Dylan and Caitlin Thomas
Dylan Thomas's marriage to Caitlin (née MacNamara) was crowded by the presence of lovers, both his and hers. Yet when the poet first encountered his pretty future wife, in 1936, both were certain they had met the one - and neither ever quite gave up that conviction. After marrying in 1937, Caitlin gave birth to a baby boy; she would fall pregnant again several times, and have a number of illegal abortions. The couple produced three children in total: Caitlin looked after them while Dylan wrote, and is said to have resented her husband for curtailing her own artistic abilities. The two had an increasingly destructive relationship; an inscription in one of his poetry books read: "From Dylan to Caitlin. Adoringly - in spite." She was frequently unfaithful with local men; for his part, Dylan toured US universities reading poetry and sleeping with dozens of women. Yet when he finally drank himself to death, aged 39, Caitlin fell apart and had to be institutionalised. Later, she would write lyrically to him: "Oh God, oh Dylan, it must be cold down there... if only I could take you a bowl of your bread, and milk, and salt, that you always drank at night, to warm you up." A messy romance, in short, but a fervent one.