Let’s be honest. Hollywood has produced some of the greatest love stories of all time, and we’re not just talking about on-screen romances. Although Tinseltown still runs rampant with secret love affairs and whirlwind romances, there was something magical about Hollywood’s Golden Era.
The gossip, the fashion, and the weddings (oh, the weddings!) were on a completely different level than they are today. From romances that fizzled out quickly to everlasting marriages and whirlwind romances, Hollywood has no shortage of lovestruck stars. So, what better way to celebrate these moments than by taking a look back at wedding photos from the most beautiful celebrity weddings of all time.
When actor Humphrey Bogart fell for Lauren Bacall on the set of To Have and Have Not, he was 25 years her senior—not to mention married at the time. But despite these road bumps, their affair blossomed into of the most legendary romances in Hollywood. Since Bogart was married at the time, the two were forced to meet up in secret.
This meant late-night rendezvous in Bogart’s car, meeting up at the golf club, and making sure they had time for each other during breaks in shooting. They even called themselves “Slim” and “Steve,” the same nicknames that their characters had in To Have and Have Not. Bacall was right when she wrote in her 1985 memoir that “No one has written a romance better than we lived it.”
Shirley Temple married actor John Agar at the Wilshire Methodist Church in Los Angeles, California, in September 1945. The child actress wore a silk gown complete with pearl detailing. The wedding reception—which hosted 700 guests, no less— was held at Temple’s parents’ home in California.
The child actress was excited to start her widely publicized new life with her husband, but unfortunately, this is Hollywood we’re talking about. Temple and Agar just couldn’t seem to make it work. Not even the birth of their daughter Linda Susan could stop Agar’s heavy drinking and temper. After five years of a turbulent marriage, Temple filed for divorce, citing “mental cruelty” as the reason for their separation.
After meeting on the set of Meet Me in St. Louis, Judy Garland married director Vincente Minnelli in 1945. This was Garland’s second marriage (he had been previously married to composer David Rose), and the couple had one child together, Liza Minnelli. Minnelli and Garland didn’t exactly get along when they first met.
In fact, Garland initially turned down the part of Esther Smith because she didn’t like Minnelli. As time went on, the two warmed up to one another, and by the time the film debuted, the couple was already living together. But like many couples on our list, Garland and Minnelli were never meant to last. The actress was depressed and suffered from a painkiller addiction, while Minnelli was secretly in the closet.
Bette David married her third husband, artist William Grant Sherry, at an intimate ceremony in California. The bride looked fabulous in her tweed suit and wide-brimmed hat, while the groom donned a classic suit and tie. Davis later said that she was initially drawn to Sherry because he claimed to have no idea who she was and was, therefore, not intimidated by her.
Two years after the wedding, 39-year-old Davis gave birth to daughter Barbara Davis Sherry, who became known as B.D. But as Davis’s career and popularity began to deteriorate, so did her relationship with her daughter and husband. After only five years together, Davis and Sherry filed for divorce.
Jackie Robinson first met his future wife, Rachel Isum, while studying at UCLA. Robinson was already the “Big Man” on campus by the time Isum arrived for the 1940 semester. Within a year, the two were engaged, but their relationship was tested early on.
The following spring, Robinson received a draft notice and mistakenly thought that Isum received one too. The thought of his fiancé being surrounded by other men in the Army scared Robinson, which prompted Isum to promptly call off the engagement “so he wouldn’t think he could tell me what to do.”
When Queen Elizabeth was just a princess, she fell madly in love with Philip Mountbatten after running into him at a royal wedding in 1934. Much to her family’s dismay, the engagement was officially announced 13 years later, and the two wed in November 1947.
For the wedding, the princess had to purchase her dress with coupons, as war rations were still in effect in the United Kingdom. But that didn’t stop Princess Elizabeth from looking stunning in her ivory silk and pearl gown, complete with a 15-foot train!
On Easter Sunday in 1948, just six days after his divorce from his ex-wife became final, jazz singer Nat King Cole married singer Maria Hawkins. The couple was dressed to the nines! The bride wore a beautiful ivory off-the-shoulder satin ball gown, while the groom wore a tailcoat tuxedo.
