Heart-Pounding Facts About History's Most Messed Up Love Stories

June 10, 2024 | Christine Tran

Heart-Pounding Facts About History's Most Messed Up Love Stories

History's Most Messed Up Love Stories

Humans are imperfect, so of course their "love" proves impatient, unkind, envious, boasting, and self-seeking. It's no excuse for awful behavior, but it does reflect how far we can fall from the standards we place on love. 

Here’s to the creepy couples, the killer couples, and the couples who didn’t let even life's end, or being an inanimate object, stop them from being together.

History's Messed Up Love Stories Split

1. Ruthless Ruler

After King Herod accused his wife of adultery and had her executed, he demanded that her body be preserved in honey. After the preservation, Herod continued to perform disturbing acts with her lifeless body for years afterward. Following a reign of 37 years, he suffered a terribly painful demise from a disease that rotted his body and gave him worms. Kind of poetic, really.

king herod

2. Hello From the Other Side

When Queen Victoria of England was widowed, she was utterly convinced that her beloved Albert didn’t truly leave her. For 30 years, Victoria would hold seances to get in touch with her consort’s spirit. The queen even wanted to publish the notes on their conversations, but her secretary had to put his foot down and stop that potential PR nightmare.

Empress Alexandra factsWikimedia Commons

3. Date Tip: Go To Your Parent's Grave

There’s plenty of ghoulish facts to mine about poet Percy Bysshe Shelley and Frankenstein author Mary Shelley. Most will cite their early "romantic" sojourns to her mother’s grave and their star-crossed love that was against her father's wishes, forcing them to run away with each other. But that's just the beginning of their nightmarish relationship. 

Percy Shelley factsGetty Images

4. Can't Water Down the Truth

When Percy Bysshe and Mary Shelley began their relationship, Percy was already married—and his wife was found very pregnant and very drowned just weeks before Godwin and Shelley finally wed each other. By most accounts, she tragically took her own life, but that’s still an unbelievably grim start to an otherwise productive literary union.

Historical Mistresses FactsWikipedia

5. Achey-Breaky Heart

When Peter I of Portugal's father sent assassins to behead his son's lover, Ines de Castro, Peter got revenge with an utterly brutal gesture. The Portuguese king tracked down the killers and ordered their hearts to literally be ripped from their still-alive bodies. It sounds vicious, but to Peter, it made a poetic kind of sense: after all, they had broken his own.

Messed Up Love stories FactsPicryl

6. Too Close for Conscience…

Unsurprisingly, Giacomo Casanova fathered too many illegitimate children to keep count. But his bedroom romps got dangerous in 1761, when (so he claims) he almost took a woman named Leonilda as his mistress. Just before he brought her into his bedroom, he found out the awful truth: She was actually his daughter. Casanova quickly pulled back from the affair. But the worst wasn't over.

Wildest Concerts In History FactsShutterstock

7. At Least For a While

But Casanova’s reunion with Leonilda had a horrific ending. Many years after he withdrew from their tryst, her mother (and his old flame) Lucrezia Castelli invited him to stay with her and Leonilda, who was now married. While he visited, mommy dearest revealed that Leonilda desperately wanted a child, but her husband was unable to give her one.

Disturbingly, she then begged Casanova to impregnate Leonilda. Ew. Even more unsettling, he actually did it. That's right, if we are to believe his writings, Casanova fathered his own grandson.

Casanova FactsGetty Images

8. Hello, Dolly

Artist Oskar Kokoschka had a hot and heavy affair with a beauty named Alma Mahler, who then let him down gently by saying she just loved him too much to continue it (heard that one before, Alma). In response, Kokoschka did what any heartbroken soft boy would do. He commissioned a life-sized Alma doll complete with fake teeth and feathery skin, natch.

Nevertheless, even this relationship went south, as Kokoschka grew bored, decapitated the doll, doused it in booze, and threw it out the window. Can you believe the real Mahler dumped this catch of a man?

Oskar Kokoschka.Getty Images

9. His Masterpiece

James Joyce has gone down in literary history for classic books like Finnegan's Wake and Ulysses, but if you ask me, his true masterpiece lies elsewhere. Thanks to the discovery of Joyce's passionate love let3ters to Nora Barnacle, we now know that he was a certified freak in the sheets. Many of the letters praise Barnacle's flatulent love-making style, and that's just the beginning....

