THE COUPLE: Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn
THE STORY: Released in 1942, Woman of the Year marked not only the beginning of an astonishing on-screen partnership that yielded nine films, but also an equally remarkable off-screen relationship that lasted more than a quarter of a century. Both Hepburn and Tracy entered into this enduring union with plenty of baggage. Hepburn wed a businessman when she was 21 and divorced him four years later—she often stated that she enjoyed being single. Tracy married actress Louise Treadwell in 1923, but moved out of the house 10 years later and had numerous affairs before he met Hepburn.
WHAT BECAME OF THEIR RELATIONSHIP: Though leading a life quite apart from Louise Treadwell and their two kids, Tracy never asked for a divorce—an arrangement that seemed to suit Hepburn just fine. While thoroughly devoted to each other, Tracy and Hepburn lived in separate residences and only moved in together during Tracy’s final years.
KATHARINE HEPBURN: (on why the twice-married actress never remarried—or wanted children) “Being a housewife and a mother is the biggest job in the world, but if it doesn’t interest you, don’t do it. I would have made a terrible mother.”
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