Kirk Douglas’s wife, Anne: ‘I understood it was unrealistic to expect total fidelity’

I have a confession to make. Sometimes I check to see if older celebrities are still alive. I know I would have heard about it if a beloved celebrity in their 90s had passed, but I still google Betty White and especially Kirk Douglas to see how they’re doing. Kirk is 100 years old! His wife, Anne, is 98. They’ve been married since 1954(!) and have just written a book together, which is incredible when you think about it. People Magazine has details from their book, which just came out this week and is called Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter and a Lifetime in Hollywood. People reminds us that Kirk has spoken about his affairs in the past. He and Anne get into more detail about that in the book and it sounds rather juicy. She decided to ignore his dalliances and she’ll tell you about it. Here’s some of People’s report:

“Kirk never tried to hide his dalliances from me,” Anne Douglas, 98, writes in Kirk and Anne: Letters of Love, Laughter and a Lifetime in Hollywood, a new book out Tuesday that reveals intimate letters between the longtime couple. “As a European, I understood it was unrealistic to expect total fidelity in a marriage.”

“This self-possessed beauty was very different from the women I had been involved with in Hollywood since Diana [his ex-wife] left me,” writes Kirk.

He and Anne met in Paris in the early 1950s while he was there for a film and she was helping with press. When he first asked her on a date, she refused him.

“The fact that I didn’t impress her certainly impressed me,” Kirk once wrote in an article about his long-lasting marriage, “and I was determined to win her over…”

Kirk eventually broke off the engagement to Angeli, and Kirk and Anne wed in May 1954 after she threatened to leave him. The actor recalls seeing Anne packing her bags and realizing he would be “lost without her.” (The pair went on to have two sons together, Eric and Peter, who joined Kirk’s two sons from his previous marriage — Joel and Oscar-winning actor Michael Douglas.)

“Kirk secured my permission before including stories of his trysts in his 1988 autobiography, The Ragman’s Son. I’m positive his candor helped him make the book a major bestseller,” Anne writes in the new book.

[From People]

Whatever works for the couple I guess, and things have changed so much in the last 60 years of course. I know couples that do the polyamory thing and that works for them but I personally will kick someone to the curb if they cheat and I could not get involved with someone in an open relationship. Sneaking around and seeing someone else and sharing intimacies with them is cheating to me too. If you’re with someone, if you’re married to them especially, they should be committed to you emotionally and physically, but I’m just old fashioned like that. That’s my expectation and not all people feel that way obviously. Also Kirk Douglas was such hot sh-t in the 60s and 70s especially. If Anne didn’t accept his infidelity he might have just replaced her with a woman who would and she knew that was part of the deal.


Photos credit: WENN and Getty

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151 Responses to “Kirk Douglas’s wife, Anne: ‘I understood it was unrealistic to expect total fidelity’”

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  1. Lindy79 says:

    I know I’m not mainland Europe but I hate that “Oh I’m European so it’s natural to cheat” line.
    Bull, if it’s ok between you then fair enough but call it what it was, you were ok with it because he gave you no choice probably and would have left you otherwise.

    The kids faces in that last pic is amazing lol

    • QueenB says:

      exactly. “As a European”? No european would say that because Europe is a continent with very different cultures. Its also not true that all french have open relationships. Thats a very american view on europe that she has which is really ironic.

      • ell says:


      • Kata says:

        I sometimes feel like Americans seem to think Europe is one country.

      • slowsnow says:

        I LOVE the European thing. What does that even mean?! What a sad excuse for accepting infidelity.
        All over the world women have been very forgiving of infidelity because
        a) they stray too
        b) they are not financially independent (the most common one)
        c) they are really really in love with their partners.
        I would respect the hell out of her if she said that it was not a big deal for her and that’s it. Each couple has their own boundaries and it has to be discussed or agreed within the couple. Each couple is different.

      • Wurstbonbon says:

        I second that.

      • bleu_moon says:

        @Kate- Yes, many do or believe they are now nearly one country due to the EU. As much as the Trumpkins rail against the EU and are now pro-Le Pen, I think a lot of them would struggle to find France on an unlabeled map. I had a convo with another mom who was very pro- Geert Wilders, but she couldn’t remember if he was from Denmark or the Netherlands and didn’t think it mattered.

      • Kiki says:

        @Kata: “Americans” also say “America” without thinking it refers to a continent. They use it to refer to the US and that’s quite disrespectful to the other countries.

      • Baby Jane says:

        Literally NO American said that. Anne Douglas did, about herself, “as a European,” which she is. Sorry, this time it’s NOT an American ignorance issue.

      • Susan says:

        Kiki, Americans are allowed to name their own country and nationality any way they like and it’s really no one else’s place to say whether they can or not. It doesn’t matter that the continents are North and South America (not America btw). The name of the country is United States of America, America for short in common speech. No one rags on Mexico for being referred to as Mexico even though its official name (in English) is United States of Mexico. Likewise countries worldwide drop “Republic of” or “Federation of” routinely in everyday speech. And Canadians and Mexicans refer to themselves as *North* Americans so there really is no confusion so that’s a pointless argument.

        The rampant anti-Americanism among some commenters on this site is astounding.

      • MamaHoneyBadger says:

        Thank you, Susan, for setting the record straight.

