The Divorcee

The Divorcee is a 1930 American pre-Code drama film written by Nick Grindé, John Meehan, and Zelda Sears, based on the 1929 novel Ex-Wife by Ursula Parrott. It was directed by Robert Z. Leonard, who was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Director. The film was also nominated for Best Picture, and won Best Actress for its star Norma Shearer.


Ted (Chester Morris), Jerry (Norma Shearer), Paul (Conrad Nagel), and Dorothy (Helen Johnson) are part of the New York in-crowd. Jerry's decision to marry Ted crushes Paul. He gets drunk, and is involved in an accident that leaves Dorothy's face disfigured. Out of pity, Paul marries Dorothy. Ted and Jerry have been married for three years when she discovers that he had a brief affair with another woman—and when she confronts him on their third anniversary, he tells her it did not "mean a thing". Upset, and with Ted away on a business trip, Jerry spends the night with his best friend, Don. Upon Ted's return, she tells him that she "balanced [their] accounts", withholding Don's name.