Second time around: Ex-spouses reunited

Not so long back, Marshall Mathers III fantasised in rap about killing his ex-wife. Now, though, Kimberley Ann Scott is again Mrs Eminem after a lavish ceremony. What hope is there for couples who break up only to make up and re-marry? Arifa Akbar and Geneviève Roberts investigate
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Eminem & Kimberley Ann Scott

When Eminem turned a fantasy about killing his ex-wife into a hit song, a reconciliation between the pair seemed unlikely.

Yet the childhood sweethearts have overcome "emotional distress", a suicide attempt and numerous court battles to rekindle their relationship - and on Saturday married again. An extravagant ceremony took place at Meadow Brook Hall, a 110-room Tudor-revival style mansion, with vast collections of original art in Rochester Hills, Michigan, on the Oakland University campus with lobster tails and filet mignon on the menu.

Eminem, 33, whose real name is Marshall Mathers III, and Kimberley, 30, were both brought up along the Eight Mile Road in the suburbs of Detroit. Growing up poor with his single mother, the rapper met Kimberley Ann Scott at Lincoln High School in Warren, before dropping out of the school at 17. When Kim became pregnant, it motivated him to provide his daughter, Hailie Jade, with the financial security he had never had, and Kimberley in turn supported him in his attempts to break into rap music. They married in 1999, as he found fame with one of the year's most successful record's The Real Slim Shady LP. Hailie Jade was later to become the subject of a bitter legal tussle when the couple divorced two years later. Before the split, they attempted a number of truces in which they tried to salvage their marriage but their relationship proved too tumultuous.

Eminem first requested a divorce after Kimberley attempted suicide at their Michigan home while he was performing on tour. She retaliated by suing him for emotional distress, citing his violent lyrics that referenced her. The couple later settled the suit and cancelled divorce proceedings, announcing that they would continue to live together but in March 2001, Kimberley's lawyer's filed for divorce, citing "a breakdown of the marriage relationship". In his song "Kim", he fantasised about her death and sang: "You can't run from me Kim, It's just us, nobody else! ... Don't you get it bitch, no one can hear you? Now shut the fuck up and get what's comin' to you..." But in 2004, Eminem announced a reunion with Kimberley and last month confirmed they would marry again. They plan a honeymoon later this year.

Natalie Wood & Robert Wagner

On her 18th birthday, the actress Natalie Wood went on a studio-arranged publicity date with the actor Robert Wagner. She had reportedly had a crush on Wagner, but it was he who was smitten on their date. "Natalie was so beautiful. I fell head over heels in love with her," he recalled. After a year's courtship, Natalie and "RJ", as he was popularly known, married in December 1957. The gossip columnist Hedda Hopper gushed: " Their happiness dazzles you. It's like coming too close to a high-voltage light." But the pressures of married life got the better of Wood, who found herself confused, depressed and in therapy. "My unhappiness was a complete mystery to me. I loved my husband. We were in good health. According to the press we had everything one could desire, but all I felt was torment. I was unable to make a decision of any kind. People had told me what to do all my life, and now I was expected to function as an adult woman, " she said later. The marriage allegedly ended because of the sexual indiscretions of her husband. According to Natasha, The biography of Natalie Wood, she discovered him with another man. (Wagner has denied the incident.) She walked out the same night and in April 1962 filed for divorce. After her short-lived marriage to a theatrical agent, Richard Gregson, Wagner re-entered Wood's life. They met by chance at a party and in July 1972 they remarried on a friend's yacht in Malibu. This time their union was destined to be different. Natalie put her career on hold and gave birth to their daughter, Courtney, while Wagner was the breadwinner with television roles and film work. A decade after they'd divorced, gossip columnists christened Natalie and RJ "Hollywood's dream couple", but their happiness would not last. Wood drowned aged 43 in 1981 after falling from the couple's yacht.

Stan Laurel & Virginia Ruth Rogers

Stan Laurel's screen partnership with Oliver Hardy lasted longer than any of his relationships with his wives. By the time he met his second wife, who was an extra on the film Sons of the Desert, he was 43 and still married to his first. But divorce quickly followed and by the end of 1933 Laurel, pictures centre, had whisked Virginia Ruth Rogers to Florence where they were married. Perhaps it was Ms Rogers' fondness for visiting her husband on set and making suggestions about his next film, but within two years they were divorced. On New Year's Day, 1938, when Laurel began his third marriage to Russian singer Vera Ivanova Shuvalova, Rogers flew out to their honeymoon and informed them that her divorce to Laurel was not final. Shuvalova and Laurel's marriage ended in 1940. A year later, Laurel and Rogers remarried. Their second marriage was tempestuous, with Rogers filing for divorce in 1943, withdrawing the divorce suit and then separating from him again in 1945. In 1946, they left each other for good. Laurel's final marriage was to Ida Kitaeva Raphael, a Russian opera singer. "No more divorces for Stan Laurel," she said after they married in 1946. She was with him until he died days after a heart attack in 1965. Between 1926 and 1950, Laurel and Hardy made 105 films together, and in 1961 Laurel won a Lifetime Achievement Academy Award for his work in comedy.

