Elizabeth Taylor's Affair With Richard Burton Almost Got Her Banned From The US

Scandals in the celebrity world are anything but rare, but the idea of international excommunication as a result of one is, in fact, rare. Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton, however, came close to just that as a result of their relationship. Throughout production of "Cleopatra" (1962), the two stars admittedly fell madly in love with one another on set. The looming passion that hung over them like a dark cloud was naturally problematic — being that they were both married at the time — but when love strikes, it strikes hard, and thus began an affair that would soon become more notorious than they would have expected.

Taylor's then-husband, Eddie Fisher, learned of his wife's secret courtship with Burton while they were all in Rome together during the filming of "Cleopatra." Disgusted by his discovery, he left shortly thereafter and returned to the United States. Tabloids ran wild with the news, and when a particular congresswoman from Georgia caught wind of the rumors, she decided to raise the stakes in a rather unprecedented fashion (via Showbiz Cheat Sheet). 


Once the news of the affair broke, the Georgia-based congresswoman contacted the United States Attorney General and formally requested that the couple be banned from returning to the U.S. on behalf of "undesirability" (via Entertainment Weekly). Naturally, infidelity was and is not a legal insubordination, so the request was promptly denied. That didn't stop the world of headlines from voicing their discontent though. The momentum of the congresswoman's request even prompted Taylor to skip the "Cleopatra" premier (per Showbiz Cheat Sheet). 

Even the Vatican partook in the rampant dialogue surrounding the love affair between Taylor and Burton, addressing an open letter to the actress and accusing her of "erotic vagrancy." Naturally, Taylor's marriage to Eddie Fisher ended, and Richard Burton called it quits with his wife (Sybil Williams). The two stars would go on to marry one another in 1964. They divorced in 1974, remarried later that year, and then divorced for the final time in 1975 (via Showbiz Cheat Sheet).