Actress Elizabeth Taylor, who died on Wednesday in Los Angeles from congestive heart failure at age 79, was, for a few short years, one of our Virginia neighbors.
Former Virginia senator and current Belle Haven resident John Warner was married to the famed Hollywood star from 1976 to 1982.
Taylor and Warner had their first date at a bicentennial dinner at the British Embassy in Washington, D.C., and within six months the couple wed.
The couple married at the Emmanuel Episcopal Church in Middleburg, on Dec. 4, 1976. In addition to Warner's 2,400-acre estate, Atoka Farm, in Loudoun County, Warner and Taylor also lived in a house in Georgetown, at 3240 S Street.
Both before and during their marriage, the couple spent a lot of time at Atoka Farm. According to People magazine, Warner was impressed with how "countrified" Taylor could be, as the actress showed familiarity with farm animals and comfort in a rural setting.
Taylor helped Warner campaign for the Senate in 1978. Although Warner lost the Republican Party's nomination to Richard Obenshain, he later became the candidate after Obenshain died in a plane crash. Through his movie-star looks and marriage to Taylor, Warner became known in Washington as the senator from central casting.
Politics sometimes divided the couple, but Warner said it was the nature of their competitive relationship that gave the marriage strength.
In a disagreement made public at a Republican policy conference in 1980, Taylor supported women registering for the draft, while Warner did not. Although they disagreed, Warner told People the couple wasn't "upset at the least about that."
After effectively killing a bill on the floor through a filibuster, Warner called Taylor—who was in London—at 3:30 a.m. in Washington, "just to try and provoke a response across satellite telephone," Warner told People.
"I've always been a people person, I've never been a partisan," Taylor said in The Washington Post in 1979.
The couple would talk about the issues, but it never escalated into an argument. "And he is the senator," Taylor said at the time.
Taylor's marriage to the busy politician was difficult for the actress, who turned to food and drink to bolster her self-esteem, Taylor later wrote in Elizabeth Takes Off.
"I felt I'd become redundant," Taylor said in the book. "I had nothing to do."
Warner retired from politics in 2008 and currently lives on Fort Drive in Belle Haven with wife, Jeanne, a local real estate agent.
Warner could not be reached for comment.
Georgetown Patch Local Editor Shaun Courtney contributed.