5 Famous Love Stories From History That Were Weird As Hell
There have been some great, famous romances throughout history. Think of Cleopatra and Antony, Barrett and Browning, Spears and Federline. They had no doubt perfect fairy tales, but others definitely went through some things that their ghosts would rather we not know about. Get ready for communist affairs, a lot of French people, and some seriously goth boning, because it's about to get weird.
The Beauvoir/Sartre/Kosakiewicz Love Polygon
Jean-Paul Sartre and Simone de Beauvoir were really something else, even for philosophers. Sartre was an esteemed novelist, playwright, and critic, while de Beauvoir helped lay the foundation for the modern women's movement. Their romance was naturally ahead of its time; they even had an open relationship before it was cool.
In most cases, it's assumed that the man is the one who initiates such an arrangement, while the woman merely endures it, but de Beauvoir was basically a French intellectual Hugh Hefner. Not only did she tally a long list of playmates, but she was also an honest-to-goodness sugar momma. One of her babies was Olga Kosakiewicz, the daughter of a dispossessed Russian emigre who studied under (and on top of and beside) her when she was teaching in Rouen. Promising to take care of her and even pay for her education, de Beauvoir moved Kosakiewicz into the Hotel du Petit Mouton, where she was also living. Hef could have actually learned something from de Beauvior, who cared about her bunnies' minds as well as their bodies.
On the other hand, she seems a lot less honest than Hef. When de Beauvoir finally had enough of Kosakiewicz, she introduced her to Sartre, who fell head over heels and tried to seduce Kosakiewicz for two whole years. But Olga wasn't into it, so she took a pass and found that there was in fact an exit. Right when Sartre had finally given up, however, Olga's younger and more receptive sister came to Paris. This seems like a fairly complicated configuration already, but then de Beauvior became bored with it all and decided to seduce Olga's new boyfriend, who later became Olga's husband, even though he continued his affair with de Beauvoir well into their marriage.
De Beauvoir mined the whole thing for material for her 1943 novel She Came To Stay, in which she combined Olga and her sister into one character who has lots of threesomes with a philosopher couple and then gets murdered. The book was dedicated to Olga, who presumably began sleeping with a mess of weapons under her pillow.
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Frida Kahlo Slept With Her Husband's Hero, Leon Trotsky
Like Sartre and de Beauvoir, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera were a pair of artists whose sexual appetites couldn't be satisfied by only each other. But unlike the philosophers, they had no enlightened understanding. On at least one occasion, Rivera pulled a gun on a man he found in his wife's bed -- which was rich, considering he was probably on his way back from boning one of his own mistresses. Things came to a head when Rivera became sick and acted out on his resentment over his dependence on his wife's care by sleeping with her sister. Kahlo was devastated. Shortly thereafter, she slept with Leon Trotsky.
Kahlo and Rivera were devoted communists, and Rivera was such a big fan of Trotsky that he convinced the Mexican government to offer Trotsky asylum after Stalin chased him out of town. The couple put Trotsky and his wife up in their house, and pretty much immediately, Kahlo set her sights on the revolutionary. It worked a charm. For years afterward, she taunted her husband with the affair. It might have worked a little too well, as Kahlo predictably got bored with it in a hurry, while Trotsky remained hopelessly infatuated. Exasperated by a nine-page love letter he sent her, she forwarded it to a friend the same way women today share screenshots of creeps sliding into their DMs, writing, "I am very tired of the old man."
She soon grew very tired of the old man indeed, and both halves of the marriage split politically from Trotsky. Kahlo was even brought in for questioning after Trotsky's assassination because she happened to be pals with the guy who killed him, which is exactly the kind of final twist that gets you on Springer for sure.
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Colette Seduced Her Stepson With Her Novel About An Older Woman And A Younger Man
French writer Colette was essentially a turn-of-the-century Madonna. She shocked the usually unshockable Parisian literary world with both her work and her antics, which included performing topless and making out with women onstage. Even she wasn't immune to the social pressures of the time, however, so when she became pregnant by editor Henry de Jouvenal in 1912, she admitted defeat and married him. Henry had a son from a previous marriage, but he wasn't permitted to meet Colette until eight years after she became his stepmother. We can't imagine why.
