In some length, in the 2014 edition of Sweethearts, a “testimony” from Isabel Eddy is presented about the goings on between Jeanette and Nelson on the day of Jeanette’s wedding to Gene Raymond. After the wedding, Nelson met Jeanette in an upstairs room at Anna MacDonald’s home, where, in front of Gene, Blossom, and Anna, they kissed, before Jeanette asked Gene to “go up to the dining room, and I’ll join you in ten minutes.” She had something very important to say to Nelson.
While Sharon Rich says there has been tremendous speculation on what was said, in the room, I’m figuring that translates to “we wrote a bunch of fan fiction and here’s what we came up with.”
Bigamy. She states that the topic was most likely that the annulment of Jeanette’s marriage to Bob Ritchie had not yet been finalized, thus leaving Jeanette a bigamist. Her reasons include Jeanette having gone to Hawaii immediately following completion of Naughty Marietta, where the annulment presumably took place. Curiously, that is followed with an explanation that a studio would have had such a marriage wiped off the books completely, with no divorce or annulment. Wow, I need to go talk to Gladys Belzer and her daughter, Mrs. Withers, about that one… Anyway, so this annulment, which was supposedly started in Hawaii, in 1935, was not finalized, MGM probably erased the marriage from history, anyway, yet somehow Jeanette is still a bigamist in 1937, whereupon Ann Franklin (or Emily West, depending on the edition of Sweethearts) began blackmailing freaking everyone.
Okay, I have read and re-read what I typed up there. It is exactly what I meant to say in exactly the way I meant to say it, but it still doesn’t make a damn bit of sense. SO let’s go off to the races, shall we?
Starting from the “immediate rush” to Hawaii, we have caught our tale in a blatant lie. Filming for Naughty Marietta wrapped on February 7, 1935. Jeanette left for Hawaii, with Anna, on April 5th. In the meantime, she attended a testimonial dinner for Woody Van Dyke, went to the Oscars with Mr. Mayer, recorded two songs from Naughty Marietta, in English and French, for RCA, and met Gene three times. As some might recall, the Louis Swarts party, where the hostess thought Jeanette and Gene came together was in March. Huuuuge rush to get to Hawaii, am I right?
Another “support” for the bigamy claim is that there is no record of J&G having applied for a marriage license, on the date the papers said. To quote Hollywood Diva, “To avoid public attention, she and Gene made a late night visit to the home of Rosamond Rice, chief clerk of the Los Angeles County Marriage License Bureau. Nonetheless, a couple of representatives caught them in the act and spilled the nocturnal goings-on in the next morning’s papers. Like MacDonald’s birth certificate, her marriage license application has inexplicably vanished.”
So… woohoo, the application is missing. They still had a marriage license, so it had to have been applied for.
Lastly, why in fresh hell would Jeanette Anna MacDonald, professional penny pincher, make a $5,000 bet with Walter Winchell to prove she and Bob were married, if she was going to have to pay? As with 99.9% of the things contained within Sweethearts, about Jeanette, this again sounds NOTHING like the Jeanette we know.
Also it makes no sense.