What Happened to Dean Martin's First Wife?

February 12, 2024

Dean Martin may be best known for his swinging playboy swagger as a member of Frank Sinatra's Rat Pack, but the singer had three wives back to back between 1941 and 1973. His first wife was Elizabeth Anne McDonald, whom he married in 1941 and later gave birth to four children with. They divorced in 1949, and he gained custody of their children. McDonald later died in San Francisco in 1989.

It's unclear what caused the end to their marriage, but it may have been due to Betty's alcoholism or perhaps Martin's infidelities. Whatever the case, the couple's breakup was a major setback for Martin and his career. After he split with Betty, the crooner paired up with beauty queen Jeanne Martin and began making a name for himself as a professional entertainer.

Jeanne married Martin in 1949 and they welcomed three of his children from their first marriage and two of their own, but the pair eventually divorced in 1973. Dean would go on to marry Catherine Hawn shortly after his divorce from Jeanne. The Rio Bravo actor never had a child with his third wife, but the two maintained a close friendship and consulted each other on family matters until their deaths.

Despite the many highs and lows of her relationship with Martin, Jeanne is said to have loved him unconditionally. She helped him to establish his music career, toured the world as a backup singer with him and even appeared in some of his movies. The loving mother of three also made a name for herself as a renowned singer and recording artist in her own right and continues to perform today.

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