and in an effort to placate her, put up little resistance. This resulted in the loss of the home he had built for his family nicknamed "The Italian Villa", the bulk of his assets, and contact with his children. Natalie changed their last names from Keaton to Talmadge, and they were disallowed from speaking about their father or seeing him.
According to Keaton in his autobiography, Natalie turned him out of their bedroom and sent detectives to follow him to see who he was dating behind her back. She also spent enormous sums of money. During the early 1920s, as per his autobiography, he dated actress Kathleen Key, and upon ending the affair, Key flew into a rage, tearing up his dressing room. Not until 1932, did Natalie bitterly divorce Keaton, at which time the court awarded her custody of both sons and substantial financial support. She refused to allow any contact between Keaton and his sons, whose last name she had changed to Talmadge. Keaton was reunited with them about eight years later when the older son turned 18. The failure of his marriage, along with the loss of his independence as a filmmaker, led Keaton into a period of serious alcoholism.
In the earliest days on stage, they traveled with a medicine show that included family friend, illusionist Harry Houdini. Keaton himself verified the origin of his nickname "Buster", given to him by Houdini, when at the age of three, fell down a flight of stairs and was picked up and dusted off by Houdini, who said to Keaton's father Joe, also nearby, that the fall was 'a buster'. Savvy showman Joe Keaton liked the nickname, which has stuck for more than 100 years.
Norma would marry three times (and have an open affair while still married to Schenck) and Constance married four times (men were always falling in love with her). Neither had children, but they happily doted on their two young nephews. After her divorce from Buster Natalie would not remarry, but she did have boyfriends over the years. Rather infamously, she had her sons’ last name legally changed to Talmadge when they were teens
Superior Court Judge Joseph Sproul gave the mother full custody and hefty settlement because she climed he was "impossible"
Depressed, penniless, and out of control, he was fired by MGM by 1933, and became a full-fledged alcoholic.
... and nothing has changed in family courts for more than a 100 yrs