“I was a fool to marry so often," she said. "The truth is I now don’t give a darn about most of those men. Richard is the only one I truly loved and still care about. I shall miss him until the day I die.”
It was called "the marriage of the century". Yet, the relationship between Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton was far from perfect. Despite the raging arguments and the name-calling, they still loved each other until their very last breath.
It was on the set of Cleopatra in Rome where the two of them met. They fell for each other instantly, even though they were married to other people at the time. And what their relationship gave rise to was the kind of love that had fiery passion but was also poisonous in some ways. "From those first moments in Rome, we were always madly and powerfully in love. We had more time but not enough," Elizabeth Taylor said in Furious Love, according to Time.
On March 15, 1964, they got married just days after Elizabeth Taylor's divorce with her previous husband was finalized, as reported by Woman's Day. Their connection was unbreakable and Elizabeth Taylor once said, "Imagine having Richard Burton's voice in your ear while you are making love. It drowned out the troubles, the sorrows, everything just melted away."
They were irreversibly in love, but what friends and family saw was a stormy relationship where nothing was predictable. One moment, they would be throwing things at each other and then 15 minutes later, they would appear, hand-in-hand. Elizabeth Taylor said that she enjoyed their fights and said, "Richard loses his temper with true enjoyment. It’s beautiful to watch. Our fights are delightful screaming matches, and Richard is rather like a small atom bomb going off — sparks fly, walls shake, floors vibrate," according to an extract covered by the Daily Mail.
However, things started wearing down on them and they announced their separation on July 4, 1973. But eventually, they realized that they couldn't live with each other and without each other. But no matter how vicious their marriage became, they still found their way back to each other. "I am forever punished by the gods for being given the fire and trying to put it out," Richard Burton wrote in a letter to her after the first got separated. "The fire, of course, is you."
The two of them went on to have other relationships after they separated, but with time, they found their way back to each other's arms once again. They got secretly married once again in October 1975. Although this time they really wanted to make things work, they soon started having disagreements again.
"I didn’t think then that their second marriage would last ten minutes," their personal bodyguard, Brian Haynes said. "But I could also see that they seemed to need each other. When he was there, she seemed to hate him. When he was away, she couldn’t bear to be without him."
Both of them were well aware that they weren't the perfect spouses to each other, but that didn't change the love they had. "You must know, of course, how much I love you," Richard Burton wrote to her. "You must know, of course, how badly I treat you. But the fundamental and most vicious, swinish, murderous, and unchangeable fact is that we totally misunderstand each other ... we operate on alien wavelengths ... I love you and I always will. Come back to me as soon as you can."
After months of brutal fights, what seemed to be the inevitable second divorce took place less than a year after their second wedding ceremony. "I love Richard with every fiber of my soul," Elizabeth Taylor said. "But we can’t be together. We’re too mutually self-destructive." They eventually went on to have other relationships once again. But in 1984, just days before his death, Richard Burton wrote a letter to the woman he never stopped loving, Elizabeth Taylor, telling her that he wanted to give their relationship another shot.
Elizabeth Taylor also later regretted having gone through too many marriages in her life, and if she could do it over, she would only repeat her marriage with Richard Burton. According to The New York Times, she even said that if Burton had lived they might have married a third time. For years after his death, she told The Times in 2000, she couldn’t watch when the films they had made were on television.
According to The Telegraph, about a year before she passed away, she sat in a wheelchair and said, "I was a fool to marry so often. If I had my time over again, I would never do that. The truth is I now don’t give a damn about most of those men. Richard is the only one I truly loved and still care about. I shall miss him until the day I die."