4 Most Horrifying Marriages Between Fans and Their Idols
Being a fan is a difficult thing. You'll find a musician or an actor or (more often than not) an Internet writer whose work you really respond to and suddenly feelings of creative or professional admiration turn into feelings of love and attraction. For some fans, the line between "I really appreciate the art you make" and "I guess I'm probably in love with you" gets blurry, and that can be dangerous if the object of your fandom isn't all he's cracked up to be. Or if he's Elvis.
Elvis Was Cruel to Priscilla Presley
You might say that Elvis was "the Elvis Presley of rock and roll." Everybody wanted a piece of the King. We already know that Elvis Presley was kind of a huge creep, but we have the gift of hindsight. When Priscilla Beaulieu met him, she was 14 (with daddy issues) and he was 24 (with serious mommy issues). He liked 'em young, and she liked, well, what every straight teenage girl on the planet liked. She was instantly in love, and so was he -- or, at least, he was happy to have a nice girl to play the Madonna to his many whores.
He took her on trips to Los Angeles and Las Vegas and eventually offered to let her live with him at Graceland. Except he wasn't there most of the time, he was making movies and banging his co-stars. He was also violent and controlling: When she wanted to be a model, he said she couldn't. When she wanted to be a dancer, he said she couldn't.
He also had a bit of a temper.
Priscilla didn't have much of a life outside him, but it wasn't like she was going to leave him. She was a teenager, and he was fucking Elvis. And she was fucking Elvis! And so were, sure, a lot of other people, but she was too! And he gave her things! Like amphetamines! And sleeping pills! And a makeover, so she could look exactly how he wanted her to look!
Which was like this.
Their wedding was more of a press conference than an event for friends and family, and most sources say his managers forced him into it. Once she had a kid, Elvis was so afraid of becoming a literal motherfucker that he stopped sleeping with her. She did all kinds of things to try to win him back, had affairs, and eventually filed for divorce.
Despite all the crap he put her through, Priscilla Presley remained somewhat close to Elvis and seems to feel sorry for him more than anything else. She now blames his bad behavior on the shit-ton of prescription drugs he did and claims he could have been saved if he had found solace in Scientology, like she did.
Do E-meters cure terminal sandwichitis?
Romola de Pulszky Shared Her Sexy, Schizophrenic Husband With His Male Boss
Vaslav Nijinsky was an early 20th century ballet dancer, often considered the best of the century, and a sex symbol for men and women alike. He did all kinds of sexy dances, one involving him playing a faun humping a nymph's veil.
Sex was ... different back then.
While he had all kinds of crazy fans -- some of whom would break into his dressing room and steal his underwear -- one was particularly devoted. Romola de Pulszky was a wealthy Hungarian socialite who wanted Nijinsky so badly that she learned to dance, bullshitted her way into the Russian ballet, and followed him on a boat trip to Argentina.
Nijinsky found her annoying and creepy at first, but, maybe because he wanted to distance himself from a former lover, or maybe because of a lapse in sanity, he asked her to marry him. He didn't speak Hungarian, and she didn't speak Russian, so he ended up proposing to her half in French and half in mime.
So, yes, there were warning signs. But de Pulszky idolized him. She had married Batman, as far as she was concerned.
But that "former lover" happened to be both a man and Nijinsky's boss. From an early age, his mother had encouraged him to pursue sugar daddy relationships with several older, influential, wealthy men. Sergei Diaghilev, the head of the Ballets Russes, was no exception.
Who does Sex Incarnate have sex with? The Monopoly Man Incarnate.
When Diaghilev heard that his star and lover had gotten hitched, he was more than a little pissed and found a reason to fire him. This meant less money for de Pulszky, Nijinsky, and their daughter, Kyra. De Pulszky had been warned before the marriage that Nijinsky had mostly been involved with men, but had presumably figured they'd work through these insurmountable issues with the strength of their mime- and grunt-based communication style. They didn't, and de Pulszky was forced to allow Nijinsky to reconcile with (i.e., screw) Diaghilev in order for them to get through World War I.
Then there were the psychotic breaks. Schizophrenia ran in Nijinsky's family, and he began to show symptoms early on in their marriage. He got sicker as the war went on and eventually had to be committed. De Pulszky was left with her trophy husband in an asylum, a daughter who would resent her, and a compulsive need to make herself look good in her husband's writings.
"Just erasing all these pesky 'I made a huge mistake' and 'She never loved me' passages from your diary, dear."
She also went on to have affairs with women. It probably would have saved them both some grief if they'd learned how to say "bisexual" in Hungarian and Russian.
