In 1918 Mary Pickford became secretly involved in a relationship with Douglas Fairbanks. The same year Pickford divorced Irish-born silent film actor Owen Moore and married Fairbanks.
They went to Europe for their honeymoon; fans in London and in Paris caused riots trying to get to the famous couple. The couple’s triumphant return to Hollywood was witnessed by vast crowds who turned out to hail them at railway stations across the United States.
They were often referred to as “Hollywood royalty”. Their international reputations were broad. Foreign heads of state and dignitaries who visited the White House often asked if they could also visit Pickfair, the couple’s mansion in Beverly Hills.
The public nature of the marriage strained it to the breaking point. When their film careers both began to founder at the end of the silent era, Fairbanks’ restless nature prompted him to overseas travel (something which Pickford did not enjoy). When Fairbanks’ romance with Sylvia, Lady Ashley became public in the early 1930s, he and Pickford separated.
They divorced in 1936. Fairbanks’ son by his first wife, Douglas Fairbanks Jr., claimed his father and Pickford long regretted their inability to reconcile.
The Queen and the King of Hollywood, Mary Pickford and Douglas Fairbanks (1918)