorce, we kindly also invite you to read the History and Headlines article: “10 Bizarre Divorces.”
In case you are interested in other events that also happened on October 20, we can refer you to the History and Headlines article: “Bigfoot Patty Had an even Bigger Friend.”
Napoleon was Josephine’s second husband, her first husband having been guillotined during the French Revolution. The 26-year-old future Emperor of France married the 32-year-old widow who would be the love of his life. Though she did have children from her previous marriage, Josephine unfortunately was not able to bear Napoleon an heir, so he felt compelled to divorce her and reluctantly marry Marie-Louise of Austria just for the sake of having children. Napoleon never stopped loving Josephine, and on his death bed the last word he spoke was “Josephine.” (History and Headlines Note: The author’s dachshund is named Marie-Louise in honor of Napoleon’s second wife.)
8. John Derek and Ursula Andress, 1957.
John Derek’s first wife was Pati Behrs Eristoff, a Russian ballerina and grandniece of the author Leo Tolstoy. Following his divorce from her, he almost immediately wed Swiss beauty Ursula Andress. Andress became the more famous wife when she was picked for the role of Honey Rider in the 1962 film Dr. No, making her the first “Bond Girl.” Andress was so beautiful that she went on to play the title role in She (1965) as Ayesha, the most beautiful woman in the world. Derek apparently liked his fantastic blonde beauties increasingly much younger because he soon traded 32-year-old Andress in for twenty-six-year-old actress Linda Evans who in turn was traded in for Bo Derek who was just 15 at the time and to whom he remained married until his death in 1998.
7. Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn, 1532.
Another case of a monarch desiring an heir, Henry needed to rid himself of his first wife, Catherine of Aragon. The Pope refused to annul his marriage, so Henry broke away from the Catholic Church, formed the Anglican Church and arranged the divorce on his own terms. Catherine’s marriage to Henry had been her second marriage, the first ending with the death of her husband after only 5 months. Henry’s second wife Anne was only married once. She, too, failed too produce a son, so Henry had her convicted of treason, adultery, incest and witchcraft in a sham trial as an excuse to have her beheaded so that he could be free to marry again, which he did, again and again and again, until he had married a total of 6 times.
6. Paul McCartney and Heather Mills, 2002.
Divorced in 2008 after a 6-year marriage and 2-year separation, the divorce of Paul McCartney and Heather Mills ranks among the most famous and acrimonious of all time. The beloved ex-Beatle and the one-legged beauty Heather (who made quite a stir on Dancing With the Stars) polarized the public with their divorce, and she was harshly vilified by many as a money-grubbing whore. History and Headlines Note: Paul’s first marriage to Linda Eastman was Linda’s second marriage.
5. Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio, 1954.
It was the second marriage for each. The union between Hollywood’s greatest sex symbol and America’s favorite baseball player (retired since 1951) was the stuff of tabloid dreams. Unfortunately, they were divorced in less than a year. Shortly before her death in 1962, Monroe and DiMaggio began rekindling their relationship, and they might have remarried. After sending 6 red roses to Marilyn’s crypt 3 times a week for 20 years, Joe’s last words before he died were, “I’ll finally get to see Marilyn again.”
4. Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, 1964 and 1975.
Actor Richard Burton’s first marriage to Sybil Williams is a forgotten footnote in history. His second marriage to Elizabeth Taylor (her 5th marriage) was a cause célèbre. For those of you who do not know what that is, it is a controversial issue that attracts a great deal of public attention. There is no better way to describe the circumstances of their marriage. They had met on the set of Cleopatra and had famously left their respective spouses to be with one another. Despite their passion (or perhaps because of it), they divorced in 1974 and famously remarried just a year later, only to divorce for a second time shortly thereafter.
3. Martha Dandridge Custis and George Washington, 1759.
Martha’s first marriage only lasted 7 years and ended with the death of her husband. Even though she was left with 2 small children, the twenty-five-year old widow was also left with a lot of money, making her very eligible indeed. Not only was she left with money, she was also in possession of real estate and 100 slaves. By marrying George Washington in 1759, she secured her spot in history as the first First Lady of the United States. Their union possibly made them the wealthiest couple in the colonies. Unlike many of today’s rich and political families, they gave their son to the Revolution; Jack Custis died of fever at age 26 while serving with George. (History and Headlines Note: In those days, while serving as a soldier in war, disease was often more dangerous than the enemy. Oftentimes more men died from disease than from enemy fire.)
2. John Lennon and Yoko Ono, 1969.
John was already seeing Yoko when he divorced his first wife Cynthia in 1968. Despite being married to one of the most famous and successful musicians of all time, Cynthia got the equivalent of only a few hundred thousand dollars. A few month’s after his marriage to Yoko, John left the Beatles, and avid fans have been blaming her for the break-up of the group ever since. Upon marrying Yoko, John dropped his given middle name of Winston and inserted Ono as his new middle name.
1. Ronald Reagan and Nancy Davis, 1952.
The man who would become President of the United States and represent “family values” was a divorced man. Before marrying Nancy Davis (born Anne Frances Robbins), he had been married to actress Jane Wyman. In contrast to how he was perceived, Reagan’s family life was not as conservative as he would have liked. One of his sons is gay; the other wanted nothing to do with him and did not even allow Reagan to see his grandchildren until it became an issue during his second presidential campaign. His daughter Patti took her mother’s maiden name to distance herself from her father and posed nude in Playboy with poses depicting lesbian and masturbation scenes. Patti also claimed to have been physically abused by Nancy, and is not on speaking terms with her sibling. This was not the ideal Republican family many people thought it was. While in the White House, Nancy is said to have wielded a certain amount of influence over the President while drawing her own guidance from astrology. Scary thought. (History and Headlines Note: We are not criticizing the son for being gay or the daughter for posing in Playboy. We are pointing out that many conservatives might find those situations less than ideal.)
Question for students (and subscribers): Who would you have included on the list? Please let us know in the comments section below this article.
For another event that happened on October 20, please read the History and Headlines article: “Bigfoot Patty Had an Even Bigger Friend!“
Your readership is much appreciated!
For more information, please see…
Moseley, Doug and Naomi Moseley. Making Your Second Marriage a First-Class Success. Harmony, 1998.
Parrott, Les and Leslie Parrott. Saving Your Second Marriage Before It Starts. Zondervan, 2001.