Sophia Loren & Carlo Ponti

Italy's most famous actress was 15 when "discovered" by the man she would marry - twice. But it took a marriage proposal from Cary Grant to force the hand of Carlo Ponti, Sophia Loren's producer and mentor. It was Ponti who, then 37, encouraged her to change her name from Sofia Villani Scicolone and arranged screen tests for her until she began getting roles in Italian films. The two began a relationship, but Ponti was married with two children. When Loren started work on The Pride and the Passion in 1956, Grant's amour for his co-star spurred Ponti to end his marriage. To get round Italian laws, he ended his marriage in Mexico and married Loren in 1957, three days before her 23rd birthday. But the Vatican denounced his actions and charged him with bigamy. The couple were forced to have their marriage annulled in 1962. The scandal surrounding the relationship led Loren and Ponti to move to France, where they took French citizenship, before remarrying in 1966. The couple, now 93 and 71, have two adult sons, Carlo junior and Eduardo. "If you find the right person to be with, you have to stick to it," Loren said last year. "He has been a pillar all of my life." Loren, who has starred in more than 100 films, received a lifetime achievement Oscar in 1991 and has earned more than £400m. She has said of her looks: " Everything you see I owe to spaghetti."

Lucille Ball & Desi Arnaz

On screen they appeared to be the perfect 1950s couple, but behind the scenes of I Love Lucy, the real-life marriage of the characters Lucy and Ricky Ricardo - played out by Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz - was falling apart. Ball met the Cuban bandleader in 1940 while filming Rodgers and Hart, which was based on the stage hit Too Many Girls. The two hit it off immediately and eloped that year. But when Arnaz was drafted into the army in 1942, later organising and performing shows in Los Angeles for wounded GIs brought back from the war in the Pacific, their relationship hit rock bottom. Ball found out that he had been cheating on her and filed for a divorce in 1944. However, the couple reunited shortly after she obtained an interlocutory decree. In 1948, Ball was cast as Liz Cugat in My Favourite Husband, a radio programme for CBS. The show developed into I Love Lucy, and Ball insisted on working alongside her husband. The show was a way to try to salvage her marriage to Arnaz, which was suffering in part from her hectic performing schedule which often kept them apart. They had two children, Lucie Desirée Arnaz in 1951 and Desiderio Alberto Arnaz IV a year-and-a half later. But children could not glue the marriage together, and by the end of the 1950s Arnaz was beginning to drink more heavily. In 1960, just weeks after filming the final episode of The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, the couple divorced. At the time, Ball described their marriage as "a 19-year nightmare" and her husband as "a Jekyll and Hyde"character. However, they remained friends until Arnaz died in 1986.

Elizabeth Taylor & Richard Burton

He dismissed her as "Miss Tits" and she thought he talked too much. But somehow Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton became one of Hollywood's most renowned on-off couples.

Their love affair began when the pair met on the film set of Cleopatra in Rome, in 1963. After an unpromising start, Taylor one day helped a hungover Burton lift a coffee cup to his lips - and finally lightning struck. The on-screen chemistry translated into passionate real-life romance. Years afterwards, Taylor said: "I don't remember much about Cleopatra. There were a lot of other things going on."

At that point, Burton was her fifth husband, while she was his second wife. At the ceremony in Montreal in March 1964, the 32-year-old Jewish Taylor exchanged vows with her 38-year-old Presbyterian groom in front of a Unitarian Church of the Messiah pastor. The relationship was famously volatile, reputed to be the stormiest in Hollywood, and was reflected in their all-too-real performances in the filmWho's Afraid of Virginia Woolf, in 1966, when they played a couple whose relationship was rapidly unravelling, for which Taylor won an Oscar.

After 10 tumultuous years, they divorced, only to have a secret wedding ceremony in Africa in August 1975, followed by a second honeymoon in Chobe game park in Botswana, 16 months after splitting up. This marriage lasted less than a year, before a second divorce. Although Taylor has had seven significant others (so far) and eight marriages, her relationship with Burton was reputed to be the most passionate, and she was quoted as saying: "Richard is a very sexy man. He's got that sort of jungle essence." He in turn said: "If anything happened to her, I'd die."