Many in the Hispanic community regard Rita Moreno as “La Pionera,” which translates directly to “The Pioneer.”
But this was no happy accident. As a Latina in the entertainment industry, Rita Moreno has set numerous records.
She was also one of the first to openly describe her 45-year marriage to her husband as a “extraordinary and successful charade.”
Is Rita Moreno’s 45-Year Marriage a Scam?
Moreno married Dr. Leonard Isadore Gordon on June 18, 1965, and remained by his side until his death on June 30, 2010. During their time together, they had a daughter, Fernanda Gordon.
People didn’t realize her seemingly perfect marriage was not what it seemed until she released her new documentary, Rita Moreno: Just a Girl Who Decided to Go For It, which premiered at the Sundance Film Festival in early 2021.
From the outside, the couple appeared to have discovered the secret mantra for a happy marriage. After all, in an industry where relationships seem to exist in dog years, they’ve managed to stay together for over four decades.
Rita Moreno Opened Up About Her Marriage
Everyone was taken aback when Moreno revealed in the film that her husband disliked her “raucous” laughter and big personality. Instead, she revealed that he was frequently a “controller.”
‘It’s over,’ I thought when he died. I no longer have to answer to anyone.’
The actress, who is one of the few to have received the coveted EGOT, told USA Today that if her husband were still alive, she would not have spoken publicly about their relationship.
Moreno reiterated that she would never have spoken publicly about her husband without his permission.
“I couldn’t do it,” she said flatly.
And it’s entirely possible that he would have responded, ‘What? Are you insane? ‘No, you can’t.’
She explained that the freedom to open up about her marriage was “really very important” to her because the marriage was a charade from her perspective.
Rita Moreno insisted that her husband was an excellent person.
Moreno also admitted that filming the interview about her husband during the documentary’s production was particularly difficult.
Gordon, she insisted, was a wonderful person. It was just that their marriage didn’t work out, and Moreno never realized how desperately she needed to be on her own until it was too late.
Having said that, she had been in a far more toxic relationship before marrying Gordon. She discussed her eight-year marriage to Marlon Brando.
She claimed that as soon as he discovered she was pregnant, he arranged for her to have an abortion. However, the procedure did not go as planned.
It was a close call that left her bleeding for days. She could have died, to be sure.
Rita Moreno Attempted Suicide
She struggled to recover from Brando’s emotional abuse and philandering shortly after filming West Side Story, one of her most iconic roles.
So much so that she attempted suicide by taking sleeping pills.
“It was humiliating, and I let him step all over me,” Moreno admitted. “I wanted to kill myself because I didn’t believe I deserved to live.”
Fortunately, she survived and sought professional assistance.
She thought she was one of the best 89-year-olds she knew at the time of the interview.
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