The Truth About Cybill Shepherd's Relationship History

Cybill Shepherd's career reinvention is legendary in Hollywood. She has acted on stage and on screen, in small roles and big ones; over the course of her decades-long career, the former model moved effortlessly from critically-acclaimed, revolutionary New Hollywood films like "The Last Picture Show" and "Taxi Driver" to network sitcoms like "Moonlighting" and her own "Cybill." She even sings!

Shepherd is also well-known for the long list of Hollywood hunks she's dated and spoken about. In her 2000 memoir "Cybill Disobedience," the actor detailed her hookups, flings, and romances with various A-listers, and her candidness about her history rubbed some readers the wrong way. A skeptical review of the book in the Chicago Tribune called her "epically randy," but Shepherd recognizes in the memoir that she lived free because of the time she grew up. "I was a very, very bad girl, living out the epiphany of the 1970s for women: that sex and love aren't necessarily the same thing," the book reads.

Still, though, Shepherd notes that she has been changed by the men she's been with. "I don't know if I've accrued more than my fair share of lost loves," she writes, "but I'm something of a haunted person from the damage." Cybill Shepherd is then a woman of multitudes — film and TV star, actor and singer, sexually liberated and also affected by her encounters. Read on for the truth about Cybill Shepherd's relationship history.

One relationship ended over a nude scene

Before Cybill Shepherd broke out in "The Last Picture Show," she was a model, trying to crack the industry by attending casting calls in New York City. In her memoir "Cybill Disobedience" (via Erenow), the future star talks about that time in her life as one where she learned a lot, particularly because of the college classes she took about art and anthropology. She came to believe that the shame surrounding nudity was entirely cultural. "Whatever part a woman believed she'd be struck down dead for exposing depended entirely on country, culture, god, or tribe," she writes. "The idea that there was nothing inherently right or wrong about nudity would justify one of the most important decisions in my future."

Around that time, she dated John Bruno, a man she describes as a "wealthy restaurateur who raced Ferraris." Their relationship was fast-paced and fun, and Shepherd particularly loved the food he would cook for her, which she calls "glorious." However, when she finally had the chance to audition for a movie as big as "The Last Picture Show," it became clear that their views on the morality of nudity did not align.

In her memoir, Shepherd writes that he told her, "You do a nude scene and I will never marry you. If everybody in the world has seen my future wife naked, you won't turn me on anymore." According to Parade (via California Digital Newspaper Collection), they did indeed break up over the role.

She dated co-star Jeff Bridges

In "The Last Picture Show," Cybill Shepherd played Jacy, a young, carefree girl who finds herself torn between two best friends, played by Jeff Bridges and Timothy Bottoms. Behind the scenes of the iconic film, the young actors had some trysts of their own. "It's not a good idea to date your leading men, but sometimes it's hard not to. I got that out of the way with my first film," she wrote in The Guardian. In her memoir "Cybill Disobedience," Shepherd says that she and Bridges had been "keeping company after hours," calling him "adorable."

However, like many on-set relationships, this one was not to last. Unlike many on-set relationships, though, this one ended because of involvement from the film's director... and not just because he didn't want his stars sleeping together. Many years later, the film's director, Peter Bogdanovich, admitted to having seduced Shepherd while Bridges was out of town for a week of military reserve training. "After he left, I said to Cybill, 'You're going to be alone for a while. Jeff's leaving.' She said, 'I'm always alone,'" he told Vulture. When Bridges returned, Shepherd told him what was happening between her and the director. Bogdanovich recalled that Bridges wasn't angry, and that he simply said, "Be careful." The breakup with Bridges in favor of Bogdanovich would come to define the next decade of Shepherd's life.

Her affair with Peter Bogdanovich was big news

Cybill Shepherd first met Peter Bogdanovich, who would direct her in "The Last Picture Show," at an audition where she sat on the floor of his hotel room and picked at a flower. "The immediate attraction was so strong, I was flummoxed," she writes in her memoir, "Cybill Disobedience." She also notes that Bogdanovich was particularly impressed by her Glamour cover, which he said possessed a "fresh, sexual threat" that would work perfectly for the character of Jacy.

When the two finally got together, Shepherd's on-set affair with director Peter Bogdanovich was a scandal; Bogdanovich left his wife and kids for the much-younger actor. In her memoir, Shepherd writes of the guilt that briefly came with the affair. "The morning after, I woke up quite healthy," she recalled, and she decided to go wherever it took her. A few months after filming ended, they moved in together, though in a joint People profile a few years into their relationship, the duo claimed not to be interested in marriage. "Does she look like a Mrs. Bogdanovich?" the director quipped, while Shepherd joked about her mother telling her she was "living in sin." 

