What We Know About Liza Minnelli's Husbands

Performer Liza Minnelli, daughter of famed actress Judy Garland and director Vicente Minnelli, has followed in her mother's footsteps in many ways. Like her mother, she has enjoyed enormous professional success while she struggled in her personal life. Minnelli has amassed an impressive array of accolades over the years – an Academy Award, an Emmy Award, a Grammy Award, and three Tony Awards (via People magazine). She is among an elite group of artists who have won all four of these top honors.

Similar to her mother, Minnelli has battled addiction for years. She also tried numerous times to find lasting love. And, despite her best efforts, Minnelli hasn't succeeded in having a happy, lengthy marriage. She has been married four times to four very different individuals. Minnelli was first wed to Australian singer and songwriter Peter Allen. Next she tied the knot with producer Jack Haley Jr. Then she found someone outside of the world of entertainment, artist Mark Gero. And for her last trip down the aisle, Minnelli wed producer David Gest.

Minnelli's first marriage with Peter Allen

Judy Garland, Liza's mother, had a hand in setting Liza up with Peter Allen, her first husband, per AllMusic. Garland had seen Allen perform as part of the Allen Brothers in Hong Kong in 1964 and loved the act. She brought Allen and bandmate Chris Bell to London to open for her at her shows there. Apparently Minnelli quickly fell for Allen, and the pair soon got engaged, according to Masterworks Broadway.

Born in Australia on February 10, 1944, Allen was already a veteran entertainer by the time he met Minnelli. He started out as a child, singing and playing piano in local pubs. Allen made his first television appearance at 15, and before long found success as part of the Allen Brothers. He and Minnelli got married on March 3, 1967, only days before Minnelli's 21st birthday. But it wasn't a perfect match. Allen had failed to tell Minnelli that he was gay, and she only learned the truth after she caught him in bed with another man.

Minnelli and Allen soon separated, but they officially divorced in 1974. They remained friends after splitting up, and Allen enjoyed a thriving career as a singer and songwriter. He wrote or co-wrote such hits as "I Honestly Love You," "Don't Cry Out Loud," and "I Go to Rio." Allen was known for his vibrant cabaret act and frequently appeared at New York's famed Radio City Music Hall. He died of an AIDS-related illness in 1992 (via The New York Times). He was only 48 years old.

Minnelli tried again for happiness with Jack Haley Jr.

Minnelli soon found love with someone who worked behind the scenes. She became involved with Jack Haley Jr., a director, producer, and the son of actor Jack Haley. His father and her mother starred in "The Wizard of Oz" together, appearing as the Tin Man and Dorothy, respectively. When Liza was informed of Haley's death in 2001, she said, "I fell in love with him the first time I met him, and I have loved him with all of my heart ever since" (via Variety).

Minnelli and Haley married on September 15, 1974, in Montecito, California, according to an Associated Press report (via The New York Times). After arriving an hour late to the ceremony, Minnelli dazzled those gathered by wearing a sharp yellow Halston suit. Singer Sammy Davis Jr. was among the guests. At the time, Haley was best known as a producer and writer for "That's Entertainment," a documentary that celebrated cinematic history.

In 1979, Minnelli and Haley divorced after five years of marriage. The reasons behind the split were unclear, though a 2008 article in The Guardian newspaper stated that the couple were more friends than lovers. And they remained on good terms after the split, with Haley designing the film segments for his wife's Broadway show "Minnelli on Minnelli," which debuted in 1999, per Playbill. Haley died at the age of 67.

Minnelli's longest marriage was to Mark Gero

For her third trip down the aisle, Minnelli still hoped that she would find her own version of happily ever after. She married artist Mark Gero in 1979. The pair had met two years earlier while Minnelli was appearing on Broadway in "The Act," according to People magazine. Gero had been working on the show as a stage manager. He understood the world of show business, as his father, Frank Gero, had been a producer, actor, and stage manager (via Playbill).

The couple decided to marry when Minnelli discovered that she was pregnant. Sadly, she miscarried weeks after they tied the knot. Gero and Minnelli tried to have more children together, but it didn't work out for them. Minnelli had two more miscarriages during their marriage. Their union also survived Minnelli's trip to rehab, which she wrote about for People magazine in 1984.

A 1990 Architectural Digest article offered a glimpse into their New York apartment and their domestic life. The pair seemed to be getting along harmoniously, designing the space to suit both of them. Gero even carried Minnelli over the threshold of their place. But all too soon this happiness faded. The couple divorced in 1992. Little information seems to be available on what Gero has been up to since his split from Minnelli.

Minnelli's brief time with David Gest

While Minnelli's union with Mark Gero has proved to be her most enduring one, perhaps her last marriage has been her most infamous. She was introduced to her fourth husband, producer David Gest, by their mutual friend, singer Michael Jackson, per The Washington Post. Gest had worked with Jackson on a TV special and two concerts in celebration of Jackson's 30th anniversary as a solo artist.

Minnelli and Gest married in 2002 in an incredibly expensive and elaborate ceremony, according to E Online. The pair wed at the Marble Collegiate Church in New York City with Elizabeth Taylor as Minnelli's maid of honor and Michael Jackson serving as best man. Natalie Cole sang "Unforgettable" as Minnelli went down the aisle. Her dress was designed by Bob Mackie, per Pink News. At the reception, the likes of Tony Bennett and Stevie Wonder entertained the guests. The total price tag for the event is said to have been $3.5 million.

Minnelli and Gest traded lawsuits during divorce

Gest became his wife's manager and worked on developing a series of concerts that would herald Minnelli's professional comeback. But for some reason, the relationship between the two quickly soured, and they split after 16 months, per People magazine. Things got even more ugly as the two engaged in a legal battle. Gest sued Minnelli for $10 million, alleging that Minnelli had physically abused him several times while she was in a drunken rage. Minnelli denied his claims and countersued him for $2 million, saying he had taken that sum from her from the proceeds from her concerts that he produced, according to the Washington Post.

Minnelli also filed for divorce, stating that Gest was cruel to her (via Playbill). The pair finally dismissed their lawsuits against each other and reached an agreement for their divorce in 2007. After their divorce, Gest dabbled in reality television, appearing on such shows as "I'm a Celebrity, Get Me Out of Here! Now!" and "Celebrity Big Brother," shown in Britain, per IMDb. He died in London in 2016, but his cause of death was not known.