The Affair That Destroyed Barbara Stanwyck’s Marriage (And Made Her Rich)

Barbara Stanwyck was one of Hollywood’s most talented actresses, known for her powerful performances and commanding presence on screen. But behind the scenes, she was involved in a scandalous affair that destroyed her marriage and brought her both fortune and infamy.

In 1928, Stanwyck married Frank Fay, a successful vaudeville comedian known for his sharp wit and acerbic humor. The couple seemed happy at first, but soon their relationship began to deteriorate. Fay was often absent from home, spending long hours at the theater or partying with his friends. He also had a tendency to be verbally abusive and controlling, which took a toll on Stanwyck’s self-esteem.

Around this time, Stanwyck met Robert Taylor, a handsome actor who was just starting out in the film industry. The two quickly fell in love and began an affair, despite the fact that both were married to other people. They kept their relationship a secret for several years, but eventually rumors began to circulate about their romance.

In 1935, Fay found out about the affair and demanded a divorce. He was furious with Stanwyck and Taylor, and used the scandal to his advantage by leaking details of the affair to the press. Stanwyck was devastated by the public humiliation and felt like her career was in jeopardy.

However, the affair ended up being a boon for Stanwyck’s career. She and Taylor were cast in several films together, including “His Brother’s Wife” and “This is My Affair,” which were both big box office successes. The scandal also increased her popularity with the public, who saw her as a modern, independent woman who was unafraid to break the rules.

Stanwyck and Taylor eventually went public with their relationship and got married in 1939. They remained together for 12 years, until their divorce in 1951. Despite their rocky marriage, Stanwyck always spoke fondly of Taylor and said that he was the love of her life.

The affair with Taylor had a profound impact on Stanwyck’s personal life, but it also had a lasting effect on Hollywood as a whole. It was one of the first major scandals to rock the film industry, and it set a precedent for the many affairs and scandals that would follow.

Stanwyck continued to act in films and on television throughout her career, earning several Academy Award nominations and a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Academy in 1982. She died in 1990 at the age of 82, leaving behind a legacy as one of the greatest actresses in Hollywood history.

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