William Shakespeare Questions and Answers

William Shakespeare book cover
Start Your Free Trial

How many wives did Shakespeare have?

Expert Answers info

Mike Walter eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2012

write1,473 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

Shakespeare only married once, to Anne Hathaway, on November 28, 1582.

The marriage was unusual for its time in several respects. Hathaway was eight years older than Shakespeare. She was also already several months pregnant with their first child at the time (they would later also have twins).

A few years later, when William began to actively pursue his career as an actor and dramatist, their lives diverged. William was often on the road or in London, while Hathaway stayed home with the children. It is generally believed that William engaged in extra-marital affairs while away. There is not much of anything known about the home life of Anne and the children during this time. It is believed by some that their marriage may have become strained. William eventually returned home and died in 1616. In his will he left her his "second best bed." Historians disagree on the significance of this and whether or not it was considered a slight to her. Anne lived another seven years and was buried next to William at the Church of the Holy Trinity in Stratford upon Avon.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

pohnpei397 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2009

write35,413 answers

starTop subjects are History, Literature, and Social Sciences

William Shakespeare only had one wife.  Her name was Anne Hathaway.

We know very little about Shakespeare's personal life, but we do know a little bit about this aspect.

Anne Hathaway was eight years older than Shakespeare.  She was from a little village not far away from Stratford, where Shakespeare was from.

They married when she was 26 and he was 18.  She was pregnant at the time of their marriage and gave birth to a daughter 6 months later.  They would later have twins, making a total of three children that they had together.

She died in 1623, at age 67.  Shakespeare had died seven years previously, when he was 52.

check Approved by eNotes Editorial



jacspear | Student

Just one, Anne Hathaway. The two were married in 1582 and had three children.