Belfast Telegraph

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Getting hitched in Vegas

When Peaches Geldof decided to spring a surprise wedding on her family, there was only one place to go. So what are the odds on her marriage lasting? Tim Walker and Chris Green study the form.

Elvis Presley & Priscilla Ann Wagner

May 1967, Aladdin Hotel

The King was 32 when he married Priscilla, just 21. The long-planned nuptials were held in the suite of the casino owner Milton Prell, a close friend of Elvis's manager. Elvis wore a silk tuxedo and cowboy boots during the morning ceremony, in front of a small gathering of family and friends. At the reception, the couple reportedly danced to "Love Me Tender".

What happened next?

The couple's marriage lasted six years, ending in divorce in 1973. Priscilla gave birth to a daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, who would later indulge in several high-profile marriages of her own, first to Michael Jackson, then Nicolas Cage. Elvis blamed his hectic lifestyle for the break-up of the marriage. He said: "I was travelling too much. I was gone too much."

Richard Gere & Cindy Crawford

December 1991, The Little Church of the West

The year after picking up Julia Roberts on Hollywood Boulevard in Pretty Woman, Richard Gere married the supermodel Cindy Crawford on the Vegas Strip. At the time, they were the most glamorous couple in the world, though they were soon having to take out full-page newspaper adverts defending their marriage.

What happened next?

Gere and Crawford were divorced in 1995. Gere remarried in 2002. He and his wife, the actress Carey Lowell, have a son named Homer James Jigme Gere. In 1998, Crawford married a businessman, Rande Gerber. They have two children.

Britney Spears & Jason Alexander

January 2004, The Little White Wedding Chapel

Spears was 23 and had already sold more than 54 million albums when she got hitched to Alexander, a childhood friend whom she had been dating for a few months. Acting on a whim, the pair took a limousine from their hotel to the chapel and requested that someone marry them. After a trip to the marriage bureau for a licence, the ceremony took place at 5.30am. The pop singer wore jeans and a baseball cap.

What happened next?

The next morning, the couple regretted their decision and arranged for an annulment. The marriage lasted 55 hours, making it one of the shortest-lived celebrity unions.

Frank Sinatra & Mia Farrow

July 1966, The Sands Hotel

Sinatra married his third wife, Mia Farrow, at the Sands Hotel on the Strip – home of the Rat Pack – in the same year that he recorded his famous live album Sinatra at the Sands. Ol' Blue Eyes was 50, Farrow 21. The couple had met filming Von Ryan's Express.

What happened next?

Farrow agreed to appear in Sinatra's 1968 film vehicle, The Detective, shortly after their wedding, but when it became clear that filming would overrun on her most famous picture, Roman Polanski's Rosemary's Baby, she broke the agreement. Sinatra turned up on Polanski's set to serve his wife with divorce papers in front of the assembled cast and crew. The Sands Hotel was demolished in 1996. Sinatra died in 1998, aged 82.

Pamela Anderson & Rick Salomon

October 2007, The Little White Wedding Chapel

Pamela Anderson and Rick Salomon had two things in common: they had both been married before; and they were both the stars of home-made pornographic videos – with former squeezes Tommy Lee and Paris Hilton – that were "leaked" on to the internet. Anderson was performing as an assistant in a Vegas magic show, but slipped away during a break to marry Salomon, following their whirlwind romance. "I paid off a poker debt with sexual favours and I fell in love," said the blushing bride at the time. "It's so romantic."

What happened next?

Anderson rushed back to appear in that afternoon's magic show. The wedding was annulled two months later, with both parties citing fraud.

Noel Gallagher & Meg Mathews

June 1997, The Little Church of the West

The Oasis songwriter and guitarist was at the height of his powers when he married Mathews, a model and cousin of the footballer Matt Le Tissier. The pair met in 1994, with Mathews providing the inspiration for many of Gallagher's songs, most notably "Wonderwall".

The ceremony's soundtrack included "Yesterday" by Gallagher's heroes the Beatles, and a performance by an Elvis impersonator. Noel's tempestuous brother and bandmate Liam did not attend.

What happened next?

The couple's relationship lasted for four years, with a divorce settlement agreed in January 2001, eight months after Mathews gave birth to a daughter, Anais. The split was not a happy one; Mathews revealed Gallagher had admitted to having a fling with his publicist, Sara MacDonald. The musician denied the accusation, saying that he had never been unfaithful to his wife and had made up the story to get the divorce over with quickly. He later married MacDonald.

Paul Newman & Joanne Woodward

January 1958, The El Rancho hotel and casino

Newman's marriage to the actress became one of the most successful unions in Hollywood history. The couple met five years earlier, on Broadway, while Newman was still married to Jackie Witte, whom he divorced in 1957. As a wedding gift, the actor presented his bride with a silver cup engraved with: "So you wound up with Apollo. If he's sometimes hard to swallow, use this."

What happened next?

Newman's film career went into overdrive, with Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid and Cat on a Hot Tin Roof. Although Woodward was undoubtedly less of a superstar, the couple remained inseparable, and celebrated their golden wedding this year. Newman, asked if he had trouble staying faithful, famously replied: "Why fool around with hamburger when you have steak at home?"

Andre Agassi & Steffi Graf

October 2001, at the couple's home

Romance had been blossoming between the two tennis stars since 1999, when they shared a dance after both winning the French Open. The union was sealed at a tiny and secretive ceremony witnessed only by their mothers. Graf was expecting Agassi's child at the time, and the pair reportedly did not want to have a baby out of wedlock.

What happened next?

The couple, now both retired from tennis, live in Vegas with their two children, Jaden Gil and Jaz Elle. In 2006 they launched a range of designer furniture, including a chair in the shape of a tennis ball priced at $1,500 (£750). Their property company, Agassi Graf Development, has ditched plans to build a hotel at the ski resort of Tamarack in Idaho.

Angelina Jolie & Billy Bob Thornton

May 2000, The Little Church of the West

Jolie and Thornton, with five marriages already behind them (Thornton four, and Jolie one – to Jonny Lee Miller), were married in blue jeans at a 20-minute ceremony.

The couple, who met on the set of the film Pushing Tin, demonstrated their commitment to one another by wearing vials of their beloved's blood around their necks. Jolie also had "Billy Bob" tattooed on her upper arm.

What happened next?

They divorced in 2003, with Jolie taking custody of their adopted Cambodian son, Maddox. She said: "Over-night, we totally changed. I think one day we had just nothing in common."

Thornton has since said that marriage "doesn't work" for him.

Peaches Geldof & Max Drummey

August 2008, The Little White Wedding Chapel

Peaches Geldof, 19, wed Max Drummey, 23, the drummer for a US indie band, Chester French. "They held hands and looked eye-to-eye, with him wearing sunglasses," said the minister. The chapel is near the Little Church of the West, where Peaches' parents, Bob Geldof and Paula Yates, wed in 1986.

What happened next?

Peaches flew home to face her father, who had been told of the wedding by phone only minutes before it happened.

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