Born Frances Ethel Gumm on June 10, 1922, Judy Garland was a performer all her life. She has graced the silver screen in various iconic films and delighted audiences the world over with her magical voice. Although she passed away 50 years ago, she is still much beloved for her contribution to American cinema.
Interestingly, her love was even more dramatic than the characters she portrayed on screen. The iconic Wizard of Oz actress had married five times in her lifetime, giving Elizabeth Taylor and her eight marriages worthy competition. Let’s take a look at the men she loved over the decades.
Husband 1: David Rose (1941)
Garland met British-born composer and bandleader David Rose when she was 18-years-old and he 31-years-old, and they quickly became engaged. At the time, she was riding on a career-high following her Oscar-winning breakout role in The Wizard of Oz. Her mother and production studio she was under contract with, MGM, objected to their marriage over concerns Rose would tarnish Garland’s pristine, youthful image. Rose was still married to actress and singer Martha Raye at the time.
However, Garland ignored them and married Rose a year later in Las Vegas on July 27, 1941 after his divorce was finalised. The couple did not have an easy relationship. They reportedly had very different personalities, and Garland’s domineering mother created much tension. Rose, Garland’s mother and MGM reportedly forced Garland to have a secret abortion for fears that a baby would ruin her career. Secret abortions were common for actresses of this period.
The strain on their marriage could not be fixed and by 1944, the couple divorced.
Husband 2: Vincente Minnelli (1945)
In 1944, Garland began dating American stage director and film director Vincent Minelli whilst filming Meet Me in St. Louis, which Minelli directed. The film has since become MGM’s highest selling to date. Minelli was nearly 20 years Garland’s senior, and is said to have brought out maturity and onscreen elegance in the star that she desperately craved after playing many teenage roles.
Minelli and Garland were a powerhouse, and continued to work together for various MGM films. The pair married in June 1945, and MGM co-founder Louis B. Mayer himself gave the bride away. In 1946, the couple welcomed daughter Liza Minelli, who would go on to become an international star just like her mother.
Trouble began for the couple after daughter Liza’s birth. Garland suffered from postpartum depression and was hospitalised at two different psychiatric clinics from a nervous breakdown after she returned to work a year after giving birth. Garland had also become more dependent on drugs, which she first began taking as a child upon her mother’s insistence to help maintain her weight and give her more energy to perform. She had also attempted suicide multiple times, and recieved scathing reporting from the press for alleged affairs. Garland and Minelli’s collaborations came to an end when she insisted he be removed as director for Easter Parade. The couples divorce was finalised in 1951, and she was released from her MGM contract.
Husband 3: Sid Luft (1952)
Garland’s longest marriage was to movie producer Sid Luft, who she had known since the 1930s. She began dating Luft after her relationship was Minelli ended in 1951, and he became her manager on a mission to revitalise her career.
Early into their relationship, Garland discovered she was pregnant but felt pressured to have another abortion to preserve her career. The couple managed to get through it together and married in 1952. They had daughter Lorna later that same year and son Joey in 1955. In 1954, the actress reached career success yet again with her iconic role in A Star is Born, which garnered her a Best Actress nomination at the Academy Awards.
However, throughout this high, Garland and Luft were having many marital problems. Garland continued to suffer from depression, drug use and alcoholism, and Luft reportedly also had issues with alcohol. Garland sued for divorce in 1963, citing mental cruelty as the reason. The actress claims Luft would become physically abusive towards her when he drank. She filed for divorce multiple times but the pair kept getting back together. They finally divorced in 1965.
Husband 4: Mark Herron
Garland met actor and tour manager Mark Herron in 1964 when he produced her joint shows with daughter Liza at the London Palladium. At the time, however, Garland was still married to Luft. They married soon after her divorce was finalised in 1965 at the Little White Chapel in Las Vegas.
This short-lived marriage was not meant to be. They separated after 5 months and divorced in 1967. Garland testified that Herron was physically abusive towards her, which Herron claims was in self-defense..
Husband 5: Mickey Deans (1969)
Garland’s fifth and final husband was American musician and entrepreneur, Mickey Deans. The pair reportedly met at a hotel in New York City when Deans, 12 years Garland’s junior, was asked by a mutual friend to deliver prescription drugs to the actress. He had to pretend to be a doctor, as Garland’s two youngest children were present.
The pair dated for three years and married in 1969 in London. At the time, Garland’s career and personal life was at an all-time-low. Her physical and mental health had deteriorated from her persistent drug use. She was also in debt and felt immense pressure to continue performing.
Unfortunately a mere three months after their wedding, Deans discovered Garland’s dead body on June 22, 1969. She had died from an accidental overdose just 12 days before her 47th birthday.
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