      • JackieJormpJomp says:

        @kiki: I am so confused by your assertion that using “America” to refer to he US is disrespectful.
        Take it from a Canadian–that is the ONLY way we use that word.

        Like, literally no one is offended by this, so save your concern.

      • Kiki says:

        Jackie or whatever : probably because I read other languages besides English. How dare you assert your opinion is more important than mine or anyone else’s.

      • senna says:

        I spent two years living in the Netherlands, and have friends from all over Europe I met there. Guess who, amongst my friends, is in an open relationship? My Canadian friends! I found I shared pretty similar mores regarding sexuality to most Europeans I was close enough with to discuss such matters; of course, I probably made friends who were similar to me in other ways and this is one other thing we had in common.

        There’s a great Swedish film on the personal anxiety aroused by open relationships – it’s called Force Majeure, and Game of Thrones’ Tormund is in it (And he’s excellent!)

      • Lahdidahbaby says:

        Yeah I’m with you Slowsnow. Americans can be pretty provincial in their views of Europe, as if it were a monolith rather than the distinct countries and cultures that actually reside within it.

        Gotta say, that pic of her on his lap–omg, they were both SO hot. Maybe she took lovers too.

        I feel as CB does on this subject though, because why the hell get married if you’re going to be involved in that way with other people, sharing intimacies and investing that extracurricular relationship with your vital energies and attention?

      • Nic919 says:

        Canadians are normally fine with calling Americans by that term because united Statesian sounds weird, but in Spanish using American to solely refer to the United States is more controversial and ignores the continent of South America.

        As for Anne Douglas and her European generalization, well she has lived in the US for way to long to realize that Europe isn’t a monolithic culture. It also shows low self esteem on her end. She wanted a Hollywood star and was prepared to accept that. How come she didn’t have her own affairs? Would Kirk be ok with that? I suspect not.

      • Crumpet says:

        Susan – bravo.

      • Anna says:

        Thank you, @Nic919 My experience has also been that Latin America–in particular, Mexico–there is a problem with the blanket term “America” to denote the U.S.

    • Lalu says:

      I always felt that the people that tried to use that “European” line believed it made the sad reality of their relationship sound more sophisticated or evolved. Everyone has to do their own thing but I just can’t romanticize infidelity. I am not going to sit at home raising the kids while my husband bangs whoever just so he can have his cake and eat it too. I don’t know if I should admire his wife or feel bad for her.

      • Redgrl says:

        Lalu – well said!

      • Kitten says:

        Right, Lalu. I would imagine that passing infidelity off as “European” is also comforting for her as it implies she’s not the only who sanctions cheating like, “oh a LOT of women allow this, not just me.”

        I mean, as you said, people need to make their own choices but no, nuh-uh, not for me.

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        I don’t know if I feel bad for her, because she stayed with him for over 60 years. To me it’s a matter of whether or not she would have been just as free to have affairs too if she wanted them and whether or not her husband sleeping with other women was really a boundary for her. If it was like that, then to each his/her own.

    • trillian says:

      I am mainland European, Germany, and I don’t think cheating is “natural” nor do I know anyone who does.

    • littlemissnaughty says:

      I mean she has to tell herself something, right? I only ever call myself European when I talk politics. Not when someone cheated on me.

      I wonder if he thought he had to accept her infidelity.

      • NtSoSclBtrfly says:

        I wondered about *her* fidelity, also. What’s good for the gander (in this case) is good for the goose, too, n’est-ce pas?

    • carol says:

      I don’t get it either – you either decide to put the effort into being monogamous, or DECIDE together to have an open relationship if you feel that this is right for you.

      Just putting up with yoru husbands cheating is …. toxic and sad – if she feels that ‘cheating is just what men do – I’m not happy about it but I accept it’ – well that;s an example of toxic sexism or patriarchy because their ‘open relationship’ isnt equal and negotiated on equal, fair terms – there’s a power imbalance there and the man has the leverage, particularly if HE expected fidelity from HER but would not give her fidelity in return.

      To pretend that their relationship was modern and ahead of it’s time is just not accurate and actually an insult to the poly people I know who put a HUGE amount of effort into having a healthy, open relationship where everyone communicates and they dont get hurt. Poly people or people in successful open relationships really respect each other and put effort into communication an not hurting the other one. I feel that this is WAY different than if your monogamous partner cheated on you because when that happens, they did not care that they could hurt you, and they are breaking the terms of the relationship.

      • littlemissnaughty says:

        I honestly don’t think we can judge this from today’s perspective, these people are … well there’s no delicate way to say this … old as f*ck. But it is pretty insulting that they’re trying to sell this to us as somehow especially evolved. Or “European”. You can just admit that this was a 1950′s Hollywood marriage but don’t try to polish this turd.

      • third ginger says:

        I also agree that it is not the profession or the nationality; it is the era in which there was such an imbalance of power between the genders.

      • Otaku Fairy says:

        Slightly off topic but, if that top photo is a picture of what they look like now, they don’t look bad for their ages. I would have guessed they were a couple in their late or mid 70′s, not a 100-year-old and a 98-year-old.

      • Franklymydear... says:

        @littlemissnaughty…LOVE IT!!! So funny and just what I was thinking.

    • thaliasghost says:

      Yeah, I was like as a fellow European, shut the fuck up Anne! Don’t take an entire continent hostage for your lack of self esteem and willingness to hold on to his money. I can’t think of anything more unattractive than a wife who is ok with being treated this way by her loved on.

