Four Uncomfortable Facts About Bette Davis

A talented woman with a troubled life

Jacob Wilkins
Lessons from History


A colorized photograph of Bette Davis by an unknown photographer, 1935 (Wikimedia Commons)

During the Golden Age of Hollywood, Bette Davis was one of the film industry’s brightest stars. Though she lacked the electrifying sex appeal of actresses like Marilyn Monroe or Rita Hayworth, she possessed an almighty screen presence that was truly unique.

But despite all the wealth and acclaim, Davis’s life was far from perfect. Thanks to her combative personality, unhealthy habits, and questionable taste in men, the legendary actress often appeared in the press for the wrong reasons.

1. Bette Davis Dumped the Man She Loved and Married a Villain

A publicity photograph of Bette Davis in Jezebel from Warner Bros., 1938 (Wikimedia Commons)

During the making of Jezebel (1938), Davis had an extramarital affair with director William Wyler. Though she genuinely loved Wyler and made several other films with him, she struck up another affair soon after with oil equipment heir turned aviation pioneer Howard Hughes.

This latest infidelity put an end to her first marriage. But it wasn’t long before she received another proposal, with Wyler asking for her hand in marriage. However, the actress was…