They met, appropriately enough, on the set of 1991’s The Marrying Man. She was the beautiful starlet who had carved out a sexpot persona with showy roles in 9 1/2 Weeks and Batman. He was the hunky leading man who had just come off a $120 million smash in The Hunt for Red October. Little wonder, then, that the ultraglam coupling of Kim Basinger and Alec Baldwin generated its share of tabloid headlines — and never more so than over their Aug. 19, 1993, wedding in East Hampton, N.Y.
Both stars had always had prickly relations with the press. Their romance was first made public in the gossip pages after reports surfaced of delays on Marrying Man due to their on-set trysts. Later, Basinger bristled at the interest in her well-followed financial travails (the actress was forced to declare bankruptcy in 1993). For his part, Baldwin’s assorted contretemps with paparazzi over the years earned him a spot on the celebrity press’ Most Dangerous list.
Not surprisingly, the two stars made every effort to thwart coverage of their wedding. Held on a beach not far from Baldwin’s hometown of Massapequa, the ceremony was scheduled for sunset to foil long-lens photographers. The more than 60 guests, including Billy Joel and Paul Newman, weren’t told the location — near fashion designer Josephine Chaus’ beach mansion — until they had RSVP’d. And security guards were liberally posted on the shore. ”We did everything but bribe the judge [who performed the service] to keep this quiet,” said the East Hampton town supervisor.
Of course, the media still sniffed out the details. Reporters thronged the beach, and flocks of press helicopters circled the festivities. The wedding itself was simple: Surrounded by a circle of luminarias and six-foot-high torches, Baldwin and Basinger — dressed in an off-white, John Hayles-designed gown — took their vows in a seven-minute ceremony, capped by a shower of rose petals. The attendees then dined on raspberry-and-lemon wedding cake.
Although the couple continued to have their run-ins with the press after the wedding, recently Baldwin and Basinger have seemed a bit more relaxed about the attention. In fact, the two have even been able to joke about the situation. When asked about the press frenzy over their nuptials, the duo wryly noted that they were fortunate that they didn’t have to hire a video photographer; after all, said Basinger, they ”had it all on tape — thanks to Hard Copy and Inside Edition and ET.”