On April 6, PBS premiered Part 2 of Ken Burns and Lynn Novick’s three-part documentary Hemingway, which gives viewers an in-depth look at Ernest Hemingway’s life and raises a lot of questions about the literary icon’s romantic life and sexuality.
Research shows that before he committed suicide in 1961, Ernest Hemingway was married a total of four times. So, who were Ernest Hemingway’s wives?
Before meeting his other wives, Ernest Hemingway was married to Hadley Richardson.
In Part 1 of Hemingway, we are introduced to Ernest Hemingway’s first wife, Hadley Richardson, who met Ernest at a party in Chicago in 1920. Despite the couple’s 8-year age difference, they tied the knot within a year of meeting one another and moved to Toronto, where they would later welcome a baby boy.
The family would ultimately move to Paris, where Ernest began an affair with Pauline "Fife" Pfeiffer. Reports say that Hadley was aware of Ernest’s affair with Pauline and even asked her to join her and her husband on vacation from time to time, but their arrangement did not stand the test of time. Hadley and Ernest finalized their divorce in January of 1927.
Months after his divorce, Ernest Hemingway married his second wife, Pauline "Fife" Pfeiffer.
If TV was a thing in the 1920s, reports prove that Pauline "Fife" Pfeiffer might have been the greatest reality show villain of all time. Pauline, who was affectionately referred to as the “Devil in Dior,” was reportedly plotting to steal Ernest from his first wife from the beginning.
In Ernest Hemingway’s “Moveable Feast,” Ernest blames Pauline for “using the art of seduction” to “murder” his relationship with his first wife. The couple shared two sons but ultimately divorced 13 years after they married.
If you do the math, you’ll see that Ernest was divorced in 1927, married later that year, and divorced again by 1940. However, reports show that he met his third wife, Martha Gellhorn, in 1936.
Ernest Hemingway married his third wife, Martha Gellhorn, 16 days after his divorce from Pauline.
Ernest and his third wife, who was also a war correspondent, met at a Sloppy Joe’s restaurant and quickly hit it off. Reports described Martha Gellhorn as “blonde, witty, aristocratic, and smart as a whip,” which quickly mesmerized Ernest and ultimately inspired him to divorce his second wife, Pauline.
But it wasn’t long before Ernest found a new mistress who would ultimately become his fourth wife.
Ernest Hemingway finally married his fourth wife in 1946.
Ernest Hemingway and Mary Welsh Hemingway were both married when they met in 1944. The couple went on to tie the knot two years later and lived together in Cuba for 10 years before Ernest fell in love with a younger woman. They eventually rekindled their relationship and settled down in Ketchum before Ernest died in 1961.
Ernest and Mary never had children. In the early years of their marriage, though, Mary suffered a miscarriage.
Tune into the three-night special Hemingway on PBS from April 5 to 7 at 8 p.m. EST.