      • Pandy says:

        Right? We have come through infidelity in our marriage but it was a lot of hard work (still is sometimes). We have come out stronger in some respects. But let me tell you – I didn’t sign on to that BS. No looking the other way and crying in the toilet once I found out what was happening. She was in it for the security ultimately, if she put up with that nonsense.

    • Kiki says:

      Susan, how can I be anti-American when I’m an American myself? The feeling is not only displayed on this site. And the US is not America. America is 35 other countries.

      • Susan says:

        Kiki, you can be anti-American the same way that women can have internalized misogyny. It’s not a mystery.

    • JackieJormpJomp says:


    • ELX says:

      You make your bed and then you have to lie in it–I just don’t see how the open marriage thing works–work, spouse, kids–there are barely enough hours as it is. But, away for work, nothing better to do, lonesome, that kind of cheating probably happens a lot. Wasn’t it Chris Rock who said, “A man is only as faithful as his options.”

  2. teehee says:

    ….I dont get it though. I am sure he (like all other men) expects total fidelity from her. But if they agree and see it alike, then thats their business. I certainly disagree ;)

    • Mia4s says:

      Yeah that’s the thing isn’t it? Sure whatever works for a couple, but somehow I doubt he was fine with her having dalliances. Double standard and typical toxic patriarchy.

    • AreYouForReal? says:

      Totally. She resigned herself to it, but she wasn’t fine with it. She had no choice, as he was going to do it anyway.

      • Redgrl says:

        Yeah, very tired of the enabling excuses these women make while burying their own low self esteem….

  3. QueenB says:

    If you date an actor or actress and expect fidelity you must be stupid. How can you actually think that you are so special that you are the only one?

    • Lex says:

      I feel sad for you

    • ell says:

      i think this is a bit excessive. like, sure, be aware that cheating does happen (and you don’t even need to be an actor, normal people in normal jobs cheat plenty given the opportunity). but i wouldn’t go as far as calling someone stupid for expecting monogamy in a monogamous relationship.

      • Kata says:

        When the power balance is that off, I think it is somewhat naive. If you’re dating a very famous actor, singer or athlete, there is little chance they’re being faithful.

      • QueenB says:

        Do you really believe if someone dates Brad Pitt or Emma Watson or whatever that they will be soooo in love with them to never stray?
        Actors have so much temptation that yeah you must be either stupid or totally full of yourself if you believe they turn down every hottie for you.
        Those relationships are usually also deeply unequal so the powerful one can do anything anyway.

      • ell says:

        i don’t necessarily disagree with that, i always side eye famous people dating normal people (unless they were together beforehand, than it might be different) because of the power balance problem. but i find the generalisation that all famous people cheat to be just that; a commonplace. i’m sure some can be monogamous. there are tons who had long relationships/marriage and there were no rumours about straying…

      • Elle says:

        @ell Great names think alike :)

      • Kitten says:

        I don’t think it’s so much that they are surrounded by temptation (although that definitely doesn’t help) as it is that actors are often away from their spouse or partner for months at a time. If I go four days without seeing my BF, I feel it. Even though we text every day all day I still feel a weird kind of….distance if we go too long without connecting.

        I don’t think that it should give actors a free pass to cheat but realistically, you have to be VERY secure in your relationship to date an actor, athlete, musician etc.
        Again, not just because they have people in the business as well as fans throwing their selves at them, but just the touring/away games/far away movie sets can be really taxing in terms of creating closeness and intimacy.
        (I would imagine)

      • ell says:

        i’m in a relationships with a musician (albeit he’s not famous, he tours with some famous people), who goes on tour. i’m fine with it because i tend to get claustrophobic in relationships, so this suits me fine, although i’m aware it’s not for everyone.

        i assume he doesn’t cheat on me, and i hope he doesn’t, but i really don’t think that seeing each other every day changes a single thing on this. i’ve had friends who were cheated on by their live in boyfriends who they saw every single day. my dad cheated on my mum and he was home every day. i think if someone wants to cheat on you, they will, no matter where they are or what job they’re in. it’s true that someone who’s away a lot might get more chances to, but i also think people who are sick of a relationship and want something else will actively look for someone else, even if they see their partner everyday.

        i’m also of the opinion that there’s literally nothing i can do about it. relationship can lasts or not lasts, if someone wants to be an asshole i can’t help it.

      • slowsnow says:

        My husband and I travel a lot for work so we’ve had plenty of opportunities to cheat. We also have had plenty opportunities to feel attracted to other people without the other one being around and we also discussed it. However, that made me see that opportunities are everywhere, whether you’re at home or temporarily spouseless. Nothing to do with being away.
        We met when we were fairly young and, at 40, have been together for 21 years. So we discussed all these issues together and are very open about it. We discussed open relationships because when I was younger, I was pretty cynical and thought that no way could a person be faithful or have the right to ask the other one to be faithful. After agreeing that we could do whatever we wanted, we both understood that it wasn’t for us though. Our situation was a case of speculative open relationship that none of us wanted at the end.

      • Kitten says:

        I think you guys misunderstood me. I wasn’t saying that geographic distance automatically leads to infidelity. I was saying that emotional distance (which often goes hand-in-hand with not seeing each other) can often lead to infidelity.

