Carrie Fisher and Paul Simon – their complicated white-hot roundabout is best described by Fisher herself. “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.”
How Did Carrie Fisher and Paul Simon Meet?
She was starring as a no-nonsense, galaxy-saving Princess and he was one half of a folk-rock duo trying his luck at a solo career. When they met on the set of Star Wars in 1977, sparks ignited and Fisher had to bid three interested beaus adieu – all the while remaining aware of the slight irony aroused by her interest in the pop star, a man 15 years her senior.
“Now, Paul is a short, Jewish singer. Eddie Fisher is a short, Jewish singer. Short. Jewish. Singer. Any questions? My mother makes a blueprint and I follow it to the letter.”
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In quick succession, the nascent couple moved into an apartment on New York City’s Central Park West. For the next seven years, their romance would be characterized by makeups and breakups, hurled remarks, biting put-downs, recriminations, and lots of laughter.
The In-Between and A Wedding
For a time, the two were decidedly “off” and that fact, coupled with a near-death experience, resulted in Fisher accepting a proposal of marriage from Dan Aykroyd. “We had rings, we got blood tests, the whole shot. But then I got back together with Paul Simon.”
The reunited pair planned to marry but split mere weeks before the agreed-upon date. Another reconciliation was days away. The traditional Jewish ceremony was held on August 16, 1983, inside an apartment owned by the groom. Fisher’s parents, Simon’s 10-year-old son from his first marriage, Art Garfunkel, Penny Marshall, and Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels were among the many luminaries who witnessed the blessed event.
The Nile River-traversing honeymoon was delayed until October of that year and shared with Garfunkel and Marshall. During a particularly heated exchange, Fisher claimed to have shouted out to her husband, “Not only do I not like you, I don’t like you personally!”
Luckily it was a case of no harm no foul. “We tried to keep the argument going after that but we were laughing too hard,” she recalled.
The End and the Beginning and the Final End
Eleven months after saying, “I do,” Fisher and Simon were headed to divorce court. And just as quickly as the marriage ended, the romance was back in full swing – the no longer Mr. and Mrs. even moved back in together.
According to Fisher’s autobiography, Wishful Drinking, “We were together for more than 12 years…and we traveled a lot. The last place we went to was the Amazon, which I recommend if you like mosquitoes.”
While traipsing the unforgiving jungle, the duo located a brujo (or spiritual healer) and participated in a ritual that involved the consumption of tea brewed with leaves from a psychedelic plant.
During her “trip,” Fisher supposedly gained some much-needed clarity and after returning to the States, she ended her relationship with Simon – for good this time. “It was great, but then it was very painful to not be able to make it work,” she revealed to The New York Times.
“If you can get Paul Simon to write a song about you, do it. Because he is so brilliant at it.” Indeed he is. And he did indeed use his tempestuous relationship with Fisher as fodder for his lyrics.
Among the many songs influenced are Hearts and Bones (Fisher’s the, “one half,” of the infamous, “One and one half wandering Jews”), She Moves On, Allergies, and Graceland. “Even when he’s insulting me,” Carrie informed Rolling Stone, “I like it very much. If you’re gonna be insulted, that’s the way to go.”
For her part, Fisher curbed from her stranger-than-fiction life many anecdotes that often found their way into her semi-autobiographical novels – especially her sophomore effort Surrender the Pink. It’s hard to deny the tale of a one-year-and-done marriage that leaves the ex-wife wanting more wasn’t at least partially based on Fisher’s experience with Simon.
Carrie Fisher and Paul Simon Reflect
In the ensuing years, Fisher spoke openly about her love lost but Simon was less than receptive to discussing his ex. While she confessed that, “the bad thing about my relationship with Paul was that we were similar animals,” Simon chose to let his music speak for itself, like the lyrics from She Moves On.
“She says ‘maybe these emotions are as near to love as love will ever be/So I agree/Then the moon breaks/She tales the corner, that’s all she takes/She moves on.”