Candid Pictures Reveal One of Elizabeth Taylor's Lesser Known Roles: Being a Mother

Actress Elizabeth Taylor was a Hollywood legend who for decades graced the big screen in classics like Cleopatra and The Taming of the Shrew. (Who can forgot those stunning purple eyes?) But while she was under constant scrutiny, the famous mom was always careful to shelter her kids Michael Howard Wilding, Christopher Wilding, Liza Burton Tivey, and Maria Burton.

"She was this globetrotting beautiful siren who kept them out of the spotlight — she wasn't pushing them onto TV shows as some famous parents do. There wasn't a lot of use of her children in the media," said William J. Mann, author of How to Be a Movie Star: Elizabeth Taylor in Hollywood ($3.50, Amazon).

We'll admit it was quite easy for all of us to forget that the glamour queen mothered four children. However, her public image didn't prevent her from being a supportive mother and friend to her kids in their times of need.

"She was more of the pal than the disciplinarian. She was the kind of mother who said, 'I'm here if you want to talk to me.' She was only [20] when she had Michael, they weren't that far apart in age, and she took that approach with all of them," William also noted in his book.

Her close bond with her kids is clearly evident in these adorable photos — and if it were up to us, we would have given her a "Mother of the Year" award to go with all her Oscars.

Check out our gallery of Elizabeth Taylor with her kids through the years!