Diego Rivera signed his letters to Frida, ”el sapo-rana”
She ended her letters with a red lipstick kiss and then circled it… for emphasis.
Their marriage was not an easy one. They wed for the first time in 1929 only to divorce 10 years later when Diego slept with Frida’s sister, Cristina. They remarried shortly after, in 1940, and stayed together until Frida’s death in 1954.
Friends said Diego and Frida’s marriage was the union of a dove and an elephant. She was 22 years old on their wedding day, barely 5 foot 3 and weighed less than 100 pounds. He was 42, over 6 feet tall and weighed 300 pounds.
He was also a chronic cheater, despite his froggy appearance, seducing women with his fame and charm. A doctor explained to Frida, “Diego is medically incapable of fidelity.”
She mostly laughed off his affairs, swallowing her jealousy and having numerous romances of her own. Indulging her bisexual nature, she slept with numerous men and women, including jazz singer Josephine Baker and fellow painter Georgia O’Keeffe. Frida wrote to a friend about the affair:
“O’Keeffe was in the hospital for three months, she went to Bermuda for a rest. She didn’t make love to me that time, I think on account of her weakness. Too bad.”
Despite their tumultuous relationship, Frida and Diego were completely supportive of each other’s art. Diego praised Frida’s paintings to everyone he met. He told reporters, “through her paintings, she breaks all the taboos of the woman’s body and of female sexuality.”