Esperanza was jealous of Wayne’s devotion to his work and children


John Wayne and Esperanza Baur’s Divorce Papers from 1953. John Wayne met his second wife, Esperanza Baur, in 1941 while he and first wife Josephine Saenz were vacationing in Mexico City. That marriage ended on Christmas Day, 1945; Wayne and Baur became husband and wife three weeks later.

The seven-year marriage was rocky from the start; Esperanza was jealous of Wayne’s devotion to his work and children, especially since they’d had none of their own together. There were charges and counter-charges of drunken rages, emotional cruelty, and abuse. Esperanza accused Wayne of having an affair with his Angel and the Badman co-star, Gail Russell, and attempted to shoot him over it; Wayne later accused Esperanza of having an affair with hotel heir Nicky Hilton during divorce proceedings. The couple separated in May 1952, and the marriage ended in November 1954; Esperanza died four months later of a heart attack at age 31.

Included are 13 documents related to the divorce, dating from March 30, 1953 to December 15, 1956, four signed by Esperanza and three signed in Wayne’s name by his legal representative.

The bitter divorce apparently involved much back-and-forth over money owed as alimony and legal fees (upwards of $40,000 at one point). The items are in overall Very Fine condition with some mild wear and toning, and staple and punch holes to the top edges. Accompanied by James Spence Authentication auction LOA.

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