THERE'S an old saying: if at first you don't succeed, try, try, and try again. That adage most certainly applies to Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor, one of the most celebrated couples of the 20th century.

Forty-five years ago today, on October 10, 1975, they married in secret in a remote village in Chobe National Park in Botswana. It was the second time the pair had married each other; like the first, it was to end in divorce.

The pair had gained worldwide fame – and notoriety in the eyes of many – when they began their love affair while filming Antony and Cleopatra in 1961. Taylor was already on her fourth marriage, to Eddie Fisher, whom she had "stolen" from Debbie Reynolds in one of the biggest celebrity scandals of the 1950s; she had four children at the time. Burton was married to Welsh actress Sybil Williams, mother of his two children. Their passion for each other was to make the front pages for years to come.

Antony and Cleopatra was finally released in 1963, by which time Burton and Taylor had travelled to Britain to make the Terence Rattigan film The VIPs. They are pictured right on a visit to the Palace of Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh; above, they have ringside seats at the Wembley Arena for the epic fight between Henry Cooper and Cassius Clay.

The pair married for the first time in March, 1964 at the Ritz-Carlton in Montreal. They divorced in June 1974. Their time toghther – and apart – was peppered with fights, splits, reconciliations, bouts of heavy drinking, tantrums and lavish spending – including, most famously, a diamond ring purchased by Burton for $1.5 million.

Burton died of a brain haemorrhage in 1985; Taylor of congestive heart failure in 2011.

Between them, and not counting each other, they had nine spouses. But each had the other in their heart until their dying day. We will likely never see their likes again.