Messy Facts About Laurel and Hardy, Comedy’s Greatest Duo

This legendary pair played lovable idiots on screen, but scandalized off screen.

1. They Had Chaotic Relationships

Laurel and Hardy’s messy marriages, crazy exes, mistresses, feuds, and scandals are just as entertaining as their movies. Their longest lasting relationship ended up being with each other–but even that ended tragically.

Stan Laurel And Oliver Hardy - 1938

National Portrait Gallery, Wikimedia Commons

2. They Were Polar Opposites

Laurel and Hardy weren’t supposed to cross paths. Stan Laurel was born into a British theater family in 1890, while Oliver Hardy was born into an American military family two years later. But they both fell in love with performing and comedy. 

When Laurel and Hardy’s dreams grew too big for their hometowns, they left. But even their wildest dreams had nothing on what unfolded.

Stan Laurel C1920

Stax, Wikimedia Commons

3. Hardy Risked It All

Hardy didn’t just fall in love with comedy. He fell for the wrong woman. After working at his hometown’s movie theater, Hardy became convinced that he was better than the actors on screen. He took a leap of faith and started at the bottom of a production company. 

He also started a romance with Madelyn Saloshin. She was 28 to his 21. Not that Hardy cared.

American comedian Oliver Hardy in suit and hat

General Photographic Agency, Getty Images

4. Hardy Jumped Into Marriage

Anyone who had a bad feeling about Hardy and Madelyn’s marriage was right: Hardy’s first marriage became his first mistake in just months.

Even though Hardy and Madelyn fell out of love as quickly as they fell into it, they remained married on paper for eight years.

Unbeknownst to Hardy, Laurel also had girl problems around this time.

Oliver Hardy - Yes, Yes, Nanette (1925)

Hal Roach Studios, Yes, Yes, Nanette (1925)