EW Staff
December 12, 1997 AT 05:00 AM EST

Scribbled on a promo shot slid beneath Sly Stallone’s Manhattan hotel door, the fateful note read: ”My name is Brigitte Nielsen…. I’d really like to meet you. Here’s my number.” That night, the star — a divorcing father of two — called, then came over. As the statuesque Danish actress gazed at him, he said simply, ”I’ve got to get to know you better.”

On Dec. 15, 1985, the Rocky IV and future Cobra costars — she 22 and he 39 — were wed at the Beverly Hills home of Stallone’s Rocky producer and longtime pal, Irwin Winkler. As the Righteous Brothers performed, ”we danced the night away,” Winkler recalls. ”At the time, they were…very much in love.”

Then, after a time, they weren’t. After 19 months of marriage, Stallone filed for divorce. One rumor had Nielsen using him to advance her career; another had her sleeping with her female secretary (both denied the allegation). The platinum Dane, one of 1987’s most gossiped-about women, soon fled to Italy. ”Stallone closed every door in Hollywood,” says Nielsen’s manager, Steven Tempone. (Stallone’s office had no comment.)

Once burned, Stallone married model Jennifer Flavin, his third wife (and mother of his 1-year-old daughter), in May, after nine years of on-and-off dating.

Time Capsule / Dec. 15, 1985

America wins the Cold War at the box office with Rocky IV, in which our Philly-born hero KOs computer-trained Russian fighter Dolph Lundgren. In 1990, the series goes down for the count with Rocky V. On TV, The Cosby Show hits its second-season stride, beginning what will be the Huxtable family’s four-year reign at the top of the Nielsen ratings — and ushering in the age of NBC’s Must See Thursday night. Singer Lionel Richie hits No. 1 on the music charts with ”Say You, Say Me,” from the film White Nights — yet another Cold War drama, this time with choreography; 1986’s ”Dancing on the Ceiling” will be Richie’s last top 10 single to date. Harvey and Marilyn Diamond’s Fit for Life hits No. 1 on the best-seller list; the diet guide will stay there for a healthy 66 weeks and, despite criticism from medical experts, become the decade’s fourth-best-selling book.

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