Books factsGetty Images

10. Cold Comfort

Not even the 19th century could escape the wrath of Florida Man. In 1881, a salesman from Utah took to the Sunshine State. He was determined to fulfill an extremely creepy desire: Marry a lifeless body. He had fallen head over heels in love with a woman who was dying of consumption. Unfortunately, she passed before their wedding day—but love stops for no one, and the man had her coffin taken to the church where they could be pronounced husband and wife before her burial.

Messed Up Love stories FactsShutterstock

11. The Witch Is Gone

King Henry VIII was desperate to have a male heir, so when his first wife Catherine of Aragon couldn't give him one, he did what any insane ruler would do: Create a new religion so that he could get a divorce. Once that was done, he promptly married his second wife Anne Boleyn. When the new couple heard the news that Henry's first wife had finally met her end, their reaction was utterly chilling. It’s said that they both wore bright yellow in celebration.

The Most Incredible People in History FactsFlickr

12. Going out Like a Queen

Sadly, as we now know, things went south fast with Henry and Anne Boleyn. After she, too, failed to give him a bouncing baby boy, Henry made Catherine’s fate look like child’s play. He sentenced Boleyn to lose her head for treason and adultery, and on May 19, 1536, she faced her executioner. In a final act of rage and/or guilt, Henry had all likenesses of his second wife destroyed.

Richard and Anne as King and QueenUnknown Author, Wikimedia Commons

13. Severance Payback

The love story of Heloise and Abelard is one of history’s great Romeo and Juliet tales, except with a whole lot more castration. The pair met when Heloise was a young, brilliant scholar and Abelard was her tutor. Happily ever after, right? Wrong. Heloise’s uncle didn’t take kindly to the match, and after the two were married in secret, he gave them a gruesome wedding "present".

He and his friends broke into Abelard’s room one night and castrated him, severing the union and, obviously, other parts. Welcome to the family, bro.

Héloïse And Abélard FactsWikimedia Commons

14. Which One?

King Henry VIII was a pretty heartless guy, and as much as people have romanticized his great love for Jane Seymour, having a son and heir was always his number one priority. Jane’s labor was difficult, and when an attendant asked Henry about whether he wanted to save the mother or child if it came down to it, his reply was absolutely chilling.

Henry supposedly said, "If you cannot save both, at least let the child live," followed by the characteristic statement "for other wives are easily found". Priorities, right?

Henry VIIIGetty Images

15. Sixteen Candles

The Tudor dynasty was founded on the love affair between Owen Tudor and the widowed Queen of England, Catherine de Valois. Unfortunately, they were doomed to an unbelievably grim end. Catherine passed on after a few years of marriage and Owen was eventually executed during the War of the Roses. Yet even at the end, Owen’s looks still drove the ladies mad.

While his head rotted on a spike, a random woman combed his hair, washed the blood from his handsome face, and set a 100 candles around the noggin' that made ladies weep.

King Leopold II factsPixabay

16. The Unamazed Maze

According to English folklore, Henry II of England sought to keep his affair with Rosamund Clifford on the DL from his wife, Eleanor of Aquitaine. Thus, he did the logical thing and hid Rosamund inside of an elaborate maze at Woodstock, Oxfordshire. Eventually, Eleanor got wise and penetrated the labyrinth. Acting just as practically as Henry, Eleanor presented her husband’s sidepiece with two options: stab yourself with this dagger or poison yourself with this bowl of toxins.

Rosamund chose the latter, less messy end. Of course, this story is almost definitely a fable, but it usefully reflects medieval ideas about love, commitment, and gardening.

Messed Up Love stories FactsWikimedia Commons

17. Beauty and the Beast

In the 17th century, there was a no bachelorette more eligible than Hortense Mancini, a renowned court hottie with a butt-load of money. So when Hortense married the equally wealthy Armand-Charles, the Duke of Meilleraye, it seemed like a match made in rich white people heaven. Except it wasn’t. It was an absolute waking nightmare.

Hortense Mancini FactsFlickr

18. Udderly Outrageous

You see, Armand was a veritable nut job. He jealously searched Hortense's room for lovers, refused to allow his female servants to milk cows because it was too sensual, and often knocked out said servants’ teeth to make them look less attractive. Hortense, it hardly needs to be said, was absolutely miserable—so she came up with an ingenious plot.

