Carrie Fisher's Ex Paul Simon Pays Tribute to Her After Her Death: Inside Their Turbulent Relationship

The two were married for one year in the '80s

By Corinne Heller Dec 28, 2016 5:12 PMTags
Paul Simon, Carrie Fisher, WeddingAP Photo/Mario Suriani

Paul Simon says ex-wife Carrie Fisher "was a special, wonderful girl" and that her death came "too soon."

The 60-year-old actress, best known for her role as Leia in the Star Wars movies, had last week suffered a cardiac event aboard a plane en route to Los Angeles and was hospitalized. Her daughter and only child Billie Lourd's rep announced on Tuesday the actress had died.

"Yesterday was a horrible day," Paul, who was her only husband, wrote on Twitter Wednesday. Carrie was a special, wonderful girl. It's too soon."

The actress and Paul, now 75, wed in 1983 after dating for six years. Their marriage did not last long and their relationship was, well, complicated.

"Now, Paul is a short, Jewish singer. Eddie Fisher is a short, Jewish singer. Short. Jewish. Singer. Any questions?" Carrie wrote in her 2008 memoir Wishful Drinking. "My mother makes a blueprint and I follow it to the letter." 

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Carrie and Paul got married at his New York City apartment. According to Peter Ames Carlin's new biography on the singer-songwriter, Homeward Bound: The Life of Paul Simon, SNL creator Lorne Michaels served as his best man. Guests included their parents, including her dad, the late Eddie Fisher, and mother and actress Debbie Reynolds, her brother Todd Fisher, Star Wars creator George LucasArt Garfunkel and then-girlfriend Penny Marshall, singer Randy Newman, Billy Joel and then-wife Christie Brinkley and the late Robin Williams and then-wife Valerie Williams.

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"It was Carrie's idea," Paul said about their marriage, in a 1984 Playboy interview. "She said, when we were touring last fall, 'Let's do it right now. Let's agree that we'll solve our problems, we won't leave when we're frustrated or angry,' And I, of course, said 'What? Get married in an oddnumbered year? Why not wait till '84?'"

"My style is to procrastinate. It just made me real nervous. I had been married and divorced and found it really painful. But Carrie got frustrated, and she was preparing to leave again. And then I went to a two-night double header at Yankee Stadium," he said. "So I was feeling very secure, on my second beer. And I thought, 'Well, come on, Paul; you're going to do it, you're going to do it!' I'd always loved Carrie, even when we were most separated. After the game, I went home and said to her, 'All right, let's do it.' Five days later, we were married. And immediately; I felt a sense of relief."

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Carrie and Paul often supported each other's work throughout their marriage. Fisher appeared onstage at several Simon & Garfunkel shows while she made a cameo with him as he hosted SNL in 1980.

"He's a great artist so that was great too and I was quite young so it was like being apprenticed to someone who was brilliant," Carrie said in a 2012 interview on NBC's Today show."

But like many couples, their relationship was often turbulent.

In her memoir, Carrie writes that she and Paul once had a fight during their honeymoon in which she said, "Not only do I not like you, I don't like you personally!"

"We understood each other perfectly, she said. "Obviously we didn't always agree but we understood the terms of our disagreements."

Carrie and Paul divorced a year later. But they did not end their relationship.

"Paul and I dated for six years, were married for two, divorced for one, and then we had good memories of each other and so what do you think we did? No-no, we didn't remarry. We dated again," Carrie wrote in her memoir.

She said she and Paul were together for 12 years, off and on, and that Paul wrote several songs inspired by her and their relationship, including "Hearts and Bones" and "She Moves On."

"It was great, but then it was very painful to not be able to make it work," Carrie told The New York Times in 2012. "We had a good time together when we did. We had a similar sense of humor, and our fights were sometimes hilarious."