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10 Things You Didn't Know About Einstein


7
He Was a Cad With a Tumultuous Family Life
And here's Einstein with his second wife (and cousin) Elsa on April 1, 1921. The two wed on June 2, 1919. © Bettmann/Corbis
And here's Einstein with his second wife (and cousin) Elsa on April 1, 1921. The two wed on June 2, 1919. © Bettmann/Corbis

Whatever closeness Einstein and Marić shared did not survive long into their marriage, as their correspondence makes clear. Indeed, his own letters paint him as an unkind philanderer who neglected and mistreated her while openly enjoying several flirtations and affairs [sources: Golden]. One mistress, his cousin Elsa, would eventually become his second wife, although he also considered marrying her daughter, his future stepdaughter. This must have made family reunions both uncomfortable and confusing, especially since Elsa was Einstein's first cousin on his mother's side and his second cousin on his father's side [sources: Golden; Kaku]. He cheated on Elsa as well, but she allowed it as long as he kept his affairs quiet.

Meanwhile, because he could not afford to support himself and his first wife in the case of a divorce, Einstein struck a deal with Marić: She would grant him a divorce, and he would give her and their two sons the prize money from his presumably imminent Nobel. Finally, after five years living apart, Marić divorced Albert in 1919. Thereafter, he grew estranged from his sons, one of whom was schizophrenic, leaving Marić to care for them and her own crumbling family [sources: Golden; Kaku; PBS].


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