“Christ!” she shrieked. “That never happened! What kind of obscenity was that that was printed? How disgusting, a baby-size mink.” The eruption caused the omnipresent press rep to interrupt. “Don’t you remember that fur manufacturer who sent the mink to Maria and then put out the statement that it came from you? We told you about it a few months ago.”
“Crap,” Elizabeth Taylor said. “This is the kind of thing that goes on all the time. They just make this garbage up. It is so icky, so damn obscene. I would have never sent such a horrible thing to my granddaughter. I really am not that much of a vulgarian.”
Her four children have learned to cope. “They’re my best friends. I discuss everything with them. I’ve always wanted them to know exactly what was going on with me so they would never be confused by what was written.” The children are all fairly settled now, but have had their problems adjusting. “I remember once one of my sons came home with a terrible black eye, and I said, ‘Darling, what happened?’ and he said, ‘The kids at school were saying terrible things about you, and I wanted to defend you.’ And I looked at him very hard, and I said, ‘You do not have to defend me ever. You are not to do that. I just want you to know who I am and what I am, and then you’ll never feel you have to fight for my name again.’”
For the moment, the tears for the bad reviews are over, and Taylor, age 52, knows there is life way after Private Lives. She has houses to go back to, and jewels in the vault, and however homeless she might seem in the public imagination, he home, she says, now is in Bel Air. “That house is filled with memorabilia. All kinds of pictures, and so is my house in Gstaad, which has got even more things, even Liza’s first little ballet shoes.” But right now there is a great deal of business to think about. Private Lives is being filmed for cable; there is a tour planned. At the opening-night party in New York, everyone will be asked to wear white tie and tails—the star’s idea. Who knows, there may even be another marriage, and if so, Elizabeth Taylor, forever unsinkable, is already making plans.
“Okay, I have a question for you now,” Elizabeth Taylor said. “What color do you think my next wedding dress should be?” “Mauve,” I answered. “Mauve?” she squeaked. “Not mauve.” Okay, lavender then. “Never lavender,” she said. She watched her pet fish wending their way through the tank. “Red, baby. The next time I get married, I’ll be wearing all red. You can count on that.”