In 1951, Garland’s career was in shambles. According to People, she had been fired from MGM after 15 years of work and was recently released from the hospital after attempting suicide. Though she had a beautiful young daughter (the talented Liza Minnelli, who later become a full-fledged star in her own right), her marriage to Vincente Minnelli suffered at the hands of her multiple suicide attempts and ongoing struggles with substance abuse.
It was then Garland fell into the arms of another man — but the grass isn’t always greener on the other side of the rainbow. Garland had met Sid Luft when she was just 15 years old, but sparks didn’t fly until 14 years later. In his memoir Judy and I: My Life with Judy Garland [via People], he described the feeling as an “electric force.” Unfortunately, their secretive affair resulted in an unexpected pregnancy.
Garland, who was still married to Minnelli, revealed her pregnancy to Luft while they were working on a show at New York’s Palace Theatre. He treated the news as an inconvenience which pushed the star to secretly have an abortion.
“Because of my negative reaction, Judy didn’t confide in me where and when she was going to have the abortion. I wasn’t attentive. I didn’t send flowers,” he wrote.
Despite the rocky start, Luft and Garland married in 1952, had two children and remained together for 13 years.