Liza Minnelli has had a rather illustrious life, with four marriages to prominent men and numerous lovers and relationships in between. As for husbands, Liza was married to songwriter Peter Allen, TV director and producer Jack Haley Jr., sculptor Marc Gero, and producer David Gest.
“I have great taste in directors and in people for costumes. But as far as husbands go, I think that I kept changing for them. And then about a year later I’d think: ‘What am I doing? This really isn’t me,’” the actress and singer told Oprah in 2010.
Here’s what to know about Liza’s four husbands.
Liza’s first marriage was to Peter Allen, a musician, songwriter, and stage performer, in 1967 when Liza was just 21. Peter found fame as a part of the musical duo The Allen Brothers, who were discovered by Liza’s mother, Judy Garland, in 1964. Judy helped the brothers gain popularity and success in the U.S. and U.K. and was reportedly responsible for linking Liza and Peter.
After eight years together, the pair split in 1974, although they had previously separated in 1969. Peter was later in a relationship with Gregory Connell for more than a decade until Gregory’s death in 1984. Peter then passed away in 1992 due to throat cancer related to contracting AIDS.
During a 1996 interview with The Advocate cited in the book David Bowie Made Me Gay: 100 Years of LGBT Music, Liza commented on Peter’s sexuality. “[I] married Peter and he didn’t tell me he was gay. Everyone knew but me. And I found out…well, let me put it this way: I’ll never surprise anybody coming home as long as I live. I call first!” she said.
Jack Haley Jr.
Liza’s second marriage was to another Hollywood royalty figure, Jack Haley Jr., when she was 28, on Sept. 15, 1974. The pair had an interesting connection via their parents, as Jack’s father played the Tin Man in 1939’s The Wizard of Oz, aka where Liza’s mom Judy made her mark as Dorothy.
Jack worked extensively in television, winning the Peabody Awards for the docuseries Biography. He also won an Emmy for producing the 41st Academy Awards. In addition, he had several projects in film and TV, like Life Goes to the Movies, which featured Liza as a co-host. He also produced Movin with Nancy with Nancy Sinatra and the MGM compilation flick That’s Entertainment! which also featured Liza.
In a 2008 article from The Guardian, the relationship between Jack and Liza was revealed to be mainly about companionship “Haley was husband number two and straight, but they were friends rather than lovers.” After five years of marriage, the pair called it quits in 1979. Jack died at 67 in April 2001 of respiratory failure.
“Jack was the first one to remind the general public of our heritage. America’s royalty is our entertainers, who have given so much to the world. I fell in love with him the first time I met him, and I have loved him with all of my heart ever since,” Liza said when he passed, per Variety.
Liza’s third marriage was to the sculptor Mark Gero whose successful Broadway producer Frank Gero, who worked on Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, Oleanna, and A Steady Rain. The pair wed in 1979 when Liza was 33, and, compared to her past relationships, the two were very private. A 1990 feature in Architectural Digest, however, shared details about their Manhattan home, and even featured a cameo from designer (and Liza’s BFF) Halston, who had introduced the couple to interior designer Timothy Macdonald.
“I suppose our professional relationship began in a fairly unorthodox way,” Liza told the outlet. “A good friend of mine, Halston, knew in his own clever way that I was looking for a designer, but that I would hate to go to someone’s office and be shown swatches. So he invited Tim and me to the same dinner party, and we hit it off right away. I’d already found the apartment, and when I brought Tim up here, he took one look and said, ‘Great.’ Then we were off and running immediately.”
Liza notably hasn’t had children with any of her husbands, although she suffered a miscarriage in 1981 with Marc. By 1992, the relationship between the two wet awry, and Liza was “granted an uncontested divorce.”
Liza’s most recent marriage was to producer David Gest. The pair was reportedly introduced via Liza’s good friend Michael Jackson, per The Washington Post. David had produced a series of television specials for Michael and was very successful in the entertainment industry.
Liza and David were married on March 16, 2002 and, according to E!, the wedding cost roughly $3.5 million. Liza, who was 56 at the time, also wore a wedding dress designed by Bob Mackie.
David worked as Liza’s manager and helped plan a comeback tour for the Cabaret star in 2002, according to NBC News. Things got ugly for the couple, however, as their marriage went on, as David accused Liza of physically abusing him in alcohol-fueled rages — something Liza vehemently denied. David went on to file a $10 million lawsuit against her while Liza responded with her own suit. The legal battle between them lasted for years, but it was finalized in 2007 with a no-fault divorce and settled lawsuits. David died at 62 in 2016.
During an Access Hollywood interview in 2012, Liza expressed her hesitancy at marrying another time.“If you even hear I’m getting married, hit me over the head and take me outta there!” she joked. “You try and accommodate because you love someone… [and] nowadays why get married? Nobody else does. It’s not like I want to have children, I tried that, didn’t work unfortunately.”