x Abu Dhabi, UAE Friday 21 July 2017

Ninth time lucky for Elizabeth Taylor?

Is the ageing and ailing Dame Elizabeth Taylor set to tie the knot for the ninth occasion?

It is the longest time the violet-eyed screen legend has gone without a husband, but 14 years after Dame Elizabeth Taylor separated from her seventh husband (but eighth marriage - Richard Burton famously did the honours twice), Hollywood is buzzing with speculation that she may, wheelchair-bound at the less than dewy age of 78, be about to take the plunge again. According to the website of US Weekly, which quoted a "source close to the actress", Dame Elizabeth recently got engaged to the 49-year-old talent manager Jason Winters, with whom she has been linked since 2007.

The actress, who was born in London to American parents in 1932, started acting at the age of nine. She became a household name at 12, when she starred in National Velvet, and went on to win two Best Actress Oscars for her roles in Butterfield 8 (1960) and Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf (1966). Most famously, though, she played the lead in the 1963 film Cleopatra. It was on the set of that lavish epic that she met Burton, who played Marc Anthony, and who was later said to be the love of her life.

By the time she married him in 1964, Taylor had already been married four times - to Conrad Hilton, Michael Wilding, Mike Todd and Eddie Fisher. Two marriages to Burton, as well as ones to John Warner and Larry Fortensky, whom she divorced in 1996, followed. Recent years have seen her plagued by ill-health and confined to a wheelchair in public because of scoliosis. Should this latest marriage materialise, it will equal Zsa Zsa Gabor's staggering tally: she married her ninth husband, Frederic Prinz von Anhalt, in 1986 at the relatively spritly age of 69.