Entertainment UK

Diana Rigg’s wild love life with romances from married director to fiery artist


Actress Dame Diana Rigg led an eventful life on and off screen prior to her death at the age of 82.

The iconic star of stage and screen died on September 10 following a private battle with cancer since her diagnosis in March this year.

Famously an independent feminist who championed her own identity, Diana didn’t have the most conventional of relationships for her time.

In the 1960s, Diana spent eight years living with director Philip Saville.

This in and of itself was controversial in these years because Saville was eight years older than Diana who was in her twenties at the time and he was also already married to actress and theatre director Jane Arden.

Saville and Arden had not divorced despite their separation, having two sons Sebastian and Dominic.

English actress Diana Rigg won many hearts in her lifetime

However, despite the stir, Diana flippantly admitted that she had no desire “to be respectable”, according to her biography by Kathleen Tracy, and suggested she was not suited for marriage

She described herself to the Los Angeles Times as a “one man woman” and noted to Oui magazine that she was attracted to men who “intellectually ahead” of her.

Saville was said to have lavished gifts upon her during their romance.

The pair split after eight years but remained on friendly terms.

However, she may have almost found romance with James Bond co-star George Lazenby on their 1969 film On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, in which she played iconic Bond girl – and wife – Tracy di Vicenzo (later Bond).

Film On Her Majesty's Secret Service 1968 George Lazenby
as James Bond 007 with Diana Rigg
George Lazenby with Diana Rigg in 1968

The pair had a fractious relationship as a result of his on-set behaviour

He told Entertainment Weekly: “We were going to have an affair as long as I didn’t mess around with other girls.

“I was screwing around with a girl in the stunt tent, and Diana was walking past and I was busted. So the deal was off.”

Meanwhile, Rigg said she wasn’t impressed with his behaviour on-set.

“He’d really throw his weight around,” she told the Mail.”Oh, he was ghastly, and I had to marry the man!”

Diana found true romance with Israeli painter Menachem Gueffen.


Diana Rigg and painter Menachem Gueffen as newlyweds


The pair’s marriage ended after a fiery 11 months together

The pair met at a dinner party in London and the attraction was instant – finding the ideal intellectual and sexual match, but one fraught with tempestuous and fiery arguments.

On the day they married in 1973, according to People, Diana said: “I have met my match. We fight all the time, but it’s a marvellous, marvellous relationship.”

However, she added: “I give the marriage a year.”

Alas, Diana was right, with the actress blaming her own independence for its end in 1974.

She was supported by Saville with phone calls throughout who said he expected its end but was “genuinely sorry it has happened”.

Diana with second husband Archie Stirling

Thankfully, Diana found a future husband and father to her daughter Rachael in theatrical producer Archibald Stirling.

The pair married in 1982, with their daughter being born earlier in 1977.

Archie and Diana remained married until 1990 when it was revealed that he had had an affair with the younger actress Joely Richardson, then 25.

Despite splitting up they continued to parent their daughter together and remained on good terms, with Diana even becoming great friends with Archie’s new wife Sharon.

Diana Rigg remained happily single after her second marriage ended

Daughter Rachael later said she was glad her parents divorced, telling the Belfast Telegraph in 2015: “Some people ask, ‘would you like them to be together?’ and I wouldn’t because I now have two great relationships.”

Diana proudly remained single for 30 years after her marriage.

She told the Mail in 2016: “If you have a good inner life you don’t get lonely. I’ve got a good imagination. I don’t miss romance. I’m so grateful not to have to go there any more. Does that sound awful?”

Not at all, in fact, it sounds perfectly in character.

Dame Diana Rigg (1938-2020)


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