Prev 12 of 29 Next
Sophia Loren & Carlo Ponti
1957-ann. 1962 and 1966–2007: Sophia Loren first met Carlo Ponti, who was 22 years her senior, while she was starting out her career in Rome. Ponti, a 38-year-old married father of two, noticed her in a restaurant and had a waiter slip her a note asking to meet him in the outside gardens. She accepted, and at 19 years old she became his lover. 

"They fell in love, though she realized that part of his appeal was as a father figure. The absence of a father had been the cruel bane of Sophia’s childhood, so in Ponti she found a stand-in, as well as a lover and a husband and an astute manager of her career," Vanity Fair observed. But since the two lived in Catholic Italy, getting a divorce was nearly impossible for Ponti. That's where the 1957 "marriage by proxy" stepped in.

"Ponti had finally secured his divorce in a Mexican courtroom in Ciudad Juárez, and that two lawyers had stood in for Ponti and Sophia, so that they were now married, by proxy. Even Ponti was surprised it had finally happened — they were now, at least in the eyes of much of the world, a married couple. But not in Italy," Vanity Fair wrote. The Vatican condemned the marriage, and a warrant was sent for their arrest. They would spend the next eight years trying to make it legal.