WHEN SHE GLIDES DOWN THE AISLE on Oct. 6, Elizabeth Taylor is certain to satisfy the bride’s golden rule: something old (her seven-times-used wedding smile), something new (a yellow Valentino dress), something borrowed (the arm of best friend Michael Jackson). And something blue? Well, that would be the decidedly blue collar of the groom, former construction worker Larry Fortensky, 39, the first Mr. Liz to lack fame—or a fortune—of his own.
Hollywood royalty may shiver when their queen exchanges vows with her commoner beau at Jackson’s estate near Santa Barbara, Calif., but the newly engaged Taylor, 59, claims she couldn’t care less. “No boy is poor,” she says, “if he’s rich at heart.”
Indeed, it appears that the divorced ex-trucker has been steadfastly devoted to Taylor since they met at the Betty Ford Center in 1988, where both were battling drug dependencies. Fortensky comforted her when her mother, Sara, nearly died of bleeding ulcers later that year, and buoyed Liz’s spirits as she recovered from her own near-fatal bout with pneumonia last year. Now Liz has been sitting with him at the Modesto, Calif., hospital bedside of his cancer-stricken mother, Dorothy Lacy, who is in a coma.
While Liz watchers rushed last week to rent vacant homes strategically located near the 2,900-acre Jackson spread, wedding details began to leak. Gianni Versace is already designing Fortensky’s wedding tux as well as a multicolored suit Taylor will change into for the reception. There was no immediate word on what sort of bauble Fortensky might have offered his betrothed.
The biggest question, though, may be whether Taylor will actually make it to “I do.” Since her 1982 divorce from Sen. John Warner, Taylor has broken off two engagements—from Mexican attorney Victor Luna in 1984 and from businessman Dennis Stein in 1985. Recently, however, Taylor “was a very lonely woman,” says one of her close friends. “Fortensky has filled the void.”
La Liz professes no doubt that eight times is the charm. “With God’s blessings,” she said in a statement, “this is it, forever.”
Or at least, for now.