Bette Davis Divorced: “She Read Too Much,” Says Husband (1938)

On Decem­ber 7, 1938, The New York Times report­ed on the dis­so­lu­tion of Bette Davis’ mar­riage with Har­mon “Oscar” Nel­son. The stat­ed rea­son for the divorce? The actress read too much. The report goes on to say: Har­mon “usu­al­ly just sat there while his wife read ‘to an unnec­es­sary degree.” “She thought her work was more impor­tant than her mar­riage.” “She even insist­ed on read­ing books or man­u­scripts when [Har­mon] had guests. It was all very upset­ting.”

Davis lat­er dis­cussed the emo­tion­al gulf that had sep­a­rat­ed the hus­band and wife. She also addressed an affair with busi­ness mag­nate Howard Hughes–something that appar­ent­ly got men­tioned in the divorce pro­ceed­ings but not the pages of The New York Times itself.

via @Tom DC Roberts

If you would like to sign up for Open Culture’s free email newslet­ter, please find it here. Or fol­low our posts on Threads, Face­book, BlueSky or Mastodon. If you would like to sup­port the mis­sion of Open Cul­ture, con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion to our site. It’s hard to rely 100% on ads, and your con­tri­bu­tions will help us con­tin­ue pro­vid­ing the best free cul­tur­al and edu­ca­tion­al mate­ri­als to learn­ers every­where. You can con­tribute through Pay­Pal, Patre­on, and Ven­mo (@openculture). Thanks!

Relat­ed Con­tent:

Albert Ein­stein Impos­es on His First Wife a Cru­el List of Mar­i­tal Demands

The Irre­press­ible Bette Davis Recalls Her Good and Bad Days Kiss­ing in the Movies

1933 Arti­cle on Fri­da Kahlo: “Wife of the Mas­ter Mur­al Painter Glee­ful­ly Dab­bles in Works of Art”

by | Permalink | Comments (2) |

Sup­port Open Cul­ture

We’re hop­ing to rely on our loy­al read­ers rather than errat­ic ads. To sup­port Open Cul­ture’s edu­ca­tion­al mis­sion, please con­sid­er mak­ing a dona­tion. We accept Pay­Pal, Ven­mo (@openculture), Patre­on and Cryp­to! Please find all options here. We thank you!

Comments (2)
You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.

Leave a Reply

Open Culture was founded by Dan Colman.