Hystory Bad brakeups FactsWikimedia Commons

19. The Runaway Duchess

In 1668, Hortense Mancini escaped her husband’s clutches by leaving her children and running clear away, an act of rebellion that was just not done at the time. It didn’t help that while gallivanting about, she loved drinking and dressing like a man. Now free from her tyrannical husband, Hortense quickly became famous all across Europe as "The Runaway Duchess". She was finally free, but it wouldn't last for long. 

Hystory Bad brakeups FactsWikimedia Commons

20. Together Forever

Sadly, Armand-Charles had the horrific last laugh when it came to his ex Hortense. After she passed, knee-deep in gambling debts, the ever-watchful Armand punished her brutally. Her debtors were selling off her remains (ew, in so many ways), so Armand purchased his ex-wife's lifeless body and paraded it around France for months.

Hystory Bad brakeups FactsWikipedia

21. You Drive Me Crazy

Anne Lister, AKA Gentleman Jack, was the first modern lesbian. She was also a total rake, leaving a trail of broken hearts behind her as she went through the 19th century. While in school, she fell in love with a girl named Eliza, and the pair swore they’d be together forever. Instead, Lister dealt Eliza an absolutely cold-hearted betrayal.

She soon started a series of relationships with other schoolgirls, and Eliza was so devastated that she had to be committed to a sanatorium.

anne listerWikimedia Commons

22. Last Choice Haircutters

Although it was a political marriage, the union between Joanna I of Castile and Philip "the Handsome" of Burgundy was one of passion, albeit lopsided passion. By all accounts, Philip was into Joanna, but just not enough to stay faithful. Unfortunately, Joanna was really into Philip. When Philip’s mistress had the misfortune of crossing paths with his wife, Joanna apparently snapped and hacked the other woman’s hair off with scissors.

Still unsatisfied with the 'do, Jo then slashed her in the face.

Messed Up As a Kid FactsWikipedia

23. The Pen Is Mightier Than the Sword

Oh hey, do you like well-known macho writer Norman Mailer? If so, you might not want to read this horrific fact. Mailer, who critic Jennifer Wright respectfully called "the worst," once honest-to-God shanked his wife Adele while he was inebraited at a raucous party. But that's not even the worst part. Did I mention that it was with a rusty penknife? Did I mention that he did it twice?

William S. Burroughs factsGetty Images

24. The Second Cut Is the Deepest

After hitting Adele in the back, Mailer then punctured her chest and just narrowly missed her heart. Apparently, when people tried to be half-decent and attend to her, he only spat out some utterly cruel words: "Don’t help her. Let the witch die". Though Adele never pressed charges for the sake of her children, she did divorce Mailer two years later. Darn right she did.

Spoiled Rich Kids FactsPxHere

25. Taksie-Backsies

You might remember Elizabeth Siddal as the model for that iconic panting, Ophelia by John Everett Millais. Unfortunately, Siddal met his end due to an OD in 1862. Her husband, the painter Dante Gabriel Rossetti, then buried some of his original poems inside her coffin as a final loving gesture. Years later, he decided that he really wanted to publish those poems.

Reader, he had her body exhumed.

Messed Up Love stories FactsDesperate Romantics,BBC Two

26. Fall From Grace

You could fill a list with episodes from F. Scott and Zelda’s Fitzgerald’s chaotic relationship. Few got more explosive than the aftermath of Scott having some private time with a lady of the night, just to dispel rumors of an affair with Ernest Hemingway. Unfortunately for F. Scott, his wife Zelda discovered the condoms and a bitter estrangement ensued. It perhaps ended with Zelda throwing herself down a flight of marble stairs as Scott was enthralled in conversation with dancer Isadora Duncan.

The Legend of Zelda FactsGetty Images

27. Don’t Call Me, I’ll Call You

20th-century writer Edith Wharton gained fame for her novels about the desperate affairs hidden underneath buttoned-up New York society, but few readers know that her own bedroom life rivalled her tragic fiction. Stuck in a dull marriage, Wharton started a steamy affair with the journalist Morton Fullerton for a year—until it came to a bitter end.

Messed Up Love stories FactsWikimedia Commons

28. Silent Treatment

One day, Fullerton just full-on ghosted her. He pretty much stopped replying to her letters, leading her to send the early-20th-century equivalent of that embarrassing 2 AM text we all wish we had never sent. "Dear," she wrote, "Will you not tell me the meaning of this silence?" He…never did. Oof, we’ve all been there, Edith. Chin up.