After the wedding, the couple had a total of five kids: their adopted daughter Carol (1944), Natalie (1950), adopted son Nat Kelly (1959), and twin daughters Casey and Timolin (1961). Like every marriage, the couple overcame several bumps in the road, but the couple stayed together up until Cole’s death in 1965.
Although he had quite the reputation as a playboy, Prince Aly Khan had his sights set on Hollywood actress Rita Hayworth. Shortly after her divorce from Orson Welles, Hayworth was vacationing in the French Rivera, where Khan just happened to be as well.
The two fell in love and promptly got married at a lavish ceremony at l’Horizon in Palm Springs. However, their union didn’t last long. Shortly after their wedding, Khan was spotted dancing with actress Joan Fontaine. Hayworth moved to Nevada with the couple’s daughter and eventually divorced Khan in 1951.
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz eloped and married in Connecticut in 1940. But while their love story seemed like one for the books, unfortunately, their union was anything but smooth sailing. Ball was convinced that Arnaz was having an affair, and it didn’t help that he always came home drunk.
The actress filed for divorce in 1944, but the couple kissed and made up before it became final. Ball and Arnaz decided to reaffirm their love with an official wedding ceremony in California in 1949. Even after a second wedding ceremony, the couple just couldn’t make it work. Ball divorced Arnaz in 1960.
Elizabeth Taylor began her string of unsuccessful marriages at just 18 years old when she married hotel heir Conrad Hilton Jr. The wedding was an extravagant affair and completely paid for by MGM studio.
After the church ceremony in Beverly Hills, the couple held a reception with a guest list made up of some of Hollywood’s biggest stars. The wedding just so happened to be around the time of the actress’s latest movie, Father of the Bride. However, unlike Taylor’s film, the couple’s marriage wasn’t a success. The couple divorced only two years later.
Actors Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh exchanged vows in an intimate ceremony in Greenwich, Connecticut. Leigh wore a simple, white dress suit complete with a beaded cap, while Curtis donned a suit and tie. The couple’s romance and marriage was a frequent topic in the tabloids, especially since Curtis had a hard time remaining faithful.
After only two years, Leigh realized she had made a mistake in marrying Curtis. She packed her bags and left with her two children in tow. Curtis was ripped apart by the tabloids, who sympathized with his ex-wife, and his career never recovered.
In an era of MGM contracts and secret love affairs, Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner became one of Hollywood’s most infamous couples, especially after the paparazzi spotted them out for dinner while Sinatra was still married (with a newborn baby at home, no less).
The cat was out of the bag, and Sinatra was faced with a decision: Go back to his wife or leave her for Gardner. He chose the latter. Before the ink on his divorce papers had dried, Sinatra and Gardner were already married. But as we all know, their relationship was tumultuous, toxic even. The two divorced in 1957.
Actress Brigitte Bardot had just made her big-screen debut when she caught the eye of French director Roger Vadim. The couple wasted no time and wed just a few weeks after the actress turned 18.
But with Bardot’s rising popularity and her status as a sex symbol, she had a hard time remaining faithful to Vadim. The actress cheated on her husband with at least two men, including her And God Created Woman co-star Jean-Louis Trintignant (who was also married at the time). Somehow the split was amicable, and the former couple collaborated on later projects.
Following her divorce from Conrad Hilton Jr., Elizabeth Taylor fell in love with British stage actor Michael Wilding—who happened to be 20 years her senior. The wedding, which took place only weeks after Taylor’s divorce was finalized, was a complete 180 compared to her first wedding.
The couple tied the knot in a low-key ceremony in London. Taylor hoped that their two-decade age gap would provide some stability in their relationship, while Wilding hoped the marriage would help his failing career. But when news broke that Wilding had brought strippers to the couple’s home while Taylor was off filming Giant, the actress was furious. She filed for divorce just a few months later.
Singer Pearl Bailey gave fans a glimpse of her and her husband’s wedding bands as they prepared for their upcoming wedding ceremony in London. While many people thought the couple was making a mistake for getting married after knowing one another for only four days, Bailey and Louie Bellson proved everyone wrong.
