The 5 Most Epic Love Triangles Of All Tme

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Photo: Vierfolg, pixabay, praetorianphoto via Canva The 5 Most Epic Love Triangles Of All Tme

It takes a hell of a woman to be in the middle of a love triangle. It’s not every female who can handle being at the center of an intense game of tug of war with hearts (and sometimes lives!) at stake.

Take Mary, Queen of Scots, for example.

Her tempestuous love triangle is central to the plot of Reign, a CW drama about the very infamous Scottish queen herself, along with her intended betrothed and his brother, and while the triangle in Reign was strictly made for TV (and was certainly juicy enough to fit the bill), there were plenty of other real-life love triangles throughout history that were just as scandalous. 

RELATED: 6 Celebrity Relationships That Started With A Major Scandal

Here are the 5 most epic love triangles throughout history:

1. Cleopatra, Mark Antony & Julius Caesar

First off, there’s the extraordinary Cleopatra. What she and Mark Antony had was more of a quadrangle than a triangle, considering they carried out their passionate affair in spite of not one, but two of Antony’s wives. Here’s how it went down: Cleo first met the married Antony in Rome while mourning the death of another lover, Julius Caesar. Antony was so captivated by the exotic Egyptian queen that he followed her back to Egypt, where he became her love slave.

Meanwhile, back in Rome, Antony’s jilted wife, Fulvia, was raising hell with the current administration, now headed by the Roman general Octavian, to punish Antony for leaving her. Antony returned to Rome to try to smooth things over with Fulvia and the general, but she up and died before he could, leaving Antony in kind of an awkward spot with Octavian. So Antony did what any good Roman soldier would do, he married Octavian’s sister, Octavia, and promptly impregnated her.

Coincidentally, back in Egypt, Cleopatra was giving birth to Antony’s twins and was also mad as hell at being left. Antony, regretting his hasty marriage to Octavia, hastened to return to his beloved’s arms. Unfortunately, Octavian followed close behind and was determined to defend his sister’s honor, bringing all his military forces to bear on the lovers. Separated and fearing capture by the Romans, Antony, and Cleopatra took their own lives, each mistakenly believing the other was already dead. Shakespeare could not have written it any better. 

2. Helen of Sparta, Menelaus & Paris of Troy

Helen of Sparta (now Greece) was another gutsy woman who became entangled in a passionate triangle. Said to be extraordinarily beautiful, she was married at 17 to a much older man named Menelaus, whom she was not too fond of. So when handsome, young Paris of Troy (now Turkey) showed up and told Helen that she had been promised to him by the Gods, young Helen was beyond thrilled.

As soon as her husband left town, the two escaped to Troy, where they lived happily ever after, until the day a very ticked-off Menelaus came to retrieve Helen — and brought an army as a backup. Soon Troy was engaged in a brutal war with Sparta that lasted ten years. Helen of Troy, as she will forever be known, is pretty much universally blamed for the conflict and the horrendous loss of life, but some historians say she really didn’t give a fig because, in the end, she got her man.

3. Martha Ray, Earl Of Sandwich & Reverend James Hackman

Then there’s a woman named Martha Ray, a British commoner who was the longtime mistress of the Earl of Sandwich, a high mucky muck in the court of England’s King George. The third person in the triangle was the Reverend James Hackman, a learned man who was crazy in love with Martha. Things took a decidedly tragic turn for the three when Hackman, rebuffed by Martha, blew her brains out one night as she left the theater (the Earl was working late).

The whole thing was an ugly mess, but the powerful Sandwich, ever mindful of his royal reputation, hushed the story up Poor Martha was eventually forgotten, but Sandwich’s and Hackman’s legacies live on Sandwich for, well, you know, and Hackman for being the first patient with a documented case of erotomania — love’s madness.

4. Etta Place, Butch Cassidy & The Sundance Kid

Etta Place is another name you might not recognize unless you are a fan of Katherine Ross, who played her in the movies.

Etta, whose real name was believed to be Ethel Bishop, was the woman in Butch Cassidy’s life before she became the woman in the Sundance Kid’s life, and is said to have alternated between the two depending on her mood. It was a cozy existence, except for the fact that she was the mistress of two wanted outlaws who had to flee their home or face hanging.

Etta supposedly met Butch and Sundance in a brothel in Texas, but later married Sundance and took his mother’s maiden name, Place, as her own. She was said to be beautiful, an accomplished equestrian, and a great shot. And she was smart, smart enough to handle two men at once, rob a couple of banks, and live to tell about it, while the two men in her life, sadly, did not.

5. Edwina Mountbatten, Lord Louis Mountbatten & Jawaharla Nehru

Edwina Mountbatten’s tale has a happier ending. She was the wife of Lord Louis Mountbatten (yes, the same one after Kate and Will’s little Prince George Alexander Louis is named), who was the highest-ranking British naval officer after World War II when Britain was still occupying India.

Though Edwina’s marriage looked rock-solid from the outside, she was known to have had many lovers, one of them being Jawaharlal Nehru, the brilliant man who would become India’s first prime minister.

But here’s where it gets kinky. It turns out that Nehru was also a bit of a swinger with a taste for exotic sex, and it was even rumored that Edwina, her husband, and Nehru all shared a bed at times. Despite, or perhaps because of the ties between the three, this triangle endured long past the time India gained its independence from Britain, ending only with Edwina’s untimely death at 58.

As we said, it takes a hell of a woman.

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Wendie Pecharski is a freelance writer and copy editor who has appeared in  Cosmopolitan, Glamour, Martha Stewart Weddings, Travel + Leisure, Modern Bride, and many others.

Source: YourTango


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