updated 06/01/2010 AT 12:00 PM ET
•originally published 06/02/2010 AT 8:05 AM ET
It was one of the great love affairs of the last century – a turbulent 20-year odyssey of lust, love and marriage (twice), all in the spotlight of Hollywood fame. Now, Elizabeth Taylor is offering glimpses into her passionate, often painful life with Richard Burton through his love letters to her.
In the letters, excerpted in the July issue of Vanity Fair, Burton, who died in 1984 at age 58, teases and cajoles, threatens and confesses – and tries to come to terms with his infatuation, love and need for Taylor.
“Richard was magnificent in every sense of the word,” the actress, now 78, tells the magazine. “From those first moments in Rome [on the set of Cleopatra] we were always madly and powerfully in love.”