We celebrate the bittersweet side of Valentine's Day by remembering the best, and most unexpected, love affairs from the past
In case you hadn’t noticed, it’s Valentine’s Day today – meaning that everything’s turned pink and the world has hopped aboard a 24-hour carousel of romance. Here at AnOther, we’re as keen on true love as anyone, but we were inspired by the wonderful Old Loves tumblr to have a look at some of the best (read strangest) matches that sadly didn’t last. So, from the infamous – Rita Hayworth and Orson Welles – to the odd – Vanessa Paradis and Lenny Kravitz – to the unexpected – Tracy Chapman and Alice Walker – we present our Top Ten Old Loves.
Michael Caine & Bianca Jagger
Before Mick, there was Michael. Born in Nicaragua, Bianca Jagger moved to Paris in her late teens, meeting Caine through his tailor who happened to be making a suit for her. She moved to England with the actor, but the couple split after just a couple of years when, aged 20, Bianca left him for the French record mogul Eddie Barclay. Caine recalls her with fondness, dubbing Bianca “one of the most intelligent girls in town.” Her memories of the relationship are less happy – “Caine was unkind, superficial and kept me like I was his geisha,” she recalls.
Rita Hayworth & Orson Welles
As two of the biggest stars in the cinematic pantheon, the 1943 wedding of Hayworth and Welles was huge news. Coming as a surprise to their friends and fans alike, their union was the Hollywood fairy tale turned reality, yet behind the scenes, all was not sunny. After five years, suggestions of mental cruelty from Welles and affairs on both sides, Rita filed for divorce, stating, “I can’t cope with his genius anymore.” Over the following years, there were many disagreements and squabbles over alimony, but in his last interview, Welles described his ex-wife as “one of the dearest and sweetest women that ever lived.”
Sofia Coppola & Keanu Reeves
Meeting on the set of her father’s film Dracula, Sofia and Keanu are one of the sweetest, and briefest, romances on this list. They lasted less than a year, and were rarely seen together, but Reeves was given a thank you credit in Coppola’s directorial debut Lost in Translation, implying that they parted on good terms.
Tracy Chapman & Alice Walker
Another pair who kept a low profile while they were together are singer-songwriter Tracy Chapman and Pulitzer Prize-winning author Alice Walker, who were in a relationship through the mid-nineties. Asked about her ex-lover in 2006, Walker was both wonderfully candid and discreet: “It was delicious and lovely and wonderful and I totally enjoyed it and I was completely in love with her but it was not anybody’s business but ours.”
Sylvester Stallone & Brigitte Neilsen
Both famous for their extraordinary physiques, Neilsen and Stallone met in 1985 after she sent a photo of herself to his hotel, alongside a note proclaiming that she was the actor’s biggest fan. They were married in December of the same year, and Herb Ritts documented their romance in a musclebound editorial for Vanity Fair, titled Fated to be Mated. Sadly the fates changed their minds, and the marriage collapsed after nineteen months.
Jerry Hall & Antonio Lopez
Hall and Lopez met in Paris in the early 70s, at the iconic nightclub Club Sept. Hall had moved from Texas on a quest for adventure, and the meeting would prove portentous, as Lopez took her under his wing, tutoring Hall in the ways of make up and fashion, and introducing her to the likes of Andy Warhol. The two were lovers for a while, but really Hall was his muse. He drew her thousands of times, including on a beach in Jamaica in a moment captured by Norman Parkinson for Vogue. Hall remembers him fondly: “Antonio taught me so much about make-up and style. And I loved the way he drew me; he was the only person who ever got my mouth just right.”
Vanessa Paradis & Lenny Kravitz
Paradis is perhaps best known as the angelically faced (and named) popstar who went out with Johnny Depp for more than fourteen years. However, before becoming synonymous with the Hollywood star, she had a brief fling with Kravitz, who wrote and produced her first English language album. The pair featured strewn across a motorbike in Vogue’s rock themed December 1992 edition, but their romance fizzled soon after.
Martin Scorsese & Liza Minnelli
The fact that they were both married didn’t stop Scorsese and Minnelli embarking on a tempestuous and drug fuelled affair during the filming of New York, New York in 1977. Warhol was a mutual friend and recorded their difficulties in his diary. “Liza’s life is very complicated now,” he wrote. “Like she was walking down the street with Jack Haley, her husband, and they’d run into Martin Scorsese, who she’s now having an affair with, and Marty attacked her for also having an affair with [Mikhail] Baryshnikov... this is going on with her husband standing there!”
Warren Beatty & ...
Warren Beatty’s womanising ways are the stuff of Hollywood legend. Staggeringly handsome and wildly successful, he seduced innumerable Hollywood beauties, mostly using his trademark line, “What’s new, pussycat?” He dated Diane Keaton, Claudia Cardinale, Julie Christie, Natalie Wood and Madonna; Joan Collins said, “He was the only man to get to the mirror faster than me” and he rang up Carly Simon to thank her for writing You’re So Vain in his honour. Now happily married to Annette Bening, Beatty still stands as the ultimate Hollywood philanderer, with his biographer estimating his conquests as numbering around 10,000.
Gore Vidal and Jack Kerouac
The story of Gore Vidal and Jack Kerouac’s night of passion is hazy at best, made still hazier because of the questions raised over Vidal’s credibility. However the facts, if we can call them that, are these. The pair, along with William Burroughs, met on August 23, 1953, at the San Remo bar in New York, and proceeded to get very drunk. Burroughs left, Vidal wanted to go home but Kerouac persuaded him to get a room at the nearby Chelsea Hotel. In Vidal’s words, “each signed his own name (in the register). Grandly, I told the bemused clerk that this register would become famous... I’ve often wondered what did happen to it... Lust aside, we both thought, even then (this was before On the Road), that we owed it to literary history to couple.” While Allen Ginsberg flatly denied that the event ever happened, Vidal counters with the fact that the encounter is recorded, almost verbatim, in Kerouac’s 1958 novella The Subterraneans.
Text by Tish Wrigley