At first, Greer Garson and Richard Ney kept their relationship private. Greer was not in the habit of being a secretive person, but she did value her privacy. She was also honoring Mr. Mayer’s wishes that the romantic feelings she had developed for a somewhat younger costar be kept from the public as much as possible.
Not long after filming was completed on MRS. MINIVER, Ney’s movie career would be put on hold when he went off to the war. The distance did not diminish his feelings for Greer, and while he was on a two-day leave from the military in 1943, the couple married. This was Greer’s second marriage. She been married in England, but the union was short-lived. When Mr. Mayer hired Greer, she was still married, but now she had finally obtained a divorce and wed Ney.
Hollywood gossip spun out of control. It was speculated that the marriage would not survive due to the age difference between Greer and Ney. While away at war, Ney had grown a moustache. He did not shave it off when he came back from overseas duty, possibly to make himself look older and more compatible with Greer.
Despite on-going reports of an imminent break-up, the two managed to remain married for several years. They seemed to be happy and still in love around the time of their third anniversary in 1946. However, tales persisted that the couple was about to separate. To quell the rumor mill, MGM’s publicity department arranged for magazine articles to be written and photographers to be sent to the Garson-Ney beach home. The goal was to reassure everyone that the marriage was not in danger of collapse and that it was, indeed, successful. Of course, this would not be the truth.
There were serious troubles, and one of the greatest obstacles was the fact that Greer was more successful than Ney in the industry. In order to advance his own film career, when Ney returned from the war, he left MGM. He immediately found employment at 20th Century Fox and other studios. Perhaps he wanted to get out from under his wife’s shadow?
Tomorrow: Greer is cast with Ronald Colman…Mr. Mayer wants the actress to show off her legs, but not too much.