Sly Ties the Knot

updated 06/02/1997 at 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 06/02/1997 01:00AM

IN 1994, AFTER DATING MODEL JENNIFER Flavin for more than five years, Sylvester Stallone dumped her via Federal Express. "He sent me a six-page handwritten letter," Flavin, who reconciled with Stallone a year later, told PEOPLE two months after the split. "It was pretty sloppy." Stallone's behavior as a boyfriend—and wedding planner—has since been impeccable, however. On Saturday, May 17, the 50-year-old star, who grunted his way to riches as boxer Rocky Balboa and lethal misfit John Rambo, married Flavin, 28, in a small but elaborate London ceremony. Three hours earlier, the bride, still in curlers, spoke to her older brother Patrick, a computer salesman living in Savage, Minn. "She said, 'I'm on cloud nine. I couldn't be happier,' " says Patrick, 39. "She said, 'Sylvester is just beaming.' "

The wedding kicked off at 3:45 p.m. in the Penthouse Pavilion of the Dorchester Hotel. With about a dozen close friends and relatives in attendance—Flavin's sisters Julie and Trisha, Planet Hollywood founder Robert Earl and Sophia Rose, the couple's 9-month-old baby, among others—Stallone, in a blue suit, and Flavin, wearing a white Armani wedding dress, said their I do's. Limousines then whisked the wedding party 60 miles to Blenheim Palace, birthplace of Winston Churchill. There, in a chapel, the marriage was blessed. After a lavish dinner, the couple spent their first night of marriage at Blenheim before jetting to Ireland for a honeymoon on May 19. In a statement, Stallone said, "I have had two great things happen to me in the past year: the birth of our beautiful daughter Sophia Rose and now my marriage to Jennifer, who is a great mother and I know will be a wonderful wife."

Rev. Roger Humphreys says that in his chapel blessing, "I spoke about the importance of showing within marriage a love which gives and a love which forgives."

Fitting words: After he skipped out on Flavin three years ago, Stallone (who was previously married to Sasha Czack and to formerly famous bombshell Brigitte Nielsen) dated several models, including Angie Everhart, to whom he was briefly engaged. "I'm not naive about what may go on when I'm not around," Flavin told Cosmopolitan in 1992. But by the summer of 1995, she and Sly had reunited. Last August, Flavin gave birth to Sophia, who suffered from a heart ailment that has since been corrected through surgery. "When they got back together it seemed they knew what they wanted," says Mitch Flavin, 38, Jennifer's brother. "She knows that Sly is pretty much settled down. He's getting older too, you know."

PETER CASTRO
SIMON PERRY and PETE NORMAN in London and JOHNNY DODD in Los Angeles

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