Charlie Chaplin: His Wives and Affairs

Charlie Chaplin: His Wives and Affairs
April 2, 2021 - 20:15 / Lucas Anderson

Many myths surround Charlie Chaplin, the man who revolutionized film comedy in the silent era. But behind the scenes, the movie legend did have a rather complicated personal life. He was married four times and was said to have had many affairs in his lifetime. Here's a look back at Chaplin's relationships.

No one questions Charlie Chaplin's contributions to movie history. But the entertainer's off-screen reputation was a little more complicated. In total, he was married four times and had 10 children, and he has many famous descendants today.

And his view of love wasn't exactly a conventional one. In a 1926 interview with Vanity Fair, Chaplin gave this description of his dream woman: "I am not exactly in love with her, but she is entirely in love with me." His first marriage, to Mildred Harris, confirmed this unusual approach to love.

Chaplin and Harris's two-year marriage, which ended in 1920, was marked by scandals. Harris was only 16 years old when she wedded the 29-year-old Chaplin. They also had a son together, but he died three days after his birth. Divorce followed two years later. 

Charlie Chaplin: His wives and affairs

Chaplin's problematic stories with young women continued. His second marriage was similar to the first: Lita Gray was only 15 when she became pregnant by Chaplin. He had no choice but to marry the budding actress, and a year later they had their second son.

Lita Gray was Charlie Chaplin's second wife

Their divorce in 1927 ended with scandalous headlines. The reason? Chaplin's countless affairs. In her autobiography, Gray later wrote that Chaplin "was a human sex machine" who would make love many times in a night without tiring.

Chaplin's third wife was actress Paulette Goddard. The couple was married for six years, from 1936 to 1942, and the marriage remained childless.

Charlie Chaplin and his third wife Paulette Goddard

Charlie Chaplin's final wife and many children

The press was excited about Chaplin's latest scandal in 1943 when he at age 54 married Oona O'Neill. His bride was just 18 at the time. But the pair remained a couple until Chaplin's death in 1977, and they had eight children together.

Charlie Chaplin with his wife Ooana and children Michael and Geraldine

You can see what became of Charlie Chaplin's many descendants here.