March 07, 1994 12:00 PM


The public found Princess Diana delightful even when she merely smiled and waved. But in the end, it was the glum, esoteric Prince of Wales, gardening enthusiast and stern critic of modern architecture, who proved the more passionate—if not more poetic—of the pair. The prince’s longtime liaison with Camilla Parker Bowles, the middle-aged, to-the-manor-born wife of a brigadier, became an out-and-out sensation when Fleet Street got hold of a taped phone conversation, allegedly between the two old pals. The erotically charged yet oddly sappy nighty-night exchange included such choice repartee as “I need you all the week, all the time” and “Oh, God, I’ll just live inside your trousers or something. It would be much easier!” Strangely enough, that last line was attributed to Charles.


When they exchanged aluminum foil bands for their sudden Vegas ceremony in ’91, Richard Gere and Cindy Crawford seemed preposterously, magnificently matched in their physical grace. But to hear Crawford tell it, the duo were less awestruck by their coupling than the public was. “People always want to know if it was love at first sight,” she has said. “I always say that it was interest at first sight.”


Easygoing, classically handsome and a real head turner when photographed shirtless (see page 34), John F. Kennedy Jr. emerged as possibly the most eligible bachelor of the past 500 years. He was linked with such disparate beauties as Sarah Jessica Parker and Madonna. But what woman would finally join him in Camelot II? Who would earn the approval of the formidable Jackie Onassis? Actress Daryl Hannah came close, very close….


Burt Reynolds and Loni Anderson were the picture-perfect, if stiff-haired, American couple. Then Burt abruptly announced their breakup, triggering one of the nastiest public divorces ever. He said: “I caught her cheating on me.” She said: “I had no inkling there was a problem in our marriage.” Then their allies chimed in. Someone claimed Loni cooked for Burt “only 9 or 11 times.” Yeouch. The fur didn’t just fly. It burst into flames.


Mad about each other, and not afraid to drive everyone else crazy either, Alec Baldwin and Kim Basinger fell in love, then started misbehaving, in 1990 on the set of The Marrying Man. They continued to tango while their careers slowed to a waltz: He got bumped from Patriot Games. She was wiped out when she lost a $7.4 million breach-of-contract suit. But, through it all, said one producer who worked with the couple, “he was her rock.” They wed in August 1993.


Donald Trump sat exultant atop a great mound of money and real estate in the ’80s. Next to him was his queen, Ivana, a former ski champ from Czechoslovakia. But his business deals eventually deflated—as did his marriage—after he met aspiring actress Maria Maples in 1987. The Trumps divorced in 1990. Last year, Maria and Donald had a baby and a wedding. Cushioned by a $25 million divorce package, Ivana took up dating and writing pulpy novels.


In 1985, Joan Collins embarked on her fourth marriage, to onetime Swedish pop singer Peter Holm. Thirteen months later they were in divorce court, where Holm’s mistress, Romina Danielson, testified that Holm had nicknamed her Passion Flower. Collins forswore any more marriages: “I don’t need a husband. I need a wife.”


An important lesson of the past 20 years: Don’t underestimate a man because his name doesn’t fit comfortably on a marquee, his English is weighed down by an Austrian accent and his body looks like a Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon. Having become a top box office star, Arnold Schwarzenegger picked NBC newscaster Maria Shriver, a member of American royalty, to be his bride in 1986. As he told the wedding guests, “I love her and I will always take care of her. Nobody should worry.”


California governor Jerry Brown and pop star Linda Ronstadt, neither of whom has ever wed, were linked when she performed at Democratic fund-raisers in the ’70s. She noted, “It is not fair for them to vote for Jerry Brown because they like the way I sing ‘When Will I Be Loved.’ ”


Such an enchantingly clean-cut, photogenic, powerful couple! Tom Cruise and his second wife, Nicole Kidman, whom he wed in 1990, looked as if they belonged, together with their adopted baby, Isabella, on the front of a brochure from the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce. Nicole said it all in 1992: “Officially, we will be on our honeymoon the rest of our lives.”


And love is a tennis court strewn with land mines, as Martina Navratilova learned when her romance with Judy Nelson, a former beauty queen and housewife, soured in 1991. Their “galimony” suit was settled in 1992. Navratilova steeled herself for Wimbledon: “I told myself I could either be in court or on court.”


