Hollywood movie icons Elizabeth Taylor and Debbie Reynolds will fondly be remembered for their famous films.
But perhaps more fascinating is their bitter personal celebrity feud which boiled over outside of the film studio after Taylor fell in love with Reynolds’ husband.
Taylor’s fantastic turn as Cleopatra won her many admirers, while Reynolds’ heart-warming performance in Singin’ In The Rain firmly established the duo’s rightful places in Hollywood folklore.
However, what started out as a fun sisterhood friendship quickly spiralled into a dark web of disappointment and betrayal.
Reynolds was married to singer Eddie Fisher, while Taylor was married to American film producer Mike Todd.
But when Todd was tragically killed in a plane crash, Taylor was comforted by Fisher.
A secret romance blossomed and in turn the love triangle rocked the movie business.
It wasn’t until Reynolds rang Taylor’s hotel room one day and Fisher answered the phone that she discovered the affair was real and not rumour.
“Suddenly, a lot of things clicked into place,” revealed Reynolds to the Daily Mail in 2010.
“I could hear her voice asking him who was calling – they were obviously in bed together.
“I yelled at him, ‘Roll over, darling and let me speak to Elizabeth.'”
Fisher left Reynolds for Taylor just a month after the death of Todd and she recalled: “I was the last to find out about the affair. There had been hints in the papers and I had noticed that when I turned up at functions or parties on my own my friends were whispering.
“Although I didn’t want to find out the truth, I had to face up to it. Even so, it was a great shock to find them together. It left me shattered.”
To make matters even more complicated, Reynolds and Fisher had two children, Carrie and Todd.
Daughter Carrie famously went on to earn worldwide recognition as Princess Leia in the Star Wars films.
And ironically it was Carrie’s film These Old Broads that saw the Hollywood icons reunited for their last ever TV performance before Taylor died a month after the programme being broadcast in March 2011, aged 79.
The film, which also cast Shirley MacLaine and Joan Collins, included a plot line that very much mirrored the real-life events experienced by her mother.
Taylor stole Reynold’s ex-husband but the women were able to remain friends.
Speaking candidly in a HBO special Wishful Drinking, Fisher didn’t hold back regaling her father’s sordid affair.
“Naturally, my father flew to Elizabeth’s side, gradually making his way to her front,” said Fisher.
“He first dried her eyes with a handkerchief, then he consoled her with flowers, and he ultimately consoled her with his penis.”
Fisher sarcastically added: “Now this made marriage to my mother awkward, so he was gone within the week!”
However, after a chance meeting on the trans-Atlantic cruise ship Queen Elizabeth in 1996 Taylor and Reynolds, who had both remarried, reformed their friendship.
Reynolds revealed to People magazine in 1983: “I never felt bitter about Elizabeth.
“A man doesn’t leave another woman unless he wants to go.
“You know, when Mike Todd died, I sent Eddie to help Elizabeth.
“I don’t think she really loved Eddie. He was an interim during her mourning period.”
Taylor was famously married seven times, most notably with fellow actor and frequent co-star Richard Burton, the couple coined ‘Liz and Dick’.
Amazingly the scandal and Taylor’s infidelity only served to make them bigger draws at the box office.
And during the final years of their lives the pair’s friendship grew event stronger.
When Taylor died in 2011 she bequeathed Reynolds a pair of “spectacular” sapphire earrings and a matching bracelet and necklace.
Reynolds passed away in 2016, a day after the death of her and Fisher’s daughter, Carrie.