Bellson became Bailey’s musical director and wrote all of her arrangements, and the two were able to maintain a healthy working and personal relationship. While everyone else in Hollywood seemed to be getting divorced left and right, Bellson and Bailey remained together up until the singer’s death in 1990.
Director Mel Ferrer, who had been married twice before, was first introduced to Audrey Hepburn at the British opening for her film Roman Holiday. It didn’t take long for the two to fall head over heels for each other, and after only a few months, Hepburn and Ferrer were already engaged.
The two tied the knot in a secret wedding ceremony in Switzerland, far from the public eye. “We want to keep it a dark secret in order to have it without the ‘press,'” the actress wrote in a letter to a close friend.
After a whirlwind romance, Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe surprised everyone by eloping at the San Francisco courthouse in January 1954. Monroe’s studio leaked the news to the press, and the couple was surrounded by paparazzi while they exchanged vows.
Skeptics thought the wedding was a huge publicity stunt, especially since the two were so different. However, Monroe didn’t see it that way. “The truth is that we were very much alike,” Monroe recalled in her memoir My Story. “My publicity, like Joe’s greatness, is something on the outside. It has nothing to do with what we actually are.” The two divorced only nine months later.
Actress Joan Crawford married her fourth husband, CEO of Pepsi Co. Alfred Steele, in a ceremony in Las Vegas in 1955. After three failed marriages, Crawford was finally happy, and it was clear to everyone that their union was one of those “forever” marriages.
But, unfortunately, the couple’s happiness was short-lived. One morning in 1959, Crawford called her husband down for breakfast, but he didn’t answer. She went to the bedroom to wake him up, but when she walked into the room, Steele was on the floor. He was dead. Shocked and devastated, Crawford turned her attention towards her late-husband’s work.
After dating for a year and a half, actors Eddie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds tied the knot at their friend’s home in the Catskills. The couple lived a charmed Hollywood life for the first few years of their marriage.
But all that changed when the couple’s good friend, Mike Todd, tragically passed away in a plane crash. Fisher went to “comfort” Todd’s wife and Reynold’s best friend, Elizabeth Taylor. One thing led to another, and just one month later, Fisher and Taylor were already an item.
Heartthrob Rock Hudson married his agent’s secretary, Phyllis Gates, in a small, intimate ceremony in Santa Barbara, California. After a brief honeymoon in Jamaica, however, their relationship quickly began to deteriorate. Rumors began circulating that Hudson had cheated on Gates while filming A Farewell to Arms in Italy.
The rumors were later confirmed by Gates’s close friend, who also revealed that Hudson was in the closet. After just two years together, the couple called it quits. Their divorce was finalized in 1958. In 1985, Hudson announced that he was suffering from AIDS and sadly passed away only a few weeks later.
Marilyn Monroe married her third husband, Arthur Miller, at the local courthouse in New York before hosting a small reception for friends and family at her husband’s agent’s home. Following the wedding, Miller and Monroe headed over to England so the actress could work on The Prince and the Showgirl.
Unfortunately, the couple had some major bumps along the way, like failed pregnancies and Monroe’s constant battle with her inner demons, and their relationship began to fall apart at the seams. After five years of marriage, Miller and Monroe went their separate ways.
Long before Prince Harry married Meghan Markle, there was another fairytale wedding between a European royal and an American actress. Prince Rainier III of Monaco married Grace Kelly after coincidently meeting her on a train in France. The wedding took place over the course of two days.
First, there was a civil service, where Kelly wore a simple, blush colored lace dress, followed by a religious ceremony, where the actress donned her famous high neck lace gown. With a guest list of over 600 people, the wedding was the event of a lifetime.
Actor Marlon Brando’s first marriage was to British Indian actress Anna Kashfi. The two eloped in Eagle Rock, California. Unfortunately, the whirlwind romance ended just as fast as it started. Shortly after the birth of the couple’s son, Christian Devi, in 1958, Brando and Kashfi went their separate ways.
