Huffpost Divorce

Debbie Reynolds, Elizabeth Taylor: Friends After Eddie Fisher Feud

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DEBBIE REYNOLDS
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Debbie Reynolds has endured a notoriously difficult personal life. The actress' first marriage to Eddie Fisher ended in 1959 -- after four years and two children -- when Fisher left her for a widowed Elizabeth Taylor, despite the fact that the two women were close friends. While Reynolds was understandably livid -- for a while, at least -- she later welcomed Taylor back into her life, and the two remained lifelong friends. So we wondered: how the heck does a friendship bounce back from a betrayal as significant as that?

HuffPost Divorce had a chance to ask the iconic entertainer just that question Thursday at the Paley Center for Media in Beverly Hills, following a tour she hosted of never-before-displayed treasures from her massive collection of film memorabilia, set to go up for auction Saturday (Reynolds was in attendance as part of the day-long TedxWomen conference organized in conjunction with the Paley). Below, her candid comments:

Elizabeth Taylor ran off with your husband. You later became friends with her. You even have memorabilia from her films in your collection. How did you move past her betrayal?

Elizabeth and I were good friends when we were young -- 17. And then when we got older and Eddie [Fisher] left with Elizabeth, things changed, of course. But we wound up to be very good friends again, and laughed about it. Elizabeth was a very strong, powerful woman. When she saw something that she wanted, she got it. And that just happened to be my husband.

How do you get to that positive point with a friend after a situation like that? Did it have anything to do with the fact that you married and divorced twice more after splitting from Fisher?

You have to look at what life is all about, and is it worth it? And, is he worth it? The friendship was perhaps worth more. Divorce and marriage are very close. You read about it every day. Somebody splits up and they stay friends. Someone else splits up and they're terrible enemies and they kill each other. Well, that didn't happen in my life -- it was just a split -- and I was bright enough to know that I respected my friendship with Liz, and I felt that we both had something more to do with it other than being angry with each other.

Was there one moment you remember where you said, 'OK, we're over this?'

Yes. We got on the same boat to go to Europe -- the Queen Elizabeth. I sent a note to her and she sent a note to me in passing, and then we had dinner together. She was married to Richard Burton by then. I had been remarried at that point. And we just said, 'let's call it a day.' And we got smashed. And we had a great evening, and stayed friends since then.

So what did you learn from all of this?

I don't marry well. I make very bad choices!

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