        Sure, I have no doubt that people remain faithful even when their partner travels, but it takes a lot of work and it takes being really attentive and conscious of your partner’s needs. Not everyone is cognizant of that.

        But hey I don’t need people to agree with me. As I said, this is just my opinion but it’s not like I don’t get that people are different.

        My last relationship was one in which we saw each other a couple times a week–sometimes even only once a week–and as such, we never developed that intimacy, that closeness that’s so essential for ME.
        I don’t think he ever cheated on me–in fact, I’m confident he didn’t–but that doesn’t negate the fact that not seeing him as frequently as we needed to in order to develop that level of closeness is what ultimately sank the relationship. I mean, there were other issues but that was the main one.

        He also has problems with intimacy (as diagnosed by his therapist) so there’s that.


      • KiddVicious says:

        I think respect of a spouse/partner goes a long way in fidelity. You can love someone and still cheat, as Kurt did, but if you truly respect them you’re less likely to want to hurt them.

        In that day and age men weren’t taught that women are worthy of respect so cheating was more common.

        ETA: There are so many replies to the original post that I had no idea where this would land. My comments are in general of the whole conversation, I’m not trying to single out anyone in particular.

    • Elle says:

      @QueenB So from your perspective, only special unicorns deserve fidelity? What makes actors and actresses so special that you give their cheating a pass but call their partners stupid for expecting monogamy?

      I believe that every person, however special or ordinary, has intrinsic value. No one who desires and has been promised fidelity is stupid for expecting it. People who treat other people as interchangeable commodities are the stupid ones. That’s on them, not their partners.

      And isn’t the whole point of monogamy turning down other “hotties”? It’s a pretty flimsy fidelity that’s dependent on a dearth of other options.

      • Andrea says:

        But actors spend a lot of time on set away from their partners. Not to mention that sometimes their jobs require them to get intimate with other actors.To me that’s a recipe for infidelity. I don’t think infidelity should be expected, if your an actors, but you shouldn’t be surprised when it happens.

      • Elle says:

        @Andrea – I get what you’re saying, and of course there’s a bigger risk, but that’s not a justification for cheating. It’s not a reason to call someone “stupid” for expecting their partner to keep their promises, or for implying that you have to be “special” to merit fidelity. That’s simply not true. Everyone faces temptation. Everyone makes choices. And if a person chooses to cheat, that’s on them, not their spouse.

        Distance and job requirements are not excuses to cheat, they are risk factors that a couple can talk about honestly and tackle together. Away from your partner for months? Plan to check in at times when you’re most tempted/lonely. Getting intimate is part of your job? If feelings start to develop, be honest with your partner right away and don’t spend alone time with that other person. You deal with this stuff through honesty and personal accountability.

        Of course, all this is assuming a person WANTS to be in a monogamous relationship and sees its value.

      • Bells says:

        Elle: I’m with you 100%.

    • noodle says:

      oh, come on now. just because they are actors that gives them some rights to be a$$h0les? don’t excuse their d!ck behaviour just because they act. they ain’t gods.
      you don’t want to be with me cuz you think you are hot $h!t and others tempt you soo much? then be respectful enough say so. i think it’s time.

    • slowsnow says:

      Wow. What a strange divinisation of actors. Think it like this: they have the same temptations we do on THEIR level, if you find them so goddamn attractive. Lots of people travel for work, or change scenery a lot, not only actors and they are on the same level of attractiveness (if that’s the issue) as actors on their level. I don’t see your point. We are all potentially tempted unless we’re stay-at-home parents and even then… there’s still a lot of ways to cheat.
      I think it’s in the character of human beings to be tempted no matter the situation, but some don’t: think Paul Newman (or is there something about him I don’t know?).

      • Anon says:

        Paul cheated on his first wife with Joanne. He also cheated on Joanne.

      • slowsnow says:

        @Anon, for sure? I honestly thought he was the one non-cheater as per his peers.

      • third ginger says:

        Try Jimmy Stewart. I know he is before everyone’s time.

      • Anon says:

        Well, he definitely left his first wife for Joanne. He had three children with the first wife. They kept them under wraps, but there are also plenty of rumors he cheated on Joanne as well, but none can be proven because he stayed with her forever. Nancy Bacon has come out and said they had an affair. He was also an alcoholic. I do believe he truly loved Joanne very deeply though despite probable cheating.

    • Va Va Kaboom says:

      I mostly agree, perhaps in more measured terms though. In relationships where one or both of the participants are famous its undeniable there seems to be far higher instances of infidelity. So their significant-other can and should demand fidelity if thats important to them, but simply realize the high likelihood exists and be prepared to deal with it.

      I’m not sure stupid is the word I’d use, naive is probably more accurate. Don’t we all want to believe the person we love and are faithful to feel the same about us? Its easy to let yourself believe your love is the exception to the rule.

      • Kitten says:

        Yeah I do think it’s a bit naïve, honestly.

        Let’s face it: at the end of the day, anyone can cheat on anyone. I assume that my BF is faithful but I would never say that infidelity could never happen to me.

  4. detritus says:

    Ah yes, the grandest of romantic stories: man who cheats and wife who puts up with it.

    • Amanduh says:

      “True love” right?!

      • Elle says:

        I dunno guys… can it beat the romance and drama of two people who hate each other getting together to spite their respective exes? That’s a love for the ages!