The divorce was far from amicable, and a bitter custody battle over Christian ensued. The exes frequent bad mouthing of one another dominated headlines for years. In her 1979 memoir, Brando for Breakfast, Kashfi called her ex-husband “a balding, paunchy hypochondriac, a middle-aged, wheezing Superman.” Ouch.
Actress Natalie Wood married Robert Wagner not once, but twice. The first wedding took place in 1957, and the Russian-born actress wore a unique yet beautiful hooded headpiece for the occasion. The couple called it quits after just four years but eventually gave their love a second chance and remarried in 1972.
Unfortunately, Wood’s life was cut short when she drowned off the coast of Catalina Island in 1981. While her death was initially ruled an accidental drowning, witnesses later claimed that she died at the hands of her husband.
Actress Jayne Mansfield met her second husband, Mr. Universe Mickey Hargitay while dancing the night away at the Latin Quarter club in New York City. Hargitay was performing at the nightclub as a member of Mae West’s show.
Mansfield was immediately smitten with Mr. Universe, which caused a rift between him and West. Hargitay, however, didn’t let the fight get in the way of his love for Mansfield and proposed to the love of his life with a 10-carat diamond ring. The bride wore a skintight, pink wedding gown, complete with 30 yards of pink tulle.
Rat Pack crooner, Sammy Davis Jr., married his first wife, Loray White, at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas. However, this was not a whirlwind love affair situation— it was a chance at survival. At the time, Davis was in love with actress Kim Novak.
Her studio chief was furious, to say the least, and reportedly took out a mob hit against the singer. Davis and White had gone out a couple of times before, so Davis offered her a lump sum to marry him and act as his wife. White agreed, and the couple divorced after less than a year.
Julie Andrews was an up-and-coming actress when she married her first love, costume designer Tony Walton, in a traditional ceremony in Surrey, England. But as Andrew’s career began to take off, the couple began to drift apart, and, eventually, it all became too much for the couple.
“Tony and I had known each other since I was 12 or 13, and it was a great friendship, and it still is,” Andrew later told reporters. “That has never wavered, and so even though it was very painful, the worst of it was you feel such a failure because it’s certainly nothing that one anticipates going into a marriage.”
Yet another royal wedding rolled around in 1960, but this time it was for Princess Margaret and Antony Armstrong-Jones. The Queen’s younger sister wore the Poltimore tiara with a silk organza gown and a long veil. At the time, Armstrong-Jones was the first commoner to wed a king’s daughter in over 400 years.
But, as many of you know, the relationship had its cracks long before the wedding even took place. By 1967, rumors of infidelity began to circulate, and by the 1970s, the couple’s relationship had completely crumbled. After 20 years of marriage, Princess Margaret and Armstrong-Jones announced their divorce.
Shortly after divorcing his first wife, Sammy Davis Jr. met and fell in love with Swedish actress May Britt. Their relationship caused quite the controversy at the time, especially since interracial marriage was still illegal in 31 different states.
But the two lovebirds didn’t care and decided to tie the knot anyway. After three kids and eight years together, Davis and Britt just couldn’t seem to make it work. It didn’t help that Davis was rumored to have had an affair with dancer Lola Falana. Britt and Davis divorced in 1968.
One year after divorcing Desi Arnaz, Lucille Ball decided to give love another chance by marrying comedian Gary Morton in New York City. Fans were elated at the news and lined the streets, cheering, “I love Lucy,” as the couple exchanged “I dos” inside the Marble Collegiate Church.
Seeing that this was Ball’s second marriage, she decided to keep the ceremony as small as possible. Only 40 friends and family were in attendance. After the wedding, Ball taught Morton the ins and outs of television and eventually promoted him to a producer at her production company.
Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton’s love affair created a tabloid frenzy. The two met and fell in love while filming Cleopatra on location in Rome. Taylor was married to Eddie Fisher at the time, who had famously left his wife (and Taylor’s best friend) Debbie Reynolds for the actress.
Taylor wore a yellow chiffon dress, complete with flowers in her long ponytail for the wedding ceremony at the Ritz-Carlton in Montreal. Like many couples in Hollywood, Taylor and Burton had a troubled relationship and eventually divorced ten years later. In 1975, they briefly wed for a second time before splitting for good.
