Published On: Thu, Aug 31st, 2017

Vivien Leigh's diary reveals second she abandoned husband for Laurence Olivier


Vivien LeighNATIONAL PORTRAIT GALLERY

Vivien Leigh and Lawrence Olivier

 It was an open secret within the 1930s that the movie star, who would go on to win an Oscar for Gone With The Wind, was having a steamy affair with performing nice Laurence Olivier. 

Out of responsibility to their spouses the pair tried to withstand earlier than bowing to the inevitable and working away collectively. 

which has been unveiled for the primary time previous to being auctioned, offers an perception into her turmoil. Torn between honouring her marriage vows and following the trail of real love she made the momentous choice to go away husband Leigh Holman and their daughter. 

Holman was a barrister and 13 years her senior however the actress fell head over heels for Olivier once they had been solid as lovers within the swashbuckling fi lm Hearth Over England in 1937. On the time Olivier was married to actress Jill Esmond they usually had an toddler son. 

Leigh’s diary, spanning 1937- 1939, is a part of a set of her possessions being auctioned in London by Sotheby’s on September 26. About 300 objects are being offered by her three grandsons, together with a portray of roses given to Leigh by her buddy Winston Churchill which is predicted to fetch as much as £100,000. 

The appointment diary, which additionally data visits to theatres to observe Olivier, is predicted to draw bids of as much as £three,000. 

Vivien LeighGETTY

The starlet together with her first husband Leigh Holman

It exhibits how the actress, then in her mid-20s and celebrated for her beautiful appears, assiduously detailed each occasion in her life. She was besotted with Olivier and seized any alternative to be close to him, even when it was an event which concerned his spouse. In Could 1937 all three travelled to Denmark for a manufacturing of Hamlet. 


This, this was love. This was the true factor

Laurence Olivier


BUT her willpower to finish the romance failed that summer time. “Informed Leigh,” she data on June 10 1937, condensing the second she broke the information of her affair. This entry is adopted a day later by the affirmation of her flight into Olivier’s arms: “Left with Larry.” 

Leigh’s tortured way of thinking is indicated by frantic pencil strikes via the entry, as if that might erase the damage she was inflicting her household. Neither of their spouses would initially grant a divorce so Leigh and Olivier, then 37, moved in collectively. They had been the golden couple of British performing and the affair, which the movie business tried to maintain secret, brought about a scandal. 

Vivien LeighGETTY

The Hollywood star with Clark Gable in Gone With The Wind

There have been later makes an attempt to reconcile with their spouses however Leigh and Olivier had been finally married in 1940 in entrance of solely a handful of visitors in California. The fervour between the couple throughout this era can also be evident in letters held within the Victoria & Albert Museum archives. 

“I awakened completely raging with need for you,” Olivier writes in a single, to which Leigh replies: “If we cherished one another solely with our our bodies I suppose it might be all proper. I really like you with rather more than that. I really like you with, oh every thing one way or the other, with a particular sort of soul.” 

Later Olivier writes to Leigh, who was born in India in 1913 however despatched to England for her schooling: “You’re in my ideas and weighing so closely in my coronary heart on a regular basis. I’m solely present till I see you once more and solely simply managing to do this.” 

The couple created a storm once they headed for Hollywood when each had been nonetheless married to different individuals however the scandal didn’t cease Leigh profitable an Oscar for her portrayal of Scarlett O’Hara in Gone With The Wind in 1939. She gained one other in 1952 for her function as Blanche Dubois in A Streetcar Named Want. 

Olivier, who is taken into account one in every of our best actors for his capacity to change effortlessly from stage to display screen, went two higher wining 4 Oscars. Of explicit observe was his brooding Heathcliff in Wuthering Heights. But there was to be no happy-ever-after within the love story of Vivien and Larry. 

Vivien LeighGETTY

Vivien Leigh spelled the tip of her marriage: ‘Left with Larry’

Leigh, who contracted TB in Africa within the 1940s, battled towards ill-health and despair. In 1947 the pair toured Australia to advertise the Outdated Vic theatre however she usually refused to go on stage. Crew members reported livid fights between husband and spouse, which generally resulted in Leigh slapping Olivier, who was knighted that 12 months. 

Two miscarriages made issues worse and he or she suffered a nervous breakdown. It was stated that she was envious of his profession persevering with whereas hers was hampered by sickness. 

In 1958 Olivier started a relationship with actress Joan Plowright, who turned spouse quantity three. Leigh, in flip, had an affair with actor Jack Merivale, apparently with Olivier’s blessing, they usually had been divorced in 1960. However when Leigh succumbed to a recurrence of TB in 1967 it was Olivier, consumed by anguish, who rushed to her loss of life mattress. She was simply 53. 

Shortly earlier than he died in 1989 Olivier was watching one in every of Leigh’s outdated movies with a buddy. With tears in his eyes the outdated actor is alleged to have remarked: “This, this was love. This was the true factor.”


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