      • Lexie says:

        That’s a bit simplistic. And CB, being “old-fashioned” to me is exactly what this couple is. Man cheats, wife looks other way, no discussion. To me it’s more modern and honest that people acknowledge they’re attracted to other people and even admit if they’ve strayed, and the couple try to work through it (or not).

        I’m kind of annoyed by all the tsk-tsk’ing on this thread. Research shows that cheating is far more common than we think, to the point that it’s obviously a human impulse, or at least temptation, to have sex with more than one partner. I’m in a faithful, monogomous (ha ha, spellcheck just changed to “monotonous”) relationship and it works for us, but don’t judge or diagnose low self-esteem in other women, ffs. It’s that zero tolerance attitude that makes cheating so taboo and secretive and destructive.

      • Anon says:

        Lexie: totally agree. I also think it’s sexist to assume the woman is a sad human being who is anguished by her husband’s affairs. Quite possibly she isn’t a jealous person and genuinely doesn’t care. Also, many women cheat as well. The last stats I read were 40% of married women admitted to having an affair. Just because fidelity has a deep meaning to you doesn’t mean it’s the same for other people.

      • ell says:

        @ Lexie, thank you. that’s what honesty is to me as well.

      • Amanduh says:

        Nope…I’m going to keep judging complicit people who “look the other way” as their PARTNER IN LIFE has dalliances and doesn’t seeem too concerned that they’re hurting their partner like this lady did. The mental gymnastics that she’s doing to excuse it (she’s European) is sad. Someone on a celebrity gossip website who is sick of the “tsk-tsk’ing” at the gossip being discussed will not dissuade me, lol.
        And it’s not the zero tolerance attitude that makes cheating so bad…in my opinion, it’s the deception. You do you in whatever type of relationship you have…as long as it’s equal and open and *honest*

      • detritus says:

        Relabel it all you want, but this isn’t a woman who wanted her husband to step out. Open relationships are fine, if thats what you sign up for.

        The hallmark of open relationships I know, is that both people want it and communicate. Not ignore and hope it goes away. She put up with it, she even frames it that way.

        Which is fine, you make your relationship choices, but don’t tell me its a grand love story.

      • Elle says:

        I took this as a quip about framing this relationship as a “grand love story” when it fits none of the conventions of the genre.

        To be clear, I agree that cheating is common, committed by people of any gender, and may not bother or be a deal-breaker for some people. I agree it’s best to be honest and realistic in marriage, and it’s no reflection on the “wronged” party if they “put up with” cheating – in fact, I’d argue it takes a strong sense of self to stay in a relationship after infidelity.

        BUT it also seems like you’re conflating cheating and open relationships. A relationship where both parties are ok with extramarital romances can be healthy/loving. That’s very different from a relationship where there’s betrayal/lying/going behind another person’s back – that’s worth tsk tsking whether it’s related to sex or finances or whatever.

        And it’s different yet again from the conventional “grand love story.” Do I think a Disney romance is preferable, realistic or healthy? NO! Would I poke fun if my own relationship was held up as a grand love story? HELL YES – because as much as I think it’s preferable, healthy and honest, it’s not the Notebook and it would be funny to pretend that it was!

      • detritus says:

        Ell, I’m not sure if you are talking to me, but I thought I had been fairly clear, cheating and open relationships are VERY different. I’ll try again, open relationships require communication and agreement from both parties, unlike cheating which is all for the good of one partner.

        I don’t think monogamy is the answer for all couples, and that doesn’t make them less, but that doesn’t seem the case here. He may have been open about his philandering, but that doesn’t mean it was a true open relationship. Her response shows that she thought it was inevitable, everyone did it. Not that hse supported it, or that it made her happy. That doesn’t show this is an equal arrangement, in the sense that his needs were pandered too, and her needs were ignored. I’m tsk tsking that.

        I think it would be hard to find a truly open relationship from this generation though, the power imbalance was too high between men and women.

    • Susan says:

      Right? I mean I’m sure there would be lots of marriages of more than 50+ years of every woman was programmed to look the other way and eat shit her whole life.

      • Dee Kay says:

        LOL. Great comment. The divorce rate spiked with women’s lib and not because women became man-haters but b/c they realized they had a fu**ing choice to go as soon as they realized they were married to a**holes.

    • Elle says:

      There’s an ell and an Elle in the thread – just to be clear, detritus, I was responding to Lexie and Anon, because I think they made a lot of assumptions from a couple of quips. I took what you were saying as a funny observation about how this isn’t exactly a storybook romance, and I was echoing your point that there’s a big dif between an open relationship and cheating!

      • detritus says:

        Oh f8ck me, thats where I got all confused, I was conflating Elle and ell. Thanks for clarifying Elle, and sorry if I came off as snarky. I legit was asking, not in a ‘you talking to ME?!?’ kind of way, and very confused.

        This makes WAY more sense, and I agree with you, a lot of these people seem to conflate cheating with ‘open’.

      • Lexie says:

        I’m clear on the difference between an open relationship and cheating. If these two had an open relationship we wouldn’t be having this discussion. I’m talking about infidelity in a monogomous relationship. To pretend it can’t or doesn’t or didn’t happen, to not acknowledge that it actually happens quite a bit and perhaps even in your relationship, shuts down and simplifies communication about what is actually a complex reality. But like one of you said, you do you. You and your partner set your rules. Just don’t pretend it doesn’t get messy sometimes.

