The Truth About Joan Rivers’ Husbands

Joan Rivers will forever be known to many as the comedian behind E!’s “Fashion Police,” who had an unabashed fondness for cosmetic surgery. However, the funny woman also had a private life away from the spotlight. With that came her fair share of love and heartbreak.

It’s no surprise that Rivers has etched itself into our minds with her professional personality. As noted by Vanity Fair, Rivers was in a tiny minority as she pursued a career as a female comedian in the 1960s. As The Second City notes, she ultimately credited the establishment as where she “was born a comedian,” but has been open about the challenges she faced there. In an interview with Pioneers of Television, she shared, “Second City wasn’t a small challenge, it was a big challenge. It was a boys’ club, and the girls were really there to be pretty and f*****.” Rivers also opened up about struggling to make it on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson.” The reason I wasn’t attracted…they said, ‘A woman doesn’t talk about things like that. Women shouldn’t talk about things like that. They shouldn’t talk about having an affair with a married man. no, no, no, no, no, no. Shouldn’t be talking about all her friends having abortions. Oh, that’s way too crude.'”

Through it all, Rivers persevered and built a legendary career for himself. However, she was also eager to find a happy ending in her love life.

Joan Rivers’ first marriage was annulled

Today the name “Joan Rivers” is synonymous with comedy. However, as The Guardian wrote in her obituary, she began her professional life as a buyer for a department store. There she met her first husband, James Sanger, a young man who also happened to be the heir to the department store where she worked.

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As glamorous as his title sounds, very little is known about Sanger outside of his marriage to Rivers. What we do know, however, is that their union was brief. However, Rivers wasn’t particularly devastated by the cancellation. Quite the opposite, per The Guardian, as Rivers once said, the marriage survived “six months longer than it should have.” According to The Epoch Times, that sentiment could be rooted in a crucial detail that Sanger neglected to tell his bride before walking down the aisle. That means he didn’t want to have children. For Rivers, that was non-negotiable, so it only makes sense that the two would part ways.

Fortunately, Rivers eventually had children. River’s only child, daughter Melissa Rivers (born Melissa Warburg Rosenberg), was born three years after the comedian married her second husband, Edgar Rosenberg.

Edgar Rosenberg was “the love of her life”

Joan Rivers’ first marriage may have been brief, but even six months would be considered long-term compared to her courtship to Edgar Rosenberg. Per Marie Claire, it took her a whopping four days to realize he was “The One.” Hey, if you know, you know!

A brief courtship paved the way for an exceptionally long marriage, especially by Hollywood standards. As spouses, talent, and managers, Rivers and Rosenberg remained together until his suicide in 1987. That’s not to say they haven’t faced challenges along the way, however. Shortly before Rosenberg’s death, his behavior on Rivers’ late-night show on Fox had raised eyebrows. Ultimately, the producer asked Rivers to let him go as her manager, and she refused. As a result, both were axed. According to a Vogue interview with Rivers biographer Leslie Bennetts, Rivers “pre-did her husband to the show … the whole thing was a complete debacle.” Speaking on the Life After Suicide podcast, Melissa Rivers revealed that after the ordeal, “my Parents were in a terrible state in their marriage… they sort of broke up, but not really.”

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Despite the drama towards the end of their marriage, it seems like the comedian never stopped loving Rosenberg. In fact, after the comedian’s death in 2014, a source confirmed it to HollywoodLife. “Joan is a happy woman now… reunited with the love of her life, her precious Edgar.”

If you or someone you know is having suicidal thoughts, please call the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).