Reason Compelled Nathaniel Branden to Bang Ayn Rand
Like a lot of teenagers, Nathaniel Blumenthal fell in love with Ayn Rand's The Fountainhead. Ruggedly individualistic handsome men outsmarting the rest of the dumb world and sleeping with beautiful women who worshiped them ... it was a smart kid's fantasy. There was also some philosophy she made up, which you'll know if you've spent more than five minutes on the Internet.
More hits than "Karl Marx" and "Sasha Grey" put together.
Like a lot of kids with a talent-crush, Nathaniel wrote to his hero and apparently touched her with his writing, because Rand eventually contacted him back. She met the then-19-year-old Nathaniel and his girlfriend, Barbara Weidman, in 1950, and was immediately impressed with them. Not because he was a confident, strapping young man and her own husband, Frank O'Connor, was kind of a bore; nope, it was all about their ideological connection.
The important thing to know about Ayn Rand is that, in all of her books, ideology is foreplay: The characters argue about objective reality, then have a rough fuckfest in a perfectly art deco bedroom or train tunnels. And like many fiction writers, she wanted what she wrote about to be true.
They got close, with Nathaniel even changing his name from Blumenthal to Branden so it contained her last name -- which was also fake. Rand labeled him her "intellectual heir," and then, in the late 1950s, after Nathaniel and Barbara had married, the inevitable happened: Rand got randy.
She scheduled twice a week sexytime sessions for her and Nathaniel, telling both her husband and his wife that this was completely rational and reasonable and they'd have to get used to it. Never mind that Nathaniel was in his 20s and Rand was pushing 50, and that regularly scheduled affairs aren't rational and reasonable -- it was meant to be. But when Rand became depressed about Atlas Shrugged not immediately changing the world, Nathaniel found himself forced to continue a relationship with woman he didn't want anymore. Then he met Patrecia Scott and did a very selfish thing.
Her. He did her.
Rand was all for selfishness, but had very particular ideas about sex. Other people could believe love was blind (and lust was not), but to Rand, "A man's sexual choice is the result and the sum of his fundamental convictions." So to hook up with a pretty young actress instead of the self-described "most creative thinker alive" was not only emotional but ideological betrayal.
She denounced Nathaniel publicly and privately, telling him, "If you have an ounce of morality left in you, an ounce of psychological health -- you'll be impotent for the next 20 years!"
Ayn Rand, boner killer.
She excommunicated him from her group and told all her followers he'd committed crimes against reason. Nathaniel wrote a letter basically saying, "Um, no, it's because I just realized she's 50 and I'm in my 20s and actresses are a thing, and also I'm married? There's lots of reasons for me, specifically, at this moment in time, to not have sex with Ayn Rand, is my point." But it was too late. He lost his friends, his livelihood, and any financial support for his business.
He recovered, slowly, going on to do some stuff with the "self-esteem movement," and he apologized for being such an annoying fanboy. Now if only he'd apologize for having forced us to picture Ayn Rand having sex.
Maureen Cox Had a Horrible Life as a Beatle's Wife
In the early '60s, Maureen Cox was a trainee hairstylist and a regular audience member at the Cavern Club, where this band called the Beatles played. They all knew her, and she even kissed Paul McCartney on a dare. But, because love is beyond reason -- and superior talent and attractiveness -- her heart belonged to Ringo Starr. Her persistence paid off when he finally asked her to dance one night, and they were married in secret in early 1965.
Why isn't Paul at the wedding? PAUL IS DEAD.
It was never easy to be married to a Beatle. Even before the wedding, Maureen had received all kinds of threats from jealous Beatlemaniacs, and she had to give up her career as a hairdresser for her own safety. One fan had even reached through a car window and scratched her across the face.
But at least she had her love! Except that (like another Beatle) Ringo was a shitty husband. He'd had a rough childhood, and going from poverty to immediate worldwide fame is rarely healthy. He soon became an alcoholic, and Maureen had to deal with drugs and affairs and random acts of violence. Yes, lovable old Ringo, the man who wrote "Octopus's Garden," used to beat his wife.
Maureen did have a good friend in George Harrison, who selflessly offered to fuck her pain away, pissing off his own wife and the other Beatles in the process. Their affair, as well as another of Ringo's, led to a bitter divorce and many years of depression. Eventually, Maureen found something resembling happiness when she married Isaac Burton Tigrett, the man who founded the Hard Rock Cafe. He oh-so-lovingly called her his "ultimate collectible."
"We'll put you right by Sid Vicious' used syringe!"
Ringo and Maureen did sort of reconcile after he got sober. Unfortunately, by then she was dying of leukemia. But at least he was there, and at least Maureen got a Beatle to write a song about her. Except it wasn't Ringo. Or George. It was Paul, and it wasn't released until after her death.
So ... at least one member of the greatest band ever was a consistently decent human being.
Be sure to check out more from Mara in 7 Reasons Child Stars Go Crazy (An Insider's Perspective).