  5. Jessica says:

    I guess if it works but wow. I told my husband that if he cheats, I walk. He’s told me the same. It’s a good thing that we are lazy and enjoying yelling comments at the news with our cats.

    • Melissa says:

      Your post is amazing, it made my day.

    • Neverwintersand says:

      Jessica, are you me? I have this exact dynamic in my relationship with my husband :) ))

    • Redgrl says:

      Jessica – you won the internet with that comment! That’s hubby and me too!

    • Beth says:

      +100 I’ve had this conversation with every bf I ever had. I wouldn’t just walk, I’d run.

    • third ginger says:

      My husband has too much “chill” to yell, but other than that, Jessica’s post is us. Married 35 years. Thanks.

    • Sixer says:

      Mr Sixer and I sit on the sofa and argue about who has the best taste in internet boyfriends/girlfriends!

      “Me internet marrying Stormzy is WAY more impressive than you internet marrying Lagatha from Vikings.”

      “Dream on woman, dream on. Lagatha wins hands down.”

      • detritus says:

        My partner would argue that internet marrying Lagatha is the winningest of all winnings.
        Travis Fimmel and I disagree.

      • third ginger says:

        Mr. Tg and I find that many of our crushes are now dead!! We’re 64.

      • Sixer says:

        Mr Sixer has it SO bad for Lagatha. Is funny.

        Ginger – I don’t think it matters. I don’t think any of these famous types are actually real or anything weird like that. They only exist in the ether and on our tellyboxes. Living or dead has no impact on internet relationships.

      • third ginger says:

        Thank you, Sixer. I can continue my affair with James Mason. Ingrid Bergman for my hubby!

      • Nikki says:

        I’m a straight woman, but I’d marry Lagatha from the Vikings.

    • Giddy says:

      Jessica, you just described my marriage, except we yell at the news and scare our dog. Honestly, when he hears a certain tone of voice he leaves the room. I call it the Trump effect.

  6. Daisy says:

    Did she get to have side pieces too? I doubt it.

    This is quite sad, but probably true for a lot of couples where one party is much more famous/rich/powerful so it’s refreshing to hear it being put so bluntly and refreshingly.

  7. Alix says:

    Longevity does not a love story make; chronic adultery makes this story pretty sad.

  8. Yeahright says:

    Le sigh.
    This is why I’m reconsidering marriage.
    If men have zero incentive to be faithful to their wives, why get married?
    Just stay single ffs.
    I’ve always been faithful in my relationships so why is it lunacy to expect the same.
    He is utter trash, and I still believe he raped Natalie Wood.

    • HadToChangeMyName says:

      This is old-school thinking. The new school of marriage DOES believe in fidelity. Just saying.

      • Yeahright says:

        Really? I’m in my thirties and most of my friends have been through infidelity in their marriages or are divorced because of it.

      • HadToChangeMyName says:

        “…are divorced because of it” is key. :-) Most people nowadays will not tolerate it. I told my husband upfront that cheating was one of two deal-breakers (the other is domestic violence, as I’d seen it a lot in relationships around me). I think if you’re clear upfront, it’s better all around. Don’t assume that someone knows that.

      • Kitten says:

        This has been my experience as well. I’m 38 and most of my friends who are married with kids waited till their late twenties/early thirties and sometimes LATE thirties to get married.

        Because so many of them were a product of divorce (often due to infidelity), they tend to take marriage and fidelity far more seriously than the Baby Boomer generation. Not a knock on Baby Boomers as my Baby Boomer parents have been married for almost 50 years, just my observation.

      • Beth says:

        I’m 39 and most of my friends are divorced because of cheating. I haven’t married because seeing this happen so much seems like a heart breaking waste of time. If my guy ever cheated, I wouldn’t stick around. I’ve always been faithful, if he wants to be with someone else, i deserve to know. Fidelity is very serious and important to me.
        My parents have been married 40 years. Neither actually do much or go anywhere anymore. Boring couple

    • Borgqueen says:

      Thank you. I logged on to say how about his many rapes of women? Did that bother her? I know of the Natalie Wood story and another one.

      • Larissa says:

        Thank you!

        My first thought was if she was ok what Kirk did to Natalie.

        So Kirk did that to someone else as well, new info for me

      • Flaming Oh says:

        Given the current attempts to revise rape to a preexisting condition by Ryan and the GOP it seems extra disturbing to describe Douglas” alleged rapes including Natalie Wood as dalliances and affairs.

      • oh dear says:

        Natalie Wood was 15 when the alleged assault happened in 1954. Hardly a woman. But I don’t think he did it. Here’s a picture of them shaking hands in the late 50s:

        A blind item concerning a sex crime is terrible for the person being guessed if they didn’t do it. When this first came out more than 15 years ago, her sister said the rapist was still alive and she’d out him once he died. Which makes no sense to me. The claim would have more credibility if made when the culprit is alive. And if other people can corroborate it (friends Natalie told) then there is very little chance of a libel suit. Besides, the same book that broke this story also claims Wood was essentially murdered by her husband. He’s never taken any legal action against the author Suzanne Finstad, who happens to be a former lawyer.