Almost from the day they married in 1981, TV star Valerie Bertinelli and rock guitarist Eddie Van Halen were rumored to be on the verge of splitting up. (Further rumor held that her Catholic aversion to divorce kept them together.) You have to wonder whether this would have been the case if Eddie, once a hard partyer, had been nice and quiet, like Andres Segovia. More than 10 years later, though, they were still a twosome and the proud parents of Wolfgang (as in Mozart). “Every six months, some tabloid comes out and says we’re breaking up,” Bertinelli has said. “It’s ridiculous.” So far, the only breakup has been between Eddie and onetime Van Halen lead singer David Lee Roth, in 1985.


Basic Instinct star Sharon Stone and country singer Dwight Yoakam were a sizzling couple for a month in 1992. Then she gave new meaning to the expression “stone cold,” revealing, “Honey, a dirt sandwich is better than Dwight Yoakam.” He said, “I think that the gross sensationalism generated by our four-week relationship is a tragic commentary on society’s infatuation with any form of celebrity.” We’ll take that dirt sandwich.


Since they each dated nearly everyone on Earth, it was only a matter of time until Madonna and Warren Beatty hooked up with each other. They were a couple during the filming of 1990’s Dick-Tracy, in which they both starred—not to mention during the filming of Madonna‘s 1991 documentary Truth or Dare. The next year, Warren married ladylike Annette Bening. Madonna remained wed to the media.


Valiant Liz! Romantic Liz! Indefatigable Liz! After marriages to hotel heir Nicky Hilton, film producer Mike Todd, romantic crooner Eddie Fisher, British actors Michael Wilding and Richard Burton (twice) and U.S. senator John Warner, Elizabeth Taylor, at 59, tied the knot in 1991 with 39-year-old construction worker Larry Fortensky. “You wouldn’t think they could converse on the same level, but they do,” his Aunt Helen said of the alliance of violet eyes and blue collar. “They’re like two peas in a pod.”


Two days short of their planned 1991 wedding, megastar Julia Roberts called the whole thing off, reportedly because the groom, Kiefer Sutherland, had been spending too much time with a go-go dancer named Raven. The bride, for her part, had been spotted with Jason Patric. “Julia is very much Miss Tinkerbell romantic,” said a friend of Kiefer’s. “One minute she’s in love with this guy, the next in love with another.” In 1993, Roberts married country-pop star Lyle Lovett.


Ronald Reagan came into office rattling sabers against the Evil Empire, but after he left, the Cold War was almost kaput—and love reigned. At least in his life, which was controlled—down to astrological charts guiding his meeting schedule—by his fiercely devoted Nancy. As the President wrote, “If you’ve seen a picture of a bear rearing up on its hind legs when its mate or one of its cubs is in danger, you have a pretty good idea of how Nancy responds to someone whom she thinks is trying to hurt or betray one of hers.”


As the ’90s got under way, some people began waiting for the millennium. Others were waiting for talk show host Oprah Winfrey to marry Stedman Graham, who proposed in 1992. She said, “All the shows I’ve done on marriage give me more cause to examine it.” Meanwhile, you looked at your husband, and he’d lost the last of his hair. Oh, no, it was the millennium!


Roseanne Barr was a handful to begin with. But then in 1990 the fearsome TV sitcom star married Tom Arnold, a former standup comic. Suddenly, no one was safe. Think of twin Godzillas in love. She started by faxing vicious letters to critics. Then, in tandem, they left obscene notes on other stars’ windshields. They thundered at network executives. They flummoxed everyone by announcing their engagement to Tom’s pretty young production assistant, Kim Silva. And, when all was said and done, they seemed to be having more fun than just about anyone else. “Tom doesn’t give a——, I don’t give a——,” she once explained, before adding, “But Tom really doesn’t give a——.”


Miss Piggy, the bossiest, most glamorous pig in show business, fell for humble Kermit the Frog when they met on The Muppet Show in 1976. She was a vision in white when they wed in 1984’s The Muppets Take Manhattan. Asked what other great screen couples they would compare themselves to, Piggy answered, “Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers.” Kermit: “Roy Rogers and Trigger.”

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