8 marriages. 7 husbands. 7 divorces. (Richard Burton, married twice, divorced twice…what is that saying about Henry VIII?)
We’ve all heard the media history and jokes about Elizabeth Taylor and her love life. They’ve turned into comical commentary about the shallowness of celebrity romances. And perhaps Elizabeth Taylor did have a flare for the dramatic. However, a rare love letter written by her to Richard Burton that is going up for auction shows an intimate side of Elizabeth Taylor.
“My darling (my still) My husband. I wish I could tell you of my love for you, of my fear, my delight, my pure animal pleasure of you – (with you) – my jealousy, my pride, my anger at you, at times. Most of all my love for you, and whatever love you can dole out to me – I wish I could write about it but I can’t. I can only ‘boil and bubble’ inside and hope you understand how I really feel. Anyway I lust thee, Your (still) Wife. P.S. O’Love, let us never take each other for granted again! P.P.S. How about that – 10 years!!”
For anyone in a long-term relationship, how these words cut to the core. Two people trying to build a life together, live together, learn together, love together. I found her words to be so simple and poignant, the often contradicting and powerful emotions and pulls of true partnership.
I see Elizabeth Taylor in a new light, reading her words and not someone else’s version of her story. She is a mother of four children when she writes this letter to Richard Burton. She is on the brink of her fourth divorce. She is a widow. She is a human, someone married for ten years desperately clinging to the hope that this, this one will last.
These intimate histories, preserved and uncovered, have such power to reach us all on a human level and connect us to the past. It’s these little scraps of our lives, mementos we leave behind, that can recreate lives and stories for others to witness and learn from. But most importantly, to connect too.