        There is no question that whatever happened damaged her emotionally. She was a very promiscuous teenager, and this was in the ultra conservative 1950s. A lot of the men she dated during those years were old enough to be her father, gay, or both. She was mixed up. It’s on record that she overdosed on sleeping pills twice in the 60s, probable suicide attempts. The weekend she drowned she had been drinking round the clock and was high on painkillers. Her life was a tragedy, not just her death.

      • Nikki says:

        I am so glad someone mentioned his alleged rapes. He has always had an undercurrent of cruelty to me that I couldn’t shake, and when I learned of his actions, I thought “Bingo!” to my gut reaction. Hearing how he cheated multiple times on his wife, but she was expected to tolerate his behavior, doesn’t surprise me.

  9. ell says:

    tbf, we don’t know whether she had partners on the side as well, people are assuming she didn’t but it’s never stated as far as i can tell?

    idk, i’m for the whatever works school of thought, as long as it’s not harming their children you do you. i don’t think i could do it personally, but then again i’m still relatively young and in a relatively new relationship. maybe if i were with someone for 20+ years i’d look at it differently, but i’m talking open relationship in which you’re honest about it, not affairs.

    • WhichWitch says:

      Yeah exactly. I mean…. who am I to judge someone else’s relationship? Also, I don’t think physical cheating is that serious… if I’m 100% secure in my relationship, that I come first and that our (hypothetical) family is his priority, the fact that he had sex with someone else matters less. (Obviously not as a regular thing)
      I find emotional involvement much worse, as it usually entails running off and prioritising someone else.
      Just my opinion.

  10. Snowflake says:

    It’s always the men who have the open relationship while the women stay at home and knit. B.S. in my opinion. I hope some of these women in these situations have affairs too.

    • slowsnow says:

      Oh they do, I’m certain.

    • gatinha says:

      I’m a woman in an open marriage and we both see other people. Unfair generalization!

    • Dolkite says:

      Yeah, it’s not like women ever cheat on their husbands. They’re always the righteous ones, nobly holding the family together, right?

    • Andrea says:

      I know a stay at home mom that cheated with the gardener. Couple was in their late thirties with 2 kids. Wife started working out a lot and felt lonely and well… But i will say they managed to work it out and are still married. So it can happen…infidelity is always a possibility.

  11. Lucy says:

    Maybe he’s not the biological father of those kids. #quietrevenge

  12. Ladiabla says:

    Was she okay with him (allegedly) raping Natalie Wood too? I really want to know if that story is true, though I”m sure we’ll never know.

    • Neelyo says:

      That was the first thing I thought about too. It’s an awful story, but with all of the other cover ups going on in Hollywood I would not be surprised if it was true.

      I can’t remember the details except it happened around the mid-50s and the director Nicholas Ray was somehow involved.

    • Anna says:

      Sorry to say I think of this any time I see anything about him. I’ve heard this multiple times over the years, if anyone who’s reading this doesn’t know what we’re talking about.. google it.

    • The dormouse says:

      CDAN implied the facts would come out once he was gone. This may be pre-emptive damage control.

    • peridot says:

      The way Anne has been turning a blind eye to KD’s long history of unfaithfulness, could well lend some credibility to the rumour of Natalie Wood’s rape. I find the idea to regard long lasting Hollywood marriages as synonymous to matrimonial success stories, to be rose-tinted views, as it often overlook the skewed balance of power between the artist & his wife. Anne’s & KD’s marriage is no exception to the rule, it seems.

  13. HadToChangeMyName says:

    I was going to say I’m so happy it’s not the 50′s and 60′s anymore, but it certainly looks like we’re headed back that way…

  14. Maum says:

    Those wives who know about their husband’s infidelities and put up with it also bring up the ‘I knew it was me he really loved because he always came back to me’.

    Of course he did- you raised his kids and sorted out his life without complaint. Much easier to keep the wife as the unpaid PA with bonus of sex and unconditional love than to dump her.

    • slowsnow says:

      Oh my god yes. I have seen that with senior visual artists. The wife progressively became their book-keeper, their assistant, cleaner, etc. And, in exchange, they call them their “muse”. I have always found it repulsive and it sometimes affects the way I look at their work.
      If you’re in an open-relationship, or if the wife doesn’t care about affairs and knows about them and accepts them, fine. Whatever rocks your boat.
      Otherwise it’s just the same old patriachic behaviour.

    • Elisa the I. says:

      You need to see Tamara Drewe – hilarious film where one couple has exactly this dynamic. It does not end well for him! ;)

  15. Siobhan says:

    yes, that “European” tag that seems to forgive all kinds of behaviour… As an Irish European – Hell no!!! I’d kick his ass all the way to the end of the rainbow and back!! Top of the morning to ya sir!

    • Amanduh says:

      This made me laugh…is it weird that I read that last line with an Irish accent?! 🍀

      • slowsnow says:

        Oh my, me too! I even visualised a long haired brunette with glasses for some reason, typing away. *sorry, my imagination runs wild these days*

      • Siobhan says:

        Ha ha, I typed it with an irish accent!! l

        Close Slowsnow – long haired blonde with glasses!!

    • Dolkite says:

      You mean that, being Irish, you aren’t allowed to be drunk all the time and blow it off with “Hey, I’m Irish, what do you expect?” LOL

      I think the whole “it’s a European thing” is just used with Americans because Americans usually view Europeans (at least Western Europeans) as cultured and sophisticated while Americans are fat hot dog-gobbling slobs who are too dumb and Puritanical to enjoy sex.

