Vivien Leigh’s mental disorder reportedly caused her serial infidelity and ruined her life and career



The romance of British actress Vivien Leigh and actor Laurence Olivier was anything but perfect. Despite being married for two decades, the former couple had a toxic marriage.

The Daily Mail reported that Vivien Leigh, who played the iconic Scarlett O’Hara in the movie “Gone with the Wind”, was serial bisexual adulterer.

A new biography has revealed that her marriage to Laurence Olivier was a sham as they both got it wrong a few months after being romantically linked in 1937.

Leaked unpublished memoirs and testimony of at least three of Leigh’s lesbian conquests are revealed in “Damn You, Scarlett O’Hara,” due to be released in the United States.

Reports also said the biography described his desire for gross trade – men picked up from a Los Angeles brothel called Scotty’s who masqueraded as a gas station.

A published source revealed that Leigh and her friend George Cukor drove to Scotty’s in the 1940s and would pick young men for the night.

The source revealed that the couple paid the men with gifts, including cigarette cases, jewelry or stocks and bonds. She asked them to be discreet and not to reveal that they had served her.

Leigh was even kicked out of an Italian hotel once for bringing too many boys from the streets. A source added that she would have been diagnosed with bipolar today because there are drugs that could help her.

However, because things were different back then, people weren’t sure how to deal with a star who once ripped all of her clothes and ran away from her home.

The memoirs are written by Darwin Porter, who knew Leigh in the 1960s, and Roy Moseley, Olivier’s former assistant. The authors had noted this about lovebirds:

“They were both beautiful and both wanted more.”


They revealed that Leigh tortured Olivier further with her things after she became mentally ill, depressed and manic. Besides having adventures, she was also involved with British actress Isabel Jeans and two other women.

Leigh also cheated with co-stars Marlon Brando and Rex Harrison. Before meeting Olivier, the star was married to an older man, a lawyer named Herbert Leigh Holman, at the age of nineteen.

At the time, she was still studying at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts in London. She gave birth to her only child at the age of 23, a girl named Suzanne, but returned to the trade soon after.

While pursuing her career, Leigh fell in love with Olivier, 29, then a rising star, who had left his lesbian wife Jill Esmond for her. Her marriage to Esmond lacked physical intimacy as she preferred women.

However, that did not stop the former couple from conceiving a child. Esmond discovered she was pregnant when she learned of her husband’s infidelity with Leigh in 1936. They welcomed their son Tarquin in August of the same year.


Leigh and Olivier were married in 1940 in front of little guests in California, a year after “Gone with the Wind” led her to a super international celebrity. Olivier noted:

“I couldn’t help myself with Vivien. No man could. I hated myself for cheating on Jill, but I had cheated before, but it was something different.

He explained that it was not lust but love, which he did not ask for but was drawn into. His biographers Terry Coleman and Michael Lunn alleged that Oliver also cheated on other women during his affair with Leigh.

He and Leigh continued to perform together as lovers in 1937 on “Fire Over England” and traveled to Denmark to perform “Hamlet” together. Upon their return to England, they informed their respective spouses that they were ending their marriage.

Soon after, they moved to Iver, Buckinghamshire together, and soon after they spent a month apart when Olivier moved to Hollywood in 1938 because of work.

They wrote love letters to each other during this period, which are now kept in the archives of the Victoria & Albert Museum. Olivier wrote in:

“I woke up enraged with desire for you.”

To whom Leigh responded: “If we only loved each other with our bodies, I guess it would be fine. I love you with so much more than that. I love you with, oh all kind of, with a special kind of soul.”

Later Oliver wrote to his sweetheart again and said she was on his mind and heart the whole time, add, “I only exist until I see you again, and I can only do it.”

Leigh joined him a month later in California, partly because he was there and partly because she wanted to play Scarlett O’Hara.

Seeing that they couldn’t get bored, the duo tried to be together, even professionally. However, that was a challenge as producer David O. Selznick believed it was best for them to keep their romance offscreen until their divorces were finalized.

This wish was granted in early 1940 when their two marriages dissolved in February. The couple walked down the aisle of the San Ysidro Ranch in Santa Barbara in August of the same year.

Although they left their spouses for each other, their marriage, which lasted more than 20 years, fell apart due to extramarital affairs and mental illness.

Leigh developed a drinking problem and her husband got bored of his suffocating ailments instead. English playwright Noel Coward said Olivier seemed unhappy at the time.

Despite the visible cracks within their union, her real downfall came several years later, in 1948, when the couple completed a six-month theatrical tour of Australia. It was at this time that Olivier noticed that he had lost his wife.

Then they met Australian actor Peter Finch with whom Leigh is said to have had a multi-year affair. Olivier hired Finch, and it gave him a reason to move to England.

Meanwhile, Leigh’s mental health deteriorated in the early 1950s, and her husband often found her inconsolable, sitting on the corner of the bed, sobbing in distress.

His manic depression turned out to be an “incredibly evil monster.” Even after confessing to cheating with Finch in 1953, she and Olivier continued to fight for their marriage.

Leigh learned she was expecting in 1956 and quit the play she was in. Tragically, she miscarried the day after her last performance.

The incident triggered a deep depression that lasted for months. It was then that Olivier began an affair with actress Joan Plowright, a married woman 22 years younger.

As Leigh’s emotional instability worsened, in 1960 she threatened to kill herself. She and Olivier eventually separated and their divorce proceedings began in May 1960. They finalized it in December.

Soon after, Olivier, then 53, remarried Plowright, 31, and the couple welcomed a son a year later and two daughters in the years that followed.

In September 2013, Olivier’s secret lover Sarah Miles, with whom he had an intermittent relationship for 20 years, revealed that he confessed to almost killing Leigh.

Miles shared that the Oscar-winning actor told him stories about his ex-wife, including his sanity. She said he had described her in a disturbing and cruel light.

However, Olivier also had a dark side to him, and she revealed that he once told her that before he and Leigh broke up for good, he pushed her to the side during an argument, and she accidentally slipped and fell into the fireplace and hit her head. She noted:

“Larry thought he had killed her. When Vivien returned, he swore that if he didn’t part with her, next time he would surely kill her.

Besides her Hollywood love affair with Olivier, Leigh was best known for her Oscar-winning roles in 1939’s “Gone with the Wind” and “Streetcar Named Desire” (1951).

The mother-of-one has often portrayed women in unhappy on-screen marriages, such as Scarlett O’Hara, Lady Hamilton, and Anna Karenina.

Leigh was born Vivien Mary Hartley on November 5, 1913 in Darjeeling, India. She and her parents resided in this country for six years due to First World War but later returned home to England.


Sadly, Leigh died in 1967 at the age of 53 from tuberculosis after contracting it in Africa in the 1940s. Her daughter Suzanne Farrington also died at the age of 81.

She and her mother had a difficult relationship as Leigh put her career before her and even married Olivier, leaving her and Holman behind.

Moreso, Farrington also lived a private life away from the prying eyes of the public. She was married to Robin Farrington and had three sons together. Suzanne was born in London Rest house October 10, 1933 and died March 1, 2015.


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