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Robert Wagner's Wife of 32 Years Felt Jealous of His Ex Natalie Wood — Inside His Longest Marriage

Junie Sihlangu
Apr 04, 2022
06:00 P.M.
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Robert Wagner and his current wife, Jill St. John, have been together for more than three decades; however, she never stopped feeling jealous of his former wife, Natalie Wood. The reason could be how Wood died.

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In a February 2009 Daile Mail article, Robert Wagner opened up about his relationship with his former wife, Natalie Wood. He shared how they met during a chance meeting in the spring of 1949.

Wood, then-10, passed Robert, then-18, in a studio hallway for about a minute at Fox, where they were both filming. According to Wood, she told her mother mid-walk that she and Robert would get married one day even though they never spoke.

Robert Wagner and Jill St. John posing for an image for the film "How I Spent My Summer Vacation," in 1967, and with Jill St. on December 2, 1988, in Paris, France. | Source: Silver Screen Collection & GARCIA/Gamma-Rapho/Getty Images

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Century Fox studios set up a meeting in 1956 between Wood and Robert to gain publicity for the actress. The duo's attraction was so intense that the actor proposed to her with a pearl-and-diamond engagement ring in Wood's champagne glass.

A year later, the couple was married. Sadly, in 1961, the "Rebel Without a Cause" actress and her husband separated before proceeding with a divorce the next year while rumors swirled around.

Robert Wagner and Natalie Wood posing together on April 23, 1972. | Source: Chris Wood/Daily Express/Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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One of the rumors was that the actress had an affair with co-star Warren Beatty while they worked together on "Splendor in the Grass." Another one was that her husband was found in an immoral position with another man. 

Ultimately, in 1963, Robert remarried actress Marion Marshall, and they had a daughter, Katie, the following year but divorced in 1971. Wood got married in 1969 to film producer Richard Gregson, and they also had a daughter, Natasha, born the following year.

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They separated a year later after Natasha said her mother overheard an inappropriate conversation between her father and his secretary, and the marriage ended in divorce. In 1972, three months after her second divorce, Wood and Robert remarried.

The couple later bought a 60ft boat which they named the Splendor, after one of Wood's films. In November 1981, the pair took the boat to Catalina for Thanksgiving and invited the actress's "Brainstorm" co-star, Christopher Walken.

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They all took a nap after lunch on their second day, but his wife and Walken were gone when Robert woke up. A note by Wood revealed she and her co-star had gone to a restaurant on the island.

Robert found this agitating and promptly joined the pair. They returned to the boat's salon later and drank some more, and Walken mentioned how his career was more important than his personal life and thought it should be the same for the actress.

Christopher Walken at the premiere of "Seven Psychopaths" on October 1, 2012, in Westwood, California. | Source: Jason Merritt/Getty Images

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Robert got angry and demanded Walken stay out of his wife's career, and the duo got into an argument. Wood left mid-argument to go to the bathroom of the master cabin, and the last time her husband saw her was when she was fixing her hair.

She then shut herself in the room, allegedly going to bed. When Robert checked on his wife, she wasn't in the room, and the dinghy next to the boat was gone, although Wood wasn't a fan of dark and deep water.

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Robert couldn't find his wife at the restaurant and got the Coast Guard involved in the search. The dinghy was finally discovered at 5:30 a.m on an isolated cove, and Wood's dead body was found two hours later. 

The actor blamed himself for his wife's death, which was ruled an accident, as he felt he could've been there and done something. In 2019, then-89, Robert was still fielding accusations that he was involved in Wood's death

MARRYING JILL ST. JOHN

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Not long after the "Hart to Hart" star lost his wife, he fell for former Bond girl Jill St. John. The couple was married in 1990, after starting a friendship in the 1960s when they met as young actors at Fox Studios.

St. John also knew Wood as they were classmates at the Panaieff Ballet Center years before. When the "Diamonds Are Forever" actress heard Robert had lost his wife to accidental drowning, she was saddened by the news.

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She sent Robert a note and flowers and met up with him at a dinner party two months later. The pair bonded because St. John could relate to his grief as she'd lost her ex-husband, Lance Reventlow, in 1972 in a tragic plane crash. 

After meeting at the party, the duo stayed in touch and eventually started dating. They married eight years later, in 1990, during a small and private family celebration at Robert's Pacific Palisades, Los Angeles home.

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Robert, then-60, and St. John, then-49, had Katherine serving as their maid-of-honor. While their daughters, Natasha and Courtney Brooke, were bridesmaids, Robert's mother and sister and St. John's mother all attended.

After Jack Jones, Reventlow, and Neil Dubin, the actor became her fourth husband. Before Reventlow died, he remarried Cheryl Holdridge with 600 guests attending their Westwood Community Methodist Church ceremony.

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In a 1987 joint interview with Robert, St. John opened up about their successful marriage. The actress revealed that she cooked expensive and healthy meals for her husband that was mainly poached or steamed.

The pair seemed to have a fun and healthy relationship, with St. John noting that he was a "fine-looking man with a fine mind." Robert felt the media attention they got as a couple was complimentary. 

JILL TAKES ON THE STEPMOM ROLE & DAUGHTERS TACKLE MURDER ACCUSATIONS

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St. John gracefully took the role of stepmother after Wood's death. She's committed herself to the lives of Natasha, Courtney, and Wood's stepdaughter, Katherine, while the late actress's biological children continue standing by their father.

In the 2020 documentary, "Natalie Wood: What Remains Behind," Natasha confessed that she and her family had been advised not to talk about her mother's death for years. She seemed to speak to Robert's innocence in Wood's death, saying:

"I know that if my mom had been in any kind of distress, he [Robert Wagner] would have given his life for her.”

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Natasha also noted that after her mother died, when she'd look at Robert from a distance, like her bedroom window, she noticed "there was a heaviness and a sadness to him that hadn't been there before."

The area was one of the places the couple [Jillian St. John and Robert Wagner] decided to settle in together. 

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Courtney also defended Robert over Wood's death admitting how angry she became about the terrible things said about him. She felt her family was exploited, and it made her protective over him because of how much she loved him.

Despite having lost a mother in Wood, the half-sisters, Katherine and Natasha, luckily had a female person to lean on. In 1982, St. John revealed that she and Robert's children got "along beautifully."

ROBERT AND JILLIAN'S LIVES NOW

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In 2013, St. John and Robert had been together for 23 years. The couple showed how much they still loved each other during a romantic lunch date as they stepped out wearing coordinated outfits in Beverly Hills.

In 2018, the couple was interviewed for "Legends of Aspen," where they spoke about how they discovered Aspen, Colorado. The area was one of the places the couple decided to settle in together. 

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Robert and St. John made their 7.5-acre Aspen estate a permanent home in 2007. The actress first settled there in the 1970s, leaving her husband to warm up to the place as his forever home because he ended up loving it.

The actor said he'd like to be buried there because of how peaceful and pure it was. Besides Aspen, the pair also once owned a 1.6 acre home in Brentwood, Los Angeles.

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