What began as an affair turned into marriage in 1796 when Napoleon proposed to Josephine with a whopping-for-the-times 2 carat diamond and sapphire engagement ring. Josephine was six years older than Napoleon and a widow with two children by the time they married. His family did not approve.
While Napoleon is well regarded as a military leader and championed many lasting institutions that are still relevant today -- the metric system, for instance -- he was also responsible for many deaths and crazy power-hungry beyond reason. He once wrote, “Power is my mistress. I have worked too hard at her conquest to allow anyone to take her away from me.”
The Emperor of France also wrote his fair share of love letters to Josephine, with such sentiments as, “Believe me it is not in my power to have a single thought which is not of thee.” Yet, despite Napoleon and Josephine’s intense love, both had affairs.
When Josephine couldn’t produce an heir, Napoleon requested a divorce, which she granted him, so he could have the heir he so desperately desired. Upon their divorce, he insisted she keep the title of Empress.
On his deathbed, Napoleon said, “France, the Army, the Head of the Army, Joséphine."