Elizabeth Taylor was known for captivating audiences with her sultry on-screen persona, violet eyes, and tumultuous relationships, but what was the legendary actress like at home? See inside her childhood house, meet her adorable pets, and check out some of the luxe places she lived during her eight marriages. With her incredible fashion sense, it’s only natural that her taste in home decor was just as elegant. These photos will give you a sense of how the star lived when the cameras weren’t rolling.
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A 2-year-old Elizabeth Taylor smiles with her mother, actress Sara Sothern, and her brother, Howard. She was born in 1932 in an area known as London’s Hampstead Garden Suburb, where she lived in Heathwood, her Georgian-style childhood home, until 1939.
Liz’s older brother, Howard, also entered showbiz, though at a much older age than his sister. He earned his first credited acting role at 30 in ITV’s 1959 series Television Playhouse. Though he continued to act, he remained a relatively private figure.
Liz and Howard pose with their cats, Jeepers and Creepers, in their backyard. “I worshiped Howard as a child—and still do,” the actress wrote in her 1965 memoir. “He’s totally unsuperficial, totally unmaterialistic, the most real person I’ve ever known. In our kind of world that’s like a breath of fresh air.”
Once the tensions of World War II began, her parents moved the family to California to a house in Beverly Hills, which is where she’s seen sitting here with her mother.
The family’s Beverly Hills home was built in 1929 and had five bedrooms. Here, Elizabeth makes hamburgers in the home’s kitchen with her mother, a stage mom who was very involved in her daughter’s career.
Elizabeth lived in the Beverly Hills home with her family until she got married at the age of 18. Pictured, the actress cuts into a celebratory cake in her family’s dining room.
Here, she’s all smiles at the dinner table in her backyard.
The young actress loved dogs from an early age. One of her breakout roles was 1943’s Lassie Come Home. For her 60th birthday in 1992, Elizabeth was gifted with a puppy that was a great grandchild (seven generations back!) of Pal, the dog who played the original Lassie.
Elizabeth had many pets over her lifetime, including these sweet cocker spaniels. One of their names was Amy, after her character in Little Women.
Liz and her mother look over sheet music at the piano in their Beverly Hills home.
At just 18 years old, Elizabeth married Conrad “Nicky” Hilton Jr. They moved into a temporary home in Brentwood, California, pictured here.
MGM paid for her wedding to Hilton, marketing it alongside her 1950 film, Father of the Bride. Only a few months later, she divorced the hotel heir, citing his alcoholism, gambling, and alleged abusive behavior.
Life after divorcing Hilton was difficult. According to biographer Alexander Walker, MGM wasn’t happy that their marriage ended and punished Liz by casting her in 1952’s Love Is Better Than Ever. The flick was considered a “B-picture” and wouldn’t reach the level of popularity that she was used to.
Despite experiencing heartbreak during her first marriage, Elizabeth was determined to find love. In a 1988 piece for PEOPLE, she admitted she saw marriage as a way to transition into adulthood. “I was then and am now an incurable romantic,” she wrote. “I am sorry I did not fully understand the reasons driving me into early matrimony. At the time I just knew I ached to become a real woman, a wife.”
Art was a big part of Liz’s life, since her father was an art dealer. When they moved to California, he opened a gallery—which is also where she was first discovered. Her homes were always filled with elaborate paintings and she collected pieces from Van Gogh, Pissarro, Degas, Renoir, and Gris.
While she was known for her opulent costumes, red carpet looks, and gorgeous sense of style, this closet in the star’s home in the ’50s was surprisingly average in size.
However, the items stored in her closet were anything but average. “I adore wearing gems, but not because they are mine. You can’t possess radiance, you can only admire it,” she once said.
Elizabeth showcased her personality in her decor. Her love of horses was strong in this area of her home, with figurines on the dresser and paintings hanging on the wall.
Shortly after her divorce, Elizabeth married British actor Michael Wilding. Here, they play around on their piano together.
The actress and her second husband—20 years her senior—welcomed son Michael Jr. in 1953. Here, they stand outside their London apartment near Grosvenor Square.
Baby Michael’s nursery was a muted yellow. The floral curtains and blue blanket added pops of color to the otherwise neutral space.
Elizabeth, seen here holding Michael Jr. on their family sofa, took a lot of pride in being a mother. “I have never felt more alive than when I watched my children delight in something,” she told Kim Kardashian for Harper’s BAZAAR.
Two years later, they welcomed son Christopher. Her son told The Hollywood Reporter that, while growing up, he was allowed to play with his mother’s Golden Globes—but not her Oscars. “I guess the Globes didn’t have as much cachet as they do now.”
By the late ’50s, there were rumors that Wilding was jealous of Elizabeth’s growing fame. Sadly, in 1957, they divorced.
Soon after her second divorce was finalized, she married film producer Mike Todd. Here, they sit inside their chic Los Angeles living room. The marble table and geometric print on the couch show how her taste in decor had evolved with the times.
Later that same year, the couple welcomed daughter Liza Todd, who’s remained extremely private throughout her entire life, despite having two famous parents.
Tragically, one year into their marriage, Mike was killed in a plane crash that nearly took the actress’ life as well. Elizabeth was supposed to be traveling with him that day, but decided not to after catching a cold. In one of her final interviews, she shared: “I was happiest with Mike Todd.”
Liz eventually returned to her roots, buying these adjoining homes in Hampstead, London for herself and her son, Michael Jr.
Liz looks like the epitome of a screen siren in 1987, perched in her glamorous Los Angeles home with wooden doors, opulent chandeliers, and a plush white couch.
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