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Barbara Stanwyck’s heartbreaking admission on marriage: ‘Nothing to battle for’ | Celebrity News | Showbiz & TV

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Ranked the 11th greatest female star of classic American cinema by the American Film Institute, Barbara Stanwyck’s career is often marvelled by Hollywood fans. Today, she returns to screens in The Strange Love of Martha Ivers, which airs from 3.45pm on Talking Pictures TV. Starring in the 1946 film noir drama alongside Stanwyck is Kirk Douglas, who was making his film debut.

It follows the story of a deeply unhappy woman who is attempting to escape her loveless marriage.

The film would go on to become a critical success, with reviews aggregator Rotten Tomatoes giving it a 100 percent approval rating on its website.

Critic Dave Kehr, writing for the Chicago Reader, hailed the film, adding: “Director Lewis Milestone does little more than accent the hysteria of Robert Rossen’s script, though his portrait of the company town, bound in factory grime and feudal loyalty, is nicely done.”

At the height of her fame, Stanwyck was one of the world’s most recognisable and talked about people, including her two marriages.

She was first wed to Frank Fay between 1928 and 1935, before marrying second husband Robert Taylor from 1939 until their divorce in 1952.

While both unions ended in heartbreaking fashion, when reflecting on her relationship with Taylor in 1981 with the New York Times, Stanwyck was philosophical.

She said: “Losing somebody you love by death or divorce is hard.

“If they decide they want to be free, there’s nothing to battle for. You have to let go.

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After their divorce was finalised, amid reports Fay was physically abusive towards Stanwych, who died in 1990, Taylor entered the star’s life.

Writing in his 2012 book Barbara Stanwyck: The Miracle Woman, author Dan Callahan noted how the legend’s meeting with Taylor was a “great relief” to her.

He wrote: “He was a little younger than her and very, very beautiful.”

Though Stanwyck remained infatuated with Taylor, in 2008 actor Robert Wagner revealed how he fell in love with the actress and the pair had a romance.

Two years after her divorce from Taylor, Wagner said the pair met and had a relationship, though one which fizzled out due to their age gap of 23 years.

Writing in his memoir Pieces of My Heart, Wagner said: “I would say she gave me self-esteem.

“I would always have been Mr Stanwyck and we both knew it.”

As the relationship began to grow, the then 22-year-old actor felt studio chiefs had begun a campaign to get him to wed fellow actress Terry Moore.

Wagner added: “The studio blindsided both of us by releasing a story that we were engaged!

“They never called, they never told me they were going to do this, it just appeared in the papers. I was livid; for one thing, I was very involved with Barbara and called her from Tarpon Springs every night.

“Terry was also a much younger woman, and Barbara was – how to put this delicately? – not pleased about that.”

The Strange Love of Martha Ivers airs from 3.45pm on Talking Pictures TV.