When you think about Elizabeth Taylor, a few things instantly come to mind, like her legendary acting in films like Cleopatra and Father of the Bride, and her bombshell love life. New York Times bestselling author Kate Andersen Brower just released the first authorized biography on Taylor called Elizabeth Taylor: The Grit & Glamour of an Icon, and quite a few other layers to the iconic actress have come to light. With access to over 7,000 personal letters and over 250 interviews, Brower is giving fans a glimpse that no one has had before, including on Taylor’s controversial-turned-toxic marriage to Eddie Fisher.
In the book, Brower talks about the abuse Taylor faced throughout her life, including allegedly at the hands of her fourth husband Eddie Fisher. The most terrifying detail was that Fisher reportedly held a gun to Taylor’s head in the 1960s, during the time she grew close to Richard Burton. He allegedly held the gun to her head, and said, “Don’t worry, you’re too beautiful to kill.”
“[Elizabeth Taylor] said her entire life was a fight. The resilience is the refusing to be a victim. Her father did beat her up. And he beat her because he felt intimidated that his 12-year-old was making more money [as a child star] than he was,” Brower wrote, per People. “The fact that she wouldn’t let herself be victimized even though she was on paper, a victim. I think that’s terrible that he did that. But she got up again, like she almost died in her 20s when she had pneumonia, and she kept going and going. It was the never giving up.”
Taylor and Fisher’s affair started back in the 1950s, when Fisher left his first wife Debbie Reynolds (who was Taylor’s best friend) for Taylor. “I was the last to find out about the affair,” Reynolds said, per The Daily Mail. “There had been hints in the papers and I had noticed that when I turned up at functions or parties on my own my friends were whispering. Although I didn’t want to find out the truth, I had to face up to it. Even so, it was a great shock to find them together. It left me shattered.”
Taylor and Fisher’s marriage eroded quite quickly after Taylor started working with Burton. Fisher was fueled by rage, reportedly buying a gun and continually asking Taylor: “Is something going on between you and Burton?”
The two divorced in 1964, and she married Burton 10 days later.
If you or someone you know has been the victim of sexual assault, harassment or violence, you can get help. To speak with someone who is trained to help with these situations, call the National Sexual Assault Hotline at 800.656.HOPE (4673) or chat online at online.rainn.org.
Before you go, click here to see every man Elizabeth Taylor dated or married below: