Dennis Hopper’s marriage to his second wife Michelle Phillips lasted just eight days amid rumours she dumped him over his “unnatural sex demands”.
The actor, who died in 2010 aged 74, was enjoying his first real taste of true Hollywood stardom following the release of 1969 classic Easy Rider when he flew to Peru to film his next project.
He married his second wife Michelle on 31 October 1970 and they divorced exactly 50 years ago this weekend – on 8 November that year.
The shoot for The Last Movie took place in 1970 and he worked with The Mamas and the Papas singer Michelle, who had a small role in the film.
Hopper was directing and editing the film himself, and there were rumours the shoot was marred by wild partying.
The movie star Hopper later admitting he was deep in the throws of rampant drug addiction at the time.
During the shoot, he struck up a whirlwind romance with Michelle and they got married on a whim Taos, New Mexico after the production wrapped.
Screenwriter Stewart Stern, the man behind the script for Rebel Without a Cause, was brought in to try and help Hopper get the project back on track and he was among the guests at the wedding.
The pair tied the knot on October 31 1970, and Stern later told Uncut magazine he was baffled by the unusual ceremony.
Stern told the publication: “He got married reading ‘The Gospel of St Thomas’ aloud to Michelle.
“He decorated the whole place with candles stuck in paper bags. It was a whole mixed mystical thing. He read the whole marriage ceremony, and it was just craziness.”
What happened next became one of the most gossiped about mysteries in Hollywood.
Michelle filed for divorce after just eight days, with the singer barely speaking about the details of her brief marriage.
In an interview with Vanity Fair magazine, she called what happened “excruciating” and admitted she fled back to Los Angeles where she filed for divorce.
She told the publication: “My father dragged me into his attorney’s office and said, ‘Men like that never change. File for divorce now. It’ll be embarrassing for a few weeks, then it will be over.'”
Michelle went on: “[Everyone asked] A divorce after eight days? What kind of tart are you?'”
When asked how things were between her and Hopper when they later ran into each other, she said: “We are civil.”
Rumours swirled about why the pair split so suddenly, with the Daily Mail reporting Hopper was “so stoned the morning after the wedding… he didn’t recognise his bride.”
The publication, along with the Guardian and numerous others, reported rumours that Michelle divorced him over his “unnatural sexual demands”.
However, she has never confirmed the long-running story.
Hopper was widely quoted as saying of the marriage: “Seven of those days were pretty good. The eighth day was the bad one.”
In Peter Biskind’s notorious book about Hollywood, Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, the author claimed: “Hopper terrified [Michelle] and her daughter Chynna by firing guns in the house, and handcuffing her to prevent her from running away, saying he thought she was a witch.”
When asked about the claims in a 2001 interview with the Guardian, Hopper said: “Oh Michelle.
“Well, we were married for eight days and we did everything we could possibly think of.
“Then she went off to sing with Leonard Cohen and she said, ‘I’ve decided music is my life and I never want to see you again.'”
He also addressed allegations he’d ever been violent or aggressive towards women.
Hopper said: “When I was young, was I aggressive towards women? Yes. If we had an argument and they physically attacked me, I didn’t have any problems treating them much as I would a male.
“I slapped a few women. But that, very honestly, ended with alcohol.”
Hopper gave up booze and drugs in the 1980s and turned his life around.
He was married five times and famously tried to divorce his fifth wife, Victoria Duffy, while he was on his death bed.
The pair separated in January 2010 and Hopper died in May of that year. He was still legally married to Victoria at the time.
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