An icon’s other legacy: The many wives of Mickey Rooney

The iconic world lost a silent film era with the passing of Mickey Rooney, not only as the famous man playing Andy Hardy, but also as a legacy of looking at the lives of eight wives.

Mickey Rooney and Ava Gardner

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On the first day of shooting Broadway on Babes in 1941, Ava Gardner, a Hollywood bombshell, met Rooney when she was still a budding starlet. After I stopped counting, I realized that I knew as many ways as I had asked. Rooney revealed in his 1965 autobiography that he met Ava Gardner on the set of Broadway on Babes on their first day of filming in 1941.

At the time, Gardner, who was only 19, quickly grew tired of Rooney’s wandering eye and decided that the fastest and cleanest way out of the marriage was to cite ‘incompatibility’. Later, she divulged how much of a “risk” it was for her career, considering Rooney’s notorious adultery.

Mickey Rooney and Betty Jane Baker

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In 1944, Rooney, while stationed in Alabama in the military, met Betty Jane Baker, also known as Jane Betty Baker, a 17-year-old aspiring singer and local beauty queen. Their engagement was a mere seven-day whirlwind romance.

Jane Betty, who was literally pregnant and staying at home without any shoes, endured a marriage with Mickey Rooney, a pig-headed and outdated chauvinistic man. This marriage lasted for four years and resulted in the birth of two children, Tim and Rooney Jr., As documented by all accounts. However, the reality was far from blissful.

Jane Betty announced her intention to divorce Rooney, citing “mental cruelty,” just a month after the birth of their second son in 1947.

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Mickey Rooney and Martha Vickers

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Jane’s ex-husband Betty officially became a husband to Martha, the actress, after only six hours. Rooney wasted no time in making things official with his third wife.

Rooney was quoted in the 1993 Weekly People saying, “Martha couldn’t go on and drank too much. Years later, he told me that his tune had changed and there was something wrong with me. If I make one thing clear, it’s that I don’t have a wonderful girl; I’ve got married. Although he told the El Paso Herald-Post that this happened last year.”

Vickers divorced Rooney in September of 1951 on the basis of “extreme cruelty.” The couple had one child together, Theodore Michael Rooney.

Mickey Rooney and Elaine Devry

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In November of the same year, Vegas Las, he got married and met Jeannie Devry at Woodland Hills driving range. He appeared on popular television series such as Bonanza and films like The Kid Atomic, starring alongside actress Elaine Vickers, whom he later divorced. Rooney landed his fourth wife, a lothario after Vickers, in a year.

Their relationship was reportedly rocky, as Devry Rooney said that Living with Mickey is not the best. Among the allegations of Rooney’s rumored gambling addiction and extracurricular adulterous activities, they separated in 1957. The divorce was finalized the following year, and Rooney stated that he can’t be wrong about his six wives.

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Mickey Rooney and Carolyn Mitchell

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Rooney officially terminated his previous marriage after a few hours, and in May of the subsequent year, he publicly wed the couple. At the end of 1958, he secretly eloped with Carolyn Mitchell, an actress who used the stage name Barbara Ann Thomason, after his fourth unsuccessful marriage. However, Rooney claimed that they obtained “authorization” from his former spouse.

Milos Milos, who was alleged to be Mitchell’s lover, filed for divorce in 1966, citing mental cruelty. Ultimately, they reconciled briefly. Although they briefly reconciled, there were signs of marital discontent that led both parties to consult divorce lawyers. Mitchell and Rooney had four children: Sue Kimmy, Joseph Michael, Kerry Ann, and Kelly.

Unfortunately, Milos tragically ended Mitchell’s life in a murder-suicide incident in Los Angeles in 1966. Mitchell was merely 29 years of age.

Mickey Rooney and Marge Lane

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After the senseless death of his former spouse, Rooney, Lane found comfort in the dear friend Marge Mitchell’s. Only 100 days after that, the two headed to Vegas for a quickie wedding.

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Mickey Rooney and Carolyn Hockett

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The divorce of Hockett in 1975 served as the foundation for financial instability. During their marriage, Hockett and Rooney adopted their daughter, Jimmy, and also had a son. After the couple divorced, Carolyn Hockett became a single mother at the age of 23. In 1969, she married the actor Rooney, which marked his departure from women in the film industry.

Mickey Rooney and Jan Chamberlin

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Chamberlin, a music teacher and singer, had an impressive 18-year career before meeting Rooney. Hockett, who was much younger than Chamberlin, married him after his divorce. Despite still being married to Hockett, Chamberlin pursued Rooney. And here’s the kicker – Chamberlin met his eighth wife, Jan Rooney, at a party in 1974.

Chamberlin discovered her husband’s passing through the internet and disclosed that she hadn’t laid eyes on him for almost a year. After enduring a series of chaotic years due to Rooney’s claims of mistreatment from Chamberlin’s son, Christopher Aber, the pair decided to part ways in May of 2013.