Nelson Mandela and his wives: Evelyn, Winnie and Graca

Mandela's second marriage largely coincided with the time he spent locked up at the hands of the apartheid regime

Nelson Mandela's love life has seemingly run parallel to his political one - and can be divided up into three key eras.

The young activist married his first wife, Evelyn Mase, in 1944.

The couple, who had four children, divorced in 1958 - shortly before Mandela became an outlaw with the banning of the ANC.

Mandela's second marriage - and probably his most famous - largely coincided with the time he spent locked up at the hands of the apartheid regime.


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In 1958 he walked down the aisle with Winnie Madikizela, who stood by his side and actively campaigned to free him from prison.

But the couple, who had two children, split up in 1992 on the grounds of her adultery. She was also later convicted of kidnapping.

His third marriage, to Graca Machel - the widow of former Mozambique President - came on his 80th birthday as entered his role of world statesman.