Bogdanovich later admitted to having cheated on Shepherd. "I was screwing around in Singapore [while filming] 'Saint Jack,' and she came to visit and she got what was going on," he revealed to Vulture. In her memoir, though, Shepherd copped to cheating on him as well.

Cybill Shepherd's fling with The King

Cybill Shepherd's relationship with director Peter Bogdanovich ultimately fell apart because of his cheating, according to the director in Vulture, but in her memoir "Cybill Disobedience," the actor admits to having cheated on him many times as well. She didn't think of it that way, however. "Sex with another man didn't feel like I was cuckolding Peter," she writes. "I figured I couldn't cheat on someone I didn't have, and Peter wasn't mine in any real, permanent sense."

One of the men she had a thing with while technically in a relationship with Bogdanovich was none other than Elvis Presley, The King of Rock and Roll. The two met in 1972, according to an essay Shepherd wrote in The Guardian. "Elvis Presley, as a lover, was ... indescribable," she remembered fondly. "All the guys wore cheap cologne, apart from him. He smelled soapy, and sweet, like sugar and sweat."

In her memoir, Shepherd goes into further detail, claiming that Elvis also had some strangely racial opinions about oral sex. While in the middle of rockin' and rollin', so to speak, she says he hesitated and then apparently told her, "White men don't [perform oral sex.]" After some persuading, Shepherd writes, "He warmed to the subject." Their hookup turned out to be a one-time thing. "I had fun in Elvis's bed," Shepherd recalls, "but I couldn't sleep in it."

There was no heartbreak with Charles Grodin

Another of Cybill Shepherd's several affairs during her relationship with Peter Bogdanovich was with Charles Grodin, her co-star in Elaine May's 1972 film "The Heartbreak Kid." In her memoir "Cybill Disobedience," Shepherd writes that she slept with Grodin as part of a quick succession of men upon realizing she and Bogdanovich were slowly growing apart. The first two men, who she doesn't name, were a waiter and an agent, respectively. Grodin, however, she knew more personally, though she recalls finding him "distant, humorless, and unappealing."

This night, however, he was able to make her laugh. Still, things didn't end particularly well. "Our one-night stand never went beyond the morning after," she writes.

It seems that Grodin did not carry any hard feelings about the way things went, continuing to speak glowingly of his co-star years later. "She wasn't supposed to be this loosey-goosey woman she's developed into on 'Moonlighting,' but you could see sparks of it," he recalled to Rolling Stone of her character in "The Heartbreak Kid." He continued, "I remember standing with her and her mother once, and I saw a whole other person — a wisecracking, snappy young lady." 

Cybill Shepherd's first husband was David Ford

When Cybill Shepherd first met David Ford, the man who would become her first husband, she was still in a relationship with Peter Bogdanovich. According to her memoir, "Cybill Disobedience," she and Ford met in a Memphis nightclub, and she recalled that "before the evening had ended, I knew we were destined to be lovers." Ford introduced her to blues, and Shepherd further developed her passion for performing music while she was with him.

Ford and Bogdanovich crossed paths in a dentist's office, and the resulting situation led to an explosive confrontation where the latter chucked a crystal ashtray at her, which thankfully missed and shattered. Without Bogdanovich in her life any longer, Shepherd was free to concentrate on Ford. She writes in her memoir that she "had the primal, mystical, earliest awareness of conception" once when they made love in a tub, and they married in 1978 while Shepherd was still pregnant. Their daughter Clementine was born in 1979, per Closer.

They divorced in 1982, citing "irreconcilable differences'; Shepherd told The Guardian that he cheated on her. According to United Press International, Ford was given a grand total of $15,000 in the divorce; Shepherd, on the other hand, got custody of their daughter. She later told The Washington Post that he was "not too serious, not into anything."

Her awkward 'thing' with Bruce Willis

Though she first rose to fame as the star of classic films like "Taxi Driver," Cybill Shepherd's second act was as a television star. She led the sitcom "Moonlighting" alongside Bruce Willis, and the contentious behind-the-scenes relationship between the two stars became the stuff of television legend. Willis and Shepherd did not get along, to say the least; years later, Shepherd told Entertainment Weekly, "At one point in the show, it had gotten to where we just hated each other. It was a very volatile show anyway, but that's also what made it great." Still, though, Shepherd felt the chemistry with Willis was stronger than with any of the other actors she screen-tested with. "With Bruce, the temperature in the room went 20 degrees higher. For me, anyway," she recalled.

Rumors abounded that their feud was the result of a romantic fling that went sour. According to co-star Curtis Armstrong's memoir "Revenge of the Nerd," Willis told him that there was a "thing" between them that didn't go well. Shepherd finally admitted as much in her own memoir, writing that she suggested consummating their mutual attraction early in the filming of the show. He showed up at her place with a bottle of whiskey, and they kissed passionately. It never progressed beyond that, though. As Shepherd remembers, "We never did finish what we started in private, but anytime we had a kissing scene, he stuck a big camel tongue halfway down my throat."

