Elizabeth Taylor's ex-husband Larry Fortensky has intentionally kept himself out of the spotlight for many years but is now speaking out about his life with the Hollywood legend.
In an interview with London's Daily Mail
, Fortensky reveals that he would speak with Taylor on the phone at least twice a month -- the last time being the day before the actress went into the hospital for the last time before passing away last month.
"She was going into hospital the next day. I thought she was going to be OK. I told her she would outlive me. She said, 'Larry, I’m going to be OK.'" He says a few days later he learned of her death on TV. "I was so shocked. I was so sure she would get to go home and I would talk to her once again."
Taylor met the twice-divorced construction worker who was 20 years her junior during her highly publicized stay at the Betty Ford Center in 1988. The two were married at best friend Michael Jackson's Neverland Ranch in 1991 and divorced in 1996. He left the marriage with about $1.6 million.
Fortensky tells the Daily Mail he decided to come forward now and speak about his relationship with Taylor because of recent media reports alleging he had begged Taylor for money and that she was refusing to speak with him. "I am sick and tired of the lies. I have wonderful memories of my time with Elizabeth and I will treasure her memory forever." Fortensky says he never asked Taylor for a penny and that Taylor "honored" their ongoing friendship by leaving him more than $800,000 in her will.
Fortensky says he still treasures mementos from what the time period he now refers to as "my old life." He shares a photo from 1992 showing Taylor lying in the snow: "That was on a trip to Switzerland the year after we married. We were in bed and she sat up and said, 'I want to make a snow angel.'" She then quickly got up and grabbed a fur coat and put it over her nightdress. "I chased her outside and she fell in the snow and started waving her arms around giggling like a little girl. That is my favorite picture. I keep it by my bed."
The 59-year-old Fortensky -- who suffers from short-term memory loss and other health issues stemming from a drunken fall in 1999 -- says he's never had any doubts about Taylor's feelings for him over the years. "I love her, I always will. And I know she loved me, too."