The Curious and Captivating Romance of Tim Burton & Lisa Marie
August 1997
Portfolio by MARY ELLEN MARK
Photo Editor: Jennifer Crandall

She was the New Jersey Catholic schoolgirl who sat by the window, staring at the clouds. Three thousand miles away, he was the weird kid in his Southern California public school, immersed in his drawings of goblins and spooks, a pale and lonely dark‑eyed boy, out of place in a suntanned world.  When they met, in a loud and crowded New York club on the night before New Year's Eve in 1991, Tim Burton was already Hollywood's favorite little boy lost, the bedraggled‑looking auteur who'd conjured up Beetlejuice, Batman and the sweetly sad, abstract self‑portrait that was Edward Scissorhands. Lisa Marie was a former Calvin Klein model turned actress, just beginning her career, out for the evening with some friends. Since then, they have rarely been apart. For the last five and a half years, the couple have shared a home together and collaborated creatively (Lisa Marie was featured in Burton's most recent films, playing Vampira in 1994's Ed Wood and the surrealistically sexy Martian Girl in last year's Mars Attacks!). Each, you could say, is the other's muse. 
‑Joe Rhodes

Tim Burton, Lisa Marie and Poppy at their home in Ojai, Calif.


“I was drawn to Tim instantly. I thought he was the most handsome man I'd ever laid eyes on. There was something very innocent about him, and I connected to him on a very deep level that's difficult to explain. It's like a soul connection. And I sensed it immediately. As I get to know him more over the years, it just keeps growing. It doesn't get bad or old or boring. It just gets more exciting. And more and more profound."


“I had a feeling that I'd met her before, which is really weird because I don't have those kinds of feelings. Ever. I remember seeing her and, right before my eyes, I saw her as young and the age she was and then old, all in one. It was like a weird kind of hallucination. It was really deep and strong and strange. It's one of those things you kind of hope for in your life but you begin to think it's not possible, to have that kind of ultimate connection."


"The wonderful thing about Tim is that he's the first person I've ever been with who doesn't take away from me. He gives to me. He loves to see me flourish and do great creative things with my life. And I feel the same way about him. I want to support everything he does." "We can do things I always wanted to do," Burton explains, "like take lots of pictures and fool around with makeup and try out weird characters. The reason it's fun is that you're doing it with someone you love."


"What we really have is a love that is very old‑fashioned," Lisa Marie says. "He takes care of me. I take care of him, and I love taking care of him. I love making him feel loved. Because I don't think we have that enough in this life."  "You spend your whole life trying to verbalize these things," says Burton. "But when something really deep happens, there's no verbal way to describe it. It's just a complete feeling."