Hystory Bad brakeups FactsWikimedia Commons

29. Always Read the Terms & Conditions

As Albert Einstein’s marriage to his first wife fell apart, he tried to lend some order to their domestic life. This came in the form of "Conditions," which laid out a code of conduct. Among other things, he told her to ensure "that I will receive my three meals regularly in my room" and "that my bedroom and study are kept neat, and especially that my desk is left for my use only".

Basically, he told her to "renounce all personal relations with me insofar as they are not completely necessary for social reasons" and to "not expect any intimacy from me," although that last part about intimacy goes without saying at that point.

Albert Einstein FactsWikipedia

30. Aunt Big Bucks

Charles Brandon was a close friend of Henry VIII, and like his buddy, Brandon had some intense marital mishaps of his own. In around 1506, Brandon started sleeping with a lady named Anne Browne. She got pregnant, leading Brandon to promptly dump her and marry her rich widowed aunt Margaret Neville. Oh, but it gets worse.

Messed Up As a Kid FactsWikimedia Commons

31. Whiplash

Brandon ruthlessly manipulated Aunt Margaret. He sold her lands for cash, then divorced her on the grounds of "consanguinity". Yup, he divorced her by bringing up the fact that he used to be in a relationship with his wife's niece Anne Browne. Oh, and after he ruined Aunt Margaret's life, he hopped back into bed with his original girlfriend Anne. What a gentleman.

Messed Up As a Kid FactsThe Tudors, BBC

32. An Intimate Gift

Lord George Byron was the bad boy poet and notorious lothario of the 19th century, so he obviously had no qualms about taking up with the very beautiful (and super married) writer Lady Caroline Lamb. Living up to his rake persona, the good Lord Byron also had no problem loving and leaving her—but Lamb’s response to their split was utterly disturbing.

When things started going south, Lamb cut off a chunk of her hair "down there" and sent it to the poet. Yep, that’ll make him miss you, Caroline. Except that wasn’t even the worst part.

Ada Lovelace factsGetty Images

33. Forging Ahead

Long after Byron and Lamb were done for good, the embittered exes just couldn’t resist screwing each other over. Being dramatic artist types, they did this in utterly insane fashion. Lamb apparently wanted a particular painting of Byron to remember him by, but she knew he’d never give it to her. What’s a lovelorn girl to do? The answer to that question is apparently: forgery.

Lamb forged a bang-on accurate letter of permission from Byron, brought it to his publisher, and took the trinket for herself. And this story isn’t even over yet…

J.D. Salinger FactsPxHere

34. Lost the Breakup by a Hair

Once Byron found out about Lamb’s Grand Theft Artwork, he tried to get the painting back from her for months. Makes sense, I wouldn’t want a creepy ex staring longingly into an approximation of my face, either. Then, to Byron's surprise, Lamb finally agreed to return it—but she had one creepy condition. She wanted a lock of his hair in exchange for the painting. This is when Byron took "sick burn" to the next level.

Reader, he sent over a lock of his new girlfriend’s hair. I want to be mad, but all I feel is respect.

Hystory Bad brakeups FactsFlickr,slgckgc

35. Twice Beloved

One of the wildest rumors about Byron’s love life was that he had an incestuous affair with his half-sister, Augusta Leigh. Having grown apart in their youth, Byron and Leigh later did develop a very "close" bond as adults. Historians are deeply divided to this day just how close these two actually were, but a few experts do suspect that Leigh’s daughter Medora was the fruit of a love affair with Byron.

Messed Up As a Kid FactsWikimedia Commons

36. I Do, I Guess?

It would be an understatement to say that Napoleon Bonaparte’s second marriage started unhappily. He had divorced his beloved but barren wife Josephine and wed this new bride just to get an heir. Right on his wedding day to Marie-Louise, he is said to have bluntly told the blushing bride, "I am marrying a womb". If that doesn't inspire you to write your vows, I don't know what will.

Messed Up Love stories FactsWikimedia Commons

37. Neighborhood BBQs Must Be Awkward

In Victorian Britain, divorce remained a luxury for the rich. Men of lesser means had to reach backwards, far backwards, to escape marriage. In one case, a man used an old English judicial precedent to sell off his wife to the highest bidder (he tried selling off the kids too, but the buyer said no thanks). By all accounts, the wife left happily into the arms of her buyer: their next-door neighbor.

