From the beginning, Frida Kahlo and Diego Rivera’s relationship was an exceptional blend of passion and turbulence. Only a few days after meeting, the famous Mexican muralist began an affair with the 18-year-old art student 20 years his junior. Their three-decade love story would go on to become one of the greatest romances in the history of art.
“I did not know it then, but Frida had already become the most important fact in my life. And she would continue to be, up to the moment she died, twenty-seven years later,” Rivera wrote after knowing the adult Frida for only a few days. (Rivera soon recognized Frida as the same young girl who had watched him intently as he painted a mural several years earlier.)
But while they were each others’ greatest loves, they encountered more than a few road bumps throughout their lives together. Rivera was a notorious and unapologetic womanizer; Kahlo responded in kind, conducting illicit liaisons of her own that allegedly included trysts with communist revolutionary Leon Trotsky and famed dancer Isadora Duncan.