Judy Garland and actor Mark Herron tied the knot in the early hours of the morning (1:30 a.m. to be exact) in Las Vegas. The two had met the previous year while Garland was still married to her previous husband. However, their relationship was doomed from the start.
Six months after getting hitched, Garland was granted a divorce after testifying that Herron had hit her. Herron, however, claimed he acted in self-defense. But there was another secret that ate away at the relationship. Like Minnelli, Herron was in the closet.
Frank Sinatra shocked fans around the world when he wed 21-year-old actress Mia Farrow. The singer, who had been married already twice before, tied the knot with Farrow at his friend’s home in Las Vegas. Sinatra wanted Farrow to give up her career as an actress, which she agreed to do at first.
But before long, the up-and-coming actress grew tired of sitting at home and signed on to film Rosemary’s Baby, which angered Sinatra. So, in November of 1967, his lawyer served Farrow divorce papers on the set of her movie. The divorce was finalized the following year.
Actress Jane Fonda and director Roger Vadim were one of the most notable couples of their time. But just because they were one of the most talked-about couples around town didn’t mean that they wanted to get married with a full audience.
In 1967, Fonda and Vadim eloped in a courthouse in Northern France, which caused quite the stir. However, their relationship was rocky, especially since Vadim had a drinking and gambling problem. He also apparently had a problem staying faithful too. “I had put so much into creating a life with him, fitting into his life, that I had left myself behind,” Fonda wrote in 2005.
The King of Rock’ n Roll married his longtime girlfriend, Priscilla Beaulieu, in an intimate and private ceremony in Las Vegas. While on the outside, their relationship seemed like a dream come true, it was anything but.
Not only did Elvis have several extramarital affairs (just as he had while the two were dating), but he refused to sleep with Priscilla after she gave birth to their daughter, Lisa Marie. Priscilla grew more frustrated as time went by and eventually filed for divorce in 1973. It was an amicable breakup, and the two remained friends until Elvis’s death in 1974.
Sharon Tate met Roman Polanski while filming The Fearless Vampire Killers. It was a typical Hollywood meet-cute—Tate was the lead actress, and Polanski was the film’s director. The two tied the knot at the registrar’s office in London and had a reception at the Playboy Club.
Tate became pregnant towards the end of the year, and the couple moved into 10050 Cielo Drive in Benedict Canyon, Los Angeles, a few months later. In August 1969, Tate and some friends went back to her place after eating at the El Coyote Café, where they were murdered by the members of the Charles Manson family.
Audrey Hepburn wore a pale pink Givenchy dress with a matching headscarf when she tied the knot to Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti. The two met and fell in love in June 1968 while vacationing on a yacht in the Mediterranean with a mutual friend.
Right after their wedding, Hepburn told the press that she intended on ending her acting career to become an “Italian housewife.” Hepburn soon became aware that her husband was cheating on her with younger women, but she pushed off the divorce until their son was old enough to deal with their separation.
After his divorce from Cynthia was finalized in 1969, John Lennon married Yoko Ono. The couple planned on tying the knot on a ferry between England and Paris. But since Ono was not a British citizen, they were forced to change their plans.
Instead, the couple wed in a civil ceremony at a registrar’s office in Gibraltar. Lennon and Ono’s wedding was low key; their honeymoon was anything but. The newlyweds held two “Bed-Ins” for peace: one at the Hilton Hotel in Amsterdam and the other at the Queen Elizabeth Hotel in Montreal.
Aretha Franklin married Glynn Turman at her father’s church in Detroit. Turman later said that the first time it dawned on him that he was married to THE Aretha Franklin was when he woke up in the middle of the night to find that his wife wasn’t in bed. “She was sitting at the piano, barefoot, cigarette hanging on the side of her mouth.”
“In her nightgown. Playing this amazing music. Just amazing,” Turman recalled to ABC. “I started to say, hey baby, come to bed. And I stopped, and I sat down in the doorsill. And that’s really the first time it really dawned on me that my wife was Aretha Franklin!”