Messed Up Love stories FactsWikimedia Commons

38. Watch Out Boys, She'll Chew You Up

Duchess. Bigamist. Hustler. Crook. Say what you want about her, Lady Elizabeth Chudleigh definitely made an impression. This scandalous courtier was the maneater of the 1770s. She secretly married Augustus Hervey, then after that fizzled out, she tied the knot with another gentleman...without getting a divorce from her first husband.

Yup, our girl was married to two high society gents at the same time. It all fell apart when she was convicted of bigamy, but hey, don't hate the player, hate the game.

Elizabeth Chudleigh FactsShutterstock

39. You Call That a Blade?

When Edward IV of England married Elizabeth Woodville in secret, many had their own take on what really happened. And as with most gossip, the coolest takes had weapons. Some say Edward tried to take Elizabeth by force with a dagger. Others say that Elizabeth wielded the dagger and threatened Edward if he came closer. But that's not even the whole story.

Elizabeth Woodville FactsGetty Images

40. Crazy Ex-Girlfriend: 1400s Edition

Some people think that both versions are part of a smear campaign from Edward's angry ex-girlfriend Bona of Savoy. After Edward rejected her, Bona's envoys spread dark rumors about Edward's relationship with Woodville. It’s a twisted story no matter who cuts it.

Messed Up Love stories FactsThe Hollow Crown,BBC Two

41. Age Is Just a Number

Some couples are hard to love, despite how much they might love each other. Alexander I of Serbia and Draga Mašin were such a couple. She was a widow 12 years his senior and a lady-in-waiting to his mother. Unsurprisingly, Alexander's mom wasn't thrilled about her son's, um, unique taste in women and she didn't keep her disapproval quiet. She didn't know it at the time, but this was a huge mistake.

Messed Up Love stories FactsWikimedia Commons

42. Home State Before Heart

When Alexander heard that his mom didn't approve, he committed a chilling betrayal: He banished his own mother from the kingdom and promptly married Draga. The people of Serbia hated Draga and thought her influence was undermining Alexander's rule. After rumors spread that Draga's brother would be declared the heir to the throne, Serbia’s army had enough, stormed the palace, and slew the star-crossed lovers.

Messed Up Love stories FactsWikimedia Commons

43. Where's Maury When You Need Him?

Catherine the Great and her husband Peter didn't have the best marriage. He was notoriously childish and would rather play with his toys than go to bed with his wife. Not only did Catherine have three kids who were definitely not Peter's, she and her lover hatched an ingenious plot to kick Peter off the throne and get Catherine declared the ruler of Russia. Even worse, soon after Catherine took power, one of her co-conspirators slew Peter in cold blood. Now that's a dramatic marriage.

Catherine The Great factsWikipedia

44. Pays to be her Lover

Catherine was extremely generous towards her lovers. She would give them titles, lands, palaces, and even people, once giving a lover 1,000 serfs. But becoming a lover of Catherine the Great was no easy task. Before sealing the deal, potential suitors had to pass an intimate test. Prospective gentlemen had to first satisfy Catherine's lady-in-waiting, Countess Praskovya Aleksandrovna Bruce. Unsurprisingly, this arrangement made for a lot of drama.

In 1779, an advisor led Catherine into a room where Catherine's latest lover, Ivan Rimsky-Korsakov, was having intercourse with Bruce. The lover was sent into exile, and Bruce followed him. Bruce was relieved of her duties as lady-in-waiting shortly after.

Catherine The Great factsWikimedia Commons

45. A Steamy Collection

Catherine’s public and private images were two very different things. In front of her subjects, she was the pristine Queen, but behind closed doors, she lived a chilling double life. Catherine secretly collected sensually-charged furniture, and even had an sensual cabinet adjacent to her suite of rooms. German soldiers who raided the palace during WII claimed to have stumbled across the steamy boudoir full of furniture, and photographed it. Most of the photographs were lost in the war, and those that remain are believed to be the only surviving evidence of the furniture. They're really worth a Google, you guys.

Messed Up Love stories FactsPxfuel

46. They Work Hard For The Money

Catherine's sensual furniture wasn't the only naughty thing in the Muscovite palaces. The Russian Queen also employed full-time foot ticklers. A long-standing tradition for Russian royalty, foot ticklers would sing steamy ballads while tickling their master's feet to provide relaxation and arousal. And of course, they'd also tickle the feet of any of Catherine's intimate guests...