  16. HK9 says:

    I guess that it was their bargain he was faithful to rather than her. He would remain married to her if she didn’t make a big deal out of his cheating. When I say remaining married meaning he would try to be fairly ‘discreet’ and she would always come ‘first’ and never have to worry about $$.

    I’m also guessing she stayed because there were many parts of their relationship that was good because something other than money/fame/lifestyle had to be holding her there. I know a few ladies who are over 85 years old and no matter the personality type-they don’t play. While I couldn’t do it, to each their own.

  17. Hana says:

    I think most actors/well known people have open relationships of some kind. See Jeremy Irons and Sinead Cusack for example.

  18. Honey says:

    Nowadays, for some women living in some societal and religious cultures, I think it simply comes down to mindset and what you want and what you are willing to put up with which makes it much easier to walk away or to have break-it points in relationships. But even with those choices the seduction of wealth and fame and a certain lifestyle or hoped for lifestyle can make a person tolerate a whole lot more than they think they would have otherwise. Then, of course, people get emotionally attached and then all types of rationals start coming into play. I’ve often pondered whether or not I could have tolerated extramarital affairs or whether I’d have had one if I had been or were married for XX number of years. Will I have stayed and we live separate lives? It’s probably easier to do if a couple isn’t living cheek to jowl or if the wife isn’t washing her husband’s socks underwear during the weekly laundry run or cooking him dinner every night.

    In this particular case, it struck me that they met and married in the 1950s and that they were both born before 1920, Kirk in 1917 and Anne in 1919. Which also means that they possibly could have been raised by people born in the 1800s. So, what is Anne and Kirk’s cultural conditioning? Perhaps Anne, based on her personal experience and for that time, was very forward thinking, realistic and enlightened to accept that Kirk would cheat.

  19. Bumfry says:

    Europeans cheat? News to most of us!
    I guess in those days if you were American being European was exotic. The world was much bigger

  20. Brandi says:

    What does that mean “he never tried to hide his dalliances?”
    He would tell her all about it?

  21. Anastasia says:

    I hope she cheated like CRAZY on him. I hope she had side pieces in every major city.

  22. Margo S. says:

    I take from situations like this, that as long as the non cheating partner gets lavished with gifts and money and vacations and such, then they are fine with the cheating. And that’s fine! Whatever floats your boat.

  23. Daphne Stanley says:

    I think many of you are looking at them from a “current” frame of reference. Mrs. Douglass comes from a generation where the man was the sole breadwinner and the wife stayed at home and kept the kids. She was happy knowing that she and the kids would come first for him and any other women would be paid to have back alley abortions and if they refused, they and any outside children would be paid but the woman had to leave town. Kirk’s name would never be put on a birth certificate. Not all men did this but it was known to happen. The Hollywood reporters were glad to sweep in under the rug to fool America of any actor’s predilection for women, young women, young men and children. It was “business”. Also any young actor who was married and became famous sometimes was asked to hide his marriage until later.

    Look up “placage”, interesting arrangement and also British men were know to have mistresses while their parents arranged marriages for them…they weren’t all love matches. The “Asian” culture had concubines.

    “Side Chicks” ain’t nothing new. Only difference is now they go on television, cry with Gloria Allred by their side and act the victim.

  24. balvin says:

    You know what these two are? Friends. They’re friends and maybe they love one another more than anyone else in the world but they are friends. Their marriage works because they never found anyone else to love in the grandest, romantic sense of the word. The only way that kind of thing can be perpetually and philosophically accepted would be from a lack of love maximized to it’s fullest potential. They fell short but it looks like they very much enjoyed their years together so who’s to judge.

  25. Chinoiserie says:

    It’s kind of creepy but occasionally I google deadlist where people are guessing which celebrities will die this year to see which ones are alive, expecially the less famous ones you don’t often hear about.

  26. Svea says:

    Yeah and let ok at what happened to your stepson lady.

  27. minx says:

    She must have decided the tradeoff of being Mrs. KIrk Douglas was worth it. I couldn’t put up with it.

  28. Ozogirl says:

    As long as she could have her fun too if she wanted…

    I don’t think it’s “old fashioned” to expect a spouse to not cheat.

  29. ash says:

    @ ell

    She has the answers…. i literally felt this way when i was in a long term relationship as both of us were social butterflies…. like i cant stress on something that a determined person way do….i can only control my actions, monitor health get tested, and give love to my partner and let the chips fall where they may.

  30. Ariana says:

    I’m European and I will rip you in half if you cheat

  31. poppy says:

    this guy is and always will be a disgusting POS.
    brava for her to reap the benefits of his success? her comment re the success of his other book is so ultra-shrewd.
    guess if you exploit the other for maximum benefit it is all rosy romanticals?

  32. KatM says:

    I expect total fidelity. What is the purpose of marriage otherwise?

  33. SKF says:

    I am utterly convinced that he violently raped Natalie Wood and I can’t stand him. I can’t stand the idea that he is considered a “beloved actor”. And if he violently raped Natalie then statistics suggest she probably wasn’t his only victim. Ugh, I hate him so much.

  34. Vox says:

    Amazing how in the top picture his face is sagging down so much and hers is hoisted up so much.