The much-anticipated documentary, Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind, will be airing on May 5, 2020. The film explores the life, career and death of the famous actress through the perspective of her daughter, Natasha Gregson Wagner, and others who were in her life. As per HBO, it sets about “re-examining her personal and professional triumphs and challenges, which have often been overshadowed by her tragic death at age 43.”
Although many know about Wood’s famous marriage to Hollywood heartthrob Robert Wagner, some people may not realize that the two were actually married twice. They married first in 1957 before divorcing in 1962. After a brief marriage to Richard Gregson from 1969 to 1972, Wood remarried Wagner from 1972 until her death in 1981.
Wood Started Dating Wagner on Her 18th Birthday & They Married the Following Year
Wood told People that she had a crush on Wagner from the moment she first laid eyes on him. “I was 10 and he was 18 when I first saw him walking down the hall at 20 Century Fox,” Wood said. “I turned to my mother and said, ‘I’m going to marry him.’”
Wood went on a first date with the 26-year-old Wagner on her 18th birthday, a date that the studio arranged to boost their profiles. However, the sparks flew and the two married the following year, on December 28, 1957. In a People interview about their first marriage, Wood said it was a “dream marriage” but it was much too publicized for the young couple. “We drove a Corvette across the country. Radio stations would announce we had just passed through, and people would wait for us in every little town.”
The two separated in 1961 and divorced in 1962. Although the true cause of their split was never explained, rumors circled about possible infidelity. Wood told People in retrospect she thinks the problem was that “We knew each other better than we knew ourselves. I always knew he was okay. It was myself I didn’t know about.”
Wood & Wagner Resumed Their Relationship in 1972 & They Remarried Just 3 Months After Her Divorce From Gregson
Wood said that after her separation from Gregson in the summer of 1971, she talked to Wagner on the phone frequently. She finally went to see him on January 26, 1972, and they remarried on July 16, 1972. “We were both in shock,” Wood said of the reconciliation. “We talked about what had happened to our marriages. He had become a man instead of a boy. But we had to have those years apart.”
The two had a daughter together, Courtney, who was born in 1974. Both Wood and Wagner had a daughter each from their previous relationship. The couple was only together for nine years after their reunion, though.
Wagner, Wood and Wood’s co-star at the time, Christopher Walken, went on a weekend yachting trip to Catalina Island during Thanksgiving in 1981. Tragedy struck on the trip, and Wood died on November 29, 1981. She was 43 years old. Her death was originally ruled to be an accidental drowning, but in 2012, the case was reopened and her death was ruled due to “drowning and other undetermined factors.” Wagner was named a person of interest in the investigation in 2018.
At the time, Wagner said: “I lived a charmed life, and then I lost a beautiful woman I loved with all my heart.”