A former Miss Manila, Imelda married Ferdinand Marcos in 1954, who was then a member of the House of Representatives.
When her husband became president in 1965, Imelda took an active role in political life. The Marcoses used their power to amass private wealth, corruptly siphoning foreign aid, loans, and the profits of domestic companies into private bank accounts.
During the 1986 elections, a popular uprising forced the Marcoses into exile, and they fled to Hawaii. Ferdinand died in exile.
Amazingly, Mrs Marcos returned to the Philippines in 1992 and campaigned for the presidency. Unsurprisingly, she received only a small percentage of the vote.
However, in 1995, Mrs Marcos won election to the House of Representatives, representing the first district in her home province of Leyte.
Imelda Marcos has three children, Imee Marcos-Manotoc, Ferdinand "Bongbong" Marcos and Irene Marcos-Araneta.
During her time as first lady, Mrs Marcos was famed for travelling the world to buy new shoes, whilst millions of Filipinos were living in extreme poverty. President Marcos' successor, Corazon Aquino, ordered many of Mrs Marcos' shoes to be put on display as a demonstration of her extravagance. However, she has now opened her own shoe museum in Marikina, bizarrely stating
"This museum is making a subject of notoriety into an object of beauty".
In December 2000, Mrs Marcos underwent surgery to remove a blood clot close to her brain, which doctors say could have killed her.
The following year she was arrested and charged with corruption and amassing wealth illegally, during her husband's regime. She was convicted of some of the charges and sentenced to nine to twelve years in prison. This conviction was later overturned, but she still faces many corruption-related charges.