Crime Library: Criminal Minds and Methods

William Randolph's Hearse

His Other Wife

Hearst's affair with Marion was, unlike most other extra-marital affairs of that time, an almost-open book. The two appeared in public frequently, with her hanging onto his arm. But, in true chivalrous fashion, he tried to shield Marion from negative publicity as much as possible by simply not reporting on it. Neither did the rival publications. Hearst was just too powerful an adversary to risk antagonizing. Anyone else would have been fair game, but not him. Reporters and editors of competing publications never knew when the day might come that they would seek a job with a Hearst-owned publication. Or be offered one at a higher salary if they hadn't previously offended him.

Millicent was understandably not happy with her husband's philandering but she said nothing publicly about it, either. Hearst's mega-millions, which enabled her and their children to live like royalty, bought more than 35 years of silence from her. Some reports said he was considering divorce but was dissuaded from doing so by Millicent's potentially high demands for a settlement and the scandal it would cause. Nonetheless, by 1925, the Hearsts were no longer living together. Millicent spent most of her time in New York busying herself with high society functions and charitable causes, while Willie ensconced himself comfortably in California with his mistress.

Amazingly, despite his wealth and power, Hearst had no other romantic involvements that anyone knows about. For three and a half decades, he was steadfastly and singularly faithful to Marion, even while being unfaithful to his legal wife. And even while Marion was probably unfaithful to him.