Catherine The Great factsWikimedia Commons

47. A Mundane End

Gossip had a tendency to follow Catherine wherever she went, and continued to follow her even after her passing. Her enemies at court spread rumors about her demise, with some claiming she’d met her end on the toilet, and others that she’d perished while having, um, relations with a horse. Neither was true: she passed in her bed the day after suffering a stroke, at the age of 67, but the horse story has gone down in history anyway.

Catherine The Great factsShutterstock

48. Mystery at Mayerling

In 1889, the 17-year-old Baroness Marie (Mary) Alexandrine von Vetsera was found apparently shot lifeless alongside her lover, the married Prince Rudolf of Austria, at their Mayerling country hunting lodge. His shooting partner had gotten worried. He broke down the door with an axe, only to find a horrific sight: Rudolf slumped at the bed with blood at his mouth.

His mistress Marie was lying on the bed, lifeless. It seemed like Rudolf had taken Marie's life and then his own; but to this day, the sequence and chain of events leading up to their end remain ambiguous. Although some assumed the prince took his lover's life, recently discovered letters from the Baroness to her mother indicate that she was planning to die alongside the prince "out of love".

Messed Up Love stories FactsFlickr

49. Unsolved Mysteries

The mystery doesn't end there, however! In 1959, Mary’s remains were inspected. Shockingly, the examining doctor, Gerd Holler, found no bullet hole in her skull, but evidence pointed to a demise by violent blows to the head. Holler was now obsessed with the case. He went through the archives of the affair and found that only one shot had ever been fired. 

As a result, he theorized that Mary passed in an accident (perhaps from an abortion), and that Rudolf subsequently took his own life in his grief. The full story, however, goes with them to their graves. 

Messed Up Love stories FactsWikimedia Commons

50. Friend Fiction

Simone de Beauvoir and Jean-Paul Sartre were the French philosophical power couple of the 20th century. They also had an open relationship, where de Beauvoir would take lovers and often "pass" them on to Sartre. One such woman was a young lady named Olga, who did not care to "advance" towards the "Jean-Paul Sartre" phase of this arrangement.

This rejection made Sartre obsessed with Olga, and therefore made de Beauvoir obsessed with Olga. Among other legendary works of feminist philosophy, Beauvoir would pen a story titled She Came to Stay, where her author-insert kills a character suspiciously like Olga, to whom the book was also dedicated.

Messed Up Love stories FactsWikimedia Commons

51. Bang Bang, He Shot Me Down

Few people know that the inspiration for The Great Gatsby still ended in murder. But not Gatsby’s. The famed bootlegger George Remus fell hard in love for Imogene Holmes, whom he later married and let co-run his empire. When she ran off with Remus’s money (and tried to arrange his demise), Remus did not take it well. Remus ordered his driver to steer Holmes’s taxi off the road, and then he fatally shot her.

After pleading "insanity," this pseudo-Gatsby perished with no money, but he also had zero regrets about shooting his Daisy.

Creepy Camping Experiences FactsPiqsels

52. That Is Too Close for Comfort

When it came to his dating pool, Henry VIII of England cast a weirdly short net. All his brides were related to each other, and his first wife, Catherine of Aragon, was actually the godmother of Catherine Parr, his last wife. In an awkward full circle moment, baby Catherine Parr was probably named after Catherine of Aragon. I guess Henry had a type?

English Monarchs FactsWikimedia Commons

53. Odd Couples

When H.G. Wells wasn’t spooking people with his writing, the science fiction novelist was busy having countless affairs in some really odd places. Wells’s repertoire was truly as inventive as his stories. His diverse portfolio of lovers includes novelists, Dutch adventurers, a first cousin (ew), the Soviet spy Moura Budberg, and even the birth control activist Margaret Sanger!

Messed Up Love stories FactsWikimedia Commons

54. Together 4Ever

Few people can forget how Cleopatra of Egypt took her own life rather than be captured by Roman forces. What’s less remembered is how her lover and consort—Mark Antony—went down right beside her. They had met as mere "frenemies" until she convinced the Roman general to join her cooler, steamier, side. And on that side, they met their end.

Elizabeth Taylor FactsGetty Images

55. Stab Your Way to Spousal Privilege

A young Victorian Englishman named James Fauntleroy was once detained and jailed for attempting to kill a romantic rival. In the cover of darkness, a young lady snuck into the jail and married Fauntleroy. That lady was none other than Mollie Downes, aka the very girl that Fauntleroy had fought the man over! As his wife, Downes could not be judicially forced to testify against her lover. This was very convenient...seeing as she was the only person who witnessed the attack.

