Carole and Willis Hunt
In the Spring of 1940 Carole started dating yacht salesman Willis Hunt Jr. He was born in Los Angeles on March 23, 1913. Willis was divorced from heiress Dolly Brewer and had a three year old daughter. He also had reputation as a playboy who loved to party. Willis proposed to Carole just two weeks after meeting her. She said "We like to do the same things. I think it will work". Carole's mother Clara Ridste tried to talk her out of marrying him but she didn't listen. On July 4, 1940 the couple eloped in Las Vegas. They moved into a modest home at 1816 Prosser Avenue in Los Angeles. Unfortunately Willis became abusive and Carole walked out on him after just two months of marriage.
They were divorced in November 1940. Carole said their break-up made her suffer a nervous breakdown. She told reporters "There I was being so happy, so ecstatic, so delirious, so willing to forsake all others. To stop being Miss Big and try being the Little Woman. He didn't want a Little Woman." Surprisingly Carole and Willis remained friends and continued to go out together. On December 14, 1969 Willis was stabbed to death by his fifth wife, former actress Deannie Best. He was fifty-six years old. Deannie was charged with murder but she claimed it was self defense. After a trial in 1970 she was found innocent of all charges.