Finally, when Henry's ex-wife needed a favor from Colette, she sent her then-16-year-old son to butter her up, though she probably didn't intend it in that way. Sure enough, exactly what she feared would happen did. Though Colette had let herself go a little over the years, she was still smokin' in her way, and the boy, Bertrand, was hypnotized. She wasted no time ensnaring him in her web, taking him on a luxury vacation and gifting him a copy of her novel Cheri, which happens to be about a relationship between a 49-year-old woman and a 25-year-old man, inscribed with the words "My CHERIshed son Bertrand de Jouvenal." Nice.
In no time, they were humpin' like French bunnies, and they did so off and on for the next five years. When Bertrand was 20, Colette spitefully confessed the affair to her husband, ending their marriage. She and Bertrand began openly dating, and Colette was back in the 1920s French version of Gawker. His parents tried to lure him away with an engagement to an appropriate young woman, but on the day of his engagement dinner, Bertrand couldn't help but visit Colette "one last time." She decided to pick that day to tell him she loved him for the first time, and the engagement was decidedly off. Their relationship ended for good the next year, but Bertrand continued to think and speak fondly of her. We just weren't doing a very good job of teaching kids concepts like "grooming" back then.
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Voltaire Got To Move In With His Mistress And Her Husband By Paying For Their Renovations
French writer and philosopher Voltaire was good at lots of things, but romance wasn't one of them. It only came to him at 39 years old, when he met 26-year-old Emilie du Chatelet. She was a daughter of aristocrats who spoke six languages and often funded her math and science habit with gambling winnings. In other words, she was hot as hell.
She was also inconveniently already married to Marquis Florent-Claude du Chatelet. It wasn't exactly domestic bliss; she was expected to marry when she came of age, so she simply picked a guy who was in the army and therefore wouldn't be around to bug her too much. He managed to bug her enough to give her three children, but it was an open secret that Emilie and her husband led separate lives.
As such, when Voltaire's writing got him in trouble with the French government, as it often did, Emilie suggested that he hide out on one of her husband's many estates. It wasn't like her husband would give a franc. But to sweeten the deal, Voltaire agreed to pay to renovate the place. This included such luxuries as a bathtub, a kitchen, and a 20,000-book library, which means it may as well have been the Jetsons' house at the time. Everyone was happy, and Voltaire and Emilie lived on the property for many years before cordially parting ways. It was possibly the most functional extramarital relationship in history.
Mary Shelley And Percy Bysshe Shelley Consummated Their Relationship On Her Mother's Grave
Mary Shelley was the original goth girl. Not only did she write one of the founding works of modern horror, but she also (probably) lost her virginity on her mother's grave. Your teenage Hot Topic posturing simply can't compete.
It's not quite as weird as it sounds. Her mother's grave was a special place for her. Mary Wollstonecraft, an acclaimed writer and feminist, died only days after giving birth to her namesake, so little Mary often spent time at the grave reading her work, seeking comfort in the mother she never knew. After a teenage Mary and one of her father's fans, Percy Bysshe Shelley, started making eyes at each other, it was only natural for her to take him to her special place to hang out. To anyone else, it might have seemed a little creepy, but Percy was a poet, so it was probably a turn-on. Maybe too much of a turn-on.
Eventually, at one of these graveyard-and-chill meetups, one thing led to another, and well ... it sure seems like that's where they had sex for the first time. We know for certain that they had sex around that time, and they "declared their love and became intimate" at the gravestone, which sounds as much like 19th-century code for spooky bonin' as anything. It certainly makes sense. It's clear from her work that Mary Shelley was obsessed with reanimation, and scholars have theorized that she saw herself as a reanimation of sorts of the dead woman who shared her name. Talk about "rising from the grave." It's a good thing Freud hadn't been born yet; he'd have had a field day with this one.
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