Messed Up Love stories FactsShutterstock

56. Funeral Hysterics

When the Latin Lover heartthrob Rudolph Valentino tragically passed on at just 31 years old, his fans were inconsolable. Over 100,000 desolate mourners lined the streets outside the church where his funeral service was held and there were even riots. But worst of all, a number of men and women tried to take their own lives when they heard the news. Now that's devotion.

Rudolph Valentino factsGetty Images

57. Unlucky in Love

Valentino's messed up love stories aren't confined to his time in the grave. Trust me when I say he found time in his brief life to make some major romantic mistakes. Valentino impulsively married his first wife, actress Jean Acker, in 1919, two months after they met. While most girls could only dream of landing the famous Hollywood heartthrob, Acker wasn't like most girls...

Messed Up Love stories FactsWikimedia Commons

58. Playing Hard to Get

On Valentino and Acker's wedding night, the bride locked Valentino out of their hotel room and coldly ended the relationship then and there. What led her to such a cruel decision? Well, it turns out that Acker wasn't even interested in men. She got back together with an ex-girlfriend named Grace Darmond soon after she left Valentino. Guys always want what they can't have...

Rudolph Valentino factsWikimedia Commons, James Abbe

59. Not-So-Smooth Sailing

Valentino's second marriage was somehow even rockier than the first. His second bride Natascha Rambova was not popular with a number of Valentino’s friends and the marriage disintegrated to the point where Rambova was eventually banned from his film sets. That bad blood didn’t end when he perished. In his will, Valentino left Rambova an utterly cruel tribute. He bequeathed her one single dollar bill. Ouch.

Mel Gibson factsPixabay

60. It’s Getting Targaryen in Here!

Before he was married, Charles was known to have had several affairs, but the most controversial by far was with Germaine of Foix, his own step-grandmother. It’s long been rumored that Germaine’s daughter Isabel, born in 1518, was actually Charles’s biological offspring. In case you’re creeped out, remember that Germaine married Charles’s grandfather when she was 18 and he was 54. Not only that, Germaine was the grandniece of her royal husband. If anything, getting together with Charles was less icky than her actual marriage!

Charles V factsCarlos, Rey Emperador, Diagonal TV

61. And I Thought I Was Clingy

Juana la Loca (Joanna the Mad) was the Queen of Castile between 1504 and 1516 but was queen in name only, because she was a total mental case. Well, when her husband Philip of Burgundy passed on, Joanna refused to let him go. Literally. Refusing to part with her philandering husband, she viciously clung to the body. She reportedly would open his tomb where she would spend time with him, kissing and caressing his body.

Messed Up Love stories FactsWikimedia Commons

62. When "Til Death Do Us Part" Just Isn't Enough

When her father stepped in to finally bury the body, Joanna ordered it exhumed, leaped at his coffin, and kissed his cold feet. From that moment on, you couldn’t have Joanna if she couldn’t bring Philip. The coffin—thankfully closed most of the time—would accompany her to meals, travels, and even her bed.

Messed Up Love stories FactsWikipedia

63. She's Called the "Mad Queen" For a Reason

Only years later did Joanna finally return Philip to the ground, albeit at a safe distance, i.e., buried right outside of her window. Understandably, Joanna's father had to came out of retirement to act as regent for her during this time, and when he passed on, her son had her declared unfit and locked up in a nunnery for the rest of her life. On the bright side, Joanna’s cheating husband was finally all hers!

Messed Up Love stories FactsWikimedia Commons

64. Confessions of a Middle-Aged Drama Queen

Ada Lovelace was the daughter of the notorious poet/rampant womanizer Lord Byron, and she inherited a few traits from her philandering father, not all of them good. In addition to a sharp mind—Lovelace is often considered the first computer programmer—and a huge gambling problem, Byron's daughter also sure knew how to kick off a bitter breakup.

On her deathbed, she made a mysterious confession. Her husband stormed out of the room and never came back. To this day, we still don’t know what she said.

Ada Lovelace factsGetty Images

Sources: 1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 10, 11, 12, 13, 14, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 20, 21, 22, 23, 24, 25, 26, 27, 28, 29, 30, 31, 32, 33, 34

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