With the royal wedding happening this weekend, much ado has been made about Meghan Markle being an actress and marrying into royalty.
Of course, she isn’t the only actor or actress to marry into royalty or nobility. Well cited examples include Grace Kelly marrying Rainier III, Prince of Monaco, making Grace Kelly a princess. The two were married from 1956 unti her death in 1982. And there was Rita Hayworth, who became a princess when she married Prince Aly Khan, who were married in 1949 and divorced in 1953.
But I started wondering was there anyone else? I found a few other actors who were married to royalty or nobility, though some titles have been up for debate:
Donald Cook and Princess Gioia Tasca di Cuto (1937 to 1961): Actor Donald Cook was married to Princess Giovanna Mastro – Giovanni Tasca Di Cuto from 1937 until Cook’s death in 1961. I can find little on Princess Giovnna, except that the two lived in Long Island in the 1940s and also had a home in Connecticut. An April 1971 newspaper called Gioia Cook the great-granddaughter of Prince Niccolo of Sicily. According to a 1966 newspaper, calls Gioia a “former” royal and calls her Gioia Cook. It seems Donald Cook did not take up a title as other stars did. After Donald Cook’s death, Gioia owned a restaurant called Leopard.
Pola Negri and Prince Serge Mdivani (May 14, 1927 – April 2, 1931): Pola Negri said she was engaged to silent film star idol Rudolph Valentino, who died suddenly in 1926. Serge Mdivani then started courting Pola, and proposed to her (he was turned down). The Mdivani’s were a Georgian aristocratic family who went to Paris (and then Serge and David to America) when the Soviets took over Georgia. Serge and David presented themselves as royalty in Los Angeles and were treated as such, though it seems like their titles may have been phony (we are still counting his as a noble/royal wedding though). According to her memoir, Negri had no interest in marrying Serge and was not attracted to him. Negri was criticized for marrying Prince Serge six months later in France on May 14, 1927, according to Pola Negri: Hollywood’s First Femme Fatale by Mariusz Kotowski. The marriage made Negri Mae Murray’s sister-in-law who was married to Serge’s brother, David. Serge gambled Negri’s money and after the stock market crash in 1929, Negri lost millions. When the money was gone, so was Serge. Serge died in 1936 after a polo accident.
Mae Murray and Prince David Mdivani (June 27, 1926 – February 11, 1934): Mae Murray and Prince David Mdivani met at a party at Pola Negri’s house. Pola invited David because she heard he was charming and would be good company for her mother, according to an LA Magazine article. Murray was 14 years older than David and their marriage was tumultuous. Murray filed for divorce in 1931 and then again in 1933, which finally ended the marriage. Murray and Mdivani entered a custody battle for their son, Koran, in 1933, who was living with Sara Elizabeth Cunning in New York, the wife of a surgeon who performed surgy on the child. The custody battle lasted until 1940. Murray gained custody but Koran ended up living with the Cunnings.
Zsa Zsa Gabor and Prince Frédéric von Anhalt (1986-2016): Frédéric von Anhalt was not born into royalty, but adopted. At age 36 in 1980, he asked Princess Marie-Auguste of Anhalt of Germany to adopt him as an adult and he assumed the title of Prince. Anhalt moved to the United States in 1984 and met actress Zsa Zsa Gabor. Anhalt married Zsa Zsa, and he was her ninth and last husband. The two were married from 1986 until her death in 2016. The marriage made Zsa Zsa Princess Von Anhalt, Duchess of Saxony, though genealogists question the title since Anhalt was not of royal birth.
Pola Negri and Count Eugene Dombski (1919- 1922): Pola Negri met Count Eugene Dombski while arguing with customs from Warsaw to Berlin. The Count was the man in charge. Shortly after, the Count invited Negri to dinner and said he wanted to marry her, according to Pola Negri: Hollywood’s First Femme Fatale by Mariusz Kotowski. Negri’s mother encouraged her to accept and the two married in Nov. 1919. However, it was a lonely and boring marriage for Negri, because the count was often away for work. Negri had also given up her acting career to take up the social position of countess, which left her unhappy and still wanting to work. The couple separated in 1920 and divorced in 1922 when the count wanted to remarry.
Gloria Swanson and Marquis Henri de la Falaise (January 1925 – November 1931): Henri de La Falaise, Marquis de La Coudraye was a French nobleman who got involved in producing, directing and translating films. He met Gloria Swanson while acting as a translator for Swanson for the film Madame Sans-Gêne (1925). The couple married in 1925 and divorced in 1931. A January 1931 newspaper said the couple had lived apart for two years prior to their divorce.
Constance Bennett and Marquis Henri de la Falaise (November 1931 – November 1940) Constance Bennett also married the Henri de La Falaise. Henri married Constance days after his divorce finalized with Gloria Swanson. Together they founded Bennett Productions. The two were married until they divorced in 1940, though newspapers in 1936 said the marriage was “on the rocks” as of 1934.
King Vidor and Eleanor Boardman (September 1926 – April 1933): King Vidor was … a Hollywood director from Texas and not royalty. Just kidding!
Comment below for any other celebrities of classic Hollywood who were married to royalty or nobility!