Cinematic, tragic and tabloid-sensational,Theodora “Teddy” Getty Gaston’s life story reads like an F. Scott Fitzgerald plot. Gaston, now 100, was an anomaly in her era: a debutante who abandoned country-club life to become a torch singer in Depression-era New York. Her daring paid off in a society-page-making courtship with the much-older oil tycoon and future world’s-richest-man, J. Paul Getty, who made her his fifth wife. The twosome tripped through the beau monde of elite society, mixing with movie stars, European royalty and media magnates. But Alone Together is no Cinderella story.
Gaston gave up her career to look after the couple’s son as her husband— an inveterate cheapskate who suggested she pay for her own maternity clothes—left her alone for years at a time, travelling on business and in the company of other women. After years of neglect, the tragic loss of their son inspired Gaston to finally sue for divorce. She did get a happy ending, however, marrying again and giving birth to a daughter. The plucky Gaston stands out among more staid bio subjects with her knack for being in the most interesting place at the right time: England as the Second World War breaks out, Rome on the eve of Pearl Harbour, Hollywood in the ’40s … To remain so spirited and write a book at 100—now, that’s aging well.