A brief moment with Don Johnson

In 1985, Cybill Shepherd starred in a four-hour television adaptation of "The Long, Hot Summer" alongside "Miami Vice" hunk Don Johnson, per the Los Angeles Times. Johnson has since been very open about his sexual experience, claiming on an episode of Andy Cohen's SiriusXM show "Radio Andy" that he's only gotten better with age. He laughed off Cohen's suggestion that he's received "all rave reviews," noting, "I can't guarantee that, you know, circumstances being what they are." However, he added, "I'm feeling pretty good about the review situation. ... Most of my customers leave satisfied."

Shepherd may beg to differ. According to "Cybill Disobedience," she and Johnson had a fling while filming the sweaty drama. At first, things were fun. "Don Johnson and I were aware of an intense attraction the minute we met," she recalls, although the two weren't going to share any "steamy" scenes on screen. Nonetheless, Johnson showed up at her cabin one night.

She describes a passionate outdoor makeout session that quickly moved indoors. "We lasted a nanosecond on the porch and rapidly progressed to my bed," she writes. However, she found Johnson's performance lacking. "It was like wolfing down a candy bar when you're starving," she continues. "Fast, furious and intense and it was all over in five minutes." There was never a repeat, lengthier session, Shepherd says, because Johnson began sleeping with one of the hairdressers on set instead.

Cybill Shepherd had twins with Bruce Oppenheim

While filming "Moonlighting," Cybill Shepherd began to develop what she calls "debilitating headaches and a back stiff enough to build condominiums" in "Cybill Disobedience." She began to receive "adjustments" from a chiropractor Bruce Oppenheim, and over time, they fell in love. "It didn't seem to matter if I was dating a healthcare professional who was treating me," she writes. "He didn't seem troubled by it either."

They married in 1987, and her publicist told United Press International that she had to be back at work on "Moonlighting" immediately, so they were not able to take a honeymoon. Shepherd was pregnant at the time of her marriage, according to the Los Angeles Times, and they wound up having twins together.

In her memoir, Shepherd shares that she was having trouble on the "Moonlighting" set, and that the way she'd grown up — with parents who gave each other the "silent treatment" — meant she was unfamiliar with productive argument. "Operating under a veil of exhaustion and frustration from work," she writes, "I gave up on my marriage." They divorced a few years after getting married, when their twins were one year old, according to United Press International.

Her 'marriage' to Robert Martin didn't last

Throughout the 1990s, Shepherd was in a long-term relationship with musician Robert Martin, who worked in the music department on her sitcom. Martin was a former member of Frank Zappa's band, and according to an interview in Zappa fan-zine T'Mershi Duween, Martin said he and Shepherd first got together when he wrote transition music for her sitcom "Cybill." He recalled that his work on the show led to another opportunity. ​​"I was called by someone in her band to come and help put together a song she was doing on the Tonight Show, a gospel ballad," he recalled. "We've been together ever since."

Shepherd told the Associated Press (via Deseret News) that it was a marriage in her book, even though they never made it official. "​​I consider myself married. I might as well be married except for the scary piece of paper that wreaks havoc," she said.

They split in 1998, reportedly because he found her "bossy and snooty," according to the Birmingham Post & Mail. Shepherd was said to be surprised by the sudden end of the relationship. Martin elaborated on the split in an email to a Frank Zappa fansite, writing, "I split with Cybill Shepherd in October of '98 (major political and philosophical differences) and a year later happily reconnected with my former wife." Around the time, Shepherd was well-known for her activism in a number of left-leaning causes, proudly telling the AP, "I use feminist, feminist, feminist, and proud of it."

She found faith after a broken engagement

After her eponymous sitcom "Cybill" ended in 1998, Cybill Shepherd's career slowed down. She continued to work regularly, putting in regular guest spots on shows like "The L Word," "Psych," and "The Client List," but she wasn't as much of a tabloid fixture as she had once been. That's why it was a surprise when Shepherd announced her engagement to a man named Andrei Nikolajevic in 2012. She told the Daily News bluntly, "He was a jeweler. Now, he's a psychologist. He's Serbian." 

The two had met through mutual friends, she explained, and she was quite surprised by how well the relationship was going. "I never thought I'd get married again," she said, perhaps a reflection on the fact that her previous two marriages had ended in divorce.

However, while it's unclear what exactly happened with the relationship, Shepherd turned out to be correct; they never actually tied the knot. Speaking with ET several years later while promoting her role in the faith-based film "Do You Believe," Shepherd explained that the dissolution of her relationship led to her finding religion. "I think I had a bit of a broken heart, and there was a part of it that wasn't going to heal, and that's when I turned to Jesus," she said.