The End of Ernest and Pauline Hemingway's Marriage
After Ernest Hemingway's relationship with Martha Gellhorn came to light and the two began to openly live together in Cuba, Pauline Hemingway did what she could to try to save her 13-year marriage with her husband. Yet despite her reluctance to grant him a divorce, on September 3, 1939, Hemingway told Pauline he was leaving her.
- [Narrator] Ernest returned from time to time to Key West
to see his children during the school year
and to see if he and Pauline could somehow make it work.
Over their fifteen years together,
thirteen as a married couple,
Hemingway had risen to a kind of fame
no American writer since Mark Twain had enjoyed.
All that time, Pauline had devoted herself to his wellbeing,
often acted as his editor,
and she and her family had provided
financial support between books.
But in the end, none of it would seem to matter to him.
(fishing reel cranks)
- When people want to go away,
there are two things attached to it.
One is adventure
and new things: new sights, new scenes, danger, whatever.
Well, the other,
which I believe - again, it is only my hunch -
is to escape his own family.
Writers do. They have to.
- [Man] Men want someone new, or someone younger,
or someone that they shouldn't have,
or someone that looks like someone else.
The better you treat a man,
and the more you show him you love him,
the quicker he gets tired of you.
- He says to Pauline, you took me from Hadley,
and now Martha is taking me from you.
What goes around, comes around.
Live by the sword, die by the sword.
And I think that was a really wrong thing to tell Pauline.
I mean, Pauline made possible some of his best work,
and she's his best reader.
- [Narrator] As a Catholic,
Pauline was reluctant to grant Hemingway a divorce.
There were angry accusations from both sides.
Gregory remembered shouting in other rooms, doors slamming,
Mother scurrying out of their bedroom, crying.
- You know, by 1939, it was just coming to an end.
The pattern in our family was to drive out from Florida
to the west, and it took quite a while.
And they had tremendous arguments.
I remember driving, you know, which road to take;
just on each other all summer long.
They were still nominally together, you know,
but he was really pulling out.
- On September 3rd, 1939,
two days after Hitler's forces invaded Poland,
starting the second World War,
Hemingway finally told Pauline he was leaving for good.