"Elizabeth becomes the mother hen when those kids were threatened," Mann said. "She took Maria's side and bore the brunt of the criticism through that ordeal."
Now 49, Burton is out of the entertainment industry and lives in Idaho.
While Taylor's romantic relationships with men waxed and waned throughout her life, her children stood by her. In 2000, they all convened at Buckingham Palace to watch her be made a Dame of the British Empire. They admitted, though, that having a Hollywood icon as a mom made growing up far from ordinary.
"When my mother started having her affair with Richard [Burton], it was overwhelming," Michael Howard Wilding once said, according to The Daily Mail. "We were in Italy at the time and the paparazzi were going wild. They were crawling all over the walls and around the villa. I remember once we were given permission to use the garden hose on the telephoto lenses peering over the wall."
Taylor took steps to keep the cameras off her children. Her daughters reportedly had more than a dozen security guards when they were in Rome with her and Burton.
"Christopher Wilding once said to me, 'My mother protected us from the circus,'" Mann said. "That didn't mean they didn't see paparazzi -- sometimes, there was no way to avoid it. In general, she was very protective of them."
But not always present.
'She wasn't a hands-on mother, necessarily," Mann said. "There were a lot of nannies and assistants to take care of the kids. 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 18 when she had Michael, they weren't that far apart in age, and she took that approach with all of them."
Holidays were a different story. Taylor, who converted to Judaism for her marriages to Todd and Fisher, celebrated "anything and everything," according to Mann.
"Especially when she was married to Richard Burton, holidays could be enormous," he said. "Richard's daughter would join them, they would go on the yacht, the Kalizma. Later, it would be with John Warner's family. There were always a lot of kids, grand kids, friends, spouses and all of that."
The four children reunited at Taylor's funeral last week. Michael Howard Wilding and Liza Burton Tivey read at the service; two of Taylor's ten grandsons performed as well.
It remains to be seen how Taylor's massive estate -- worth approximately $600 million -- will be distributed among her children. Her will is expected to be read this week, and a Friday report from The Daily Mail said that Taylor's manager and confidant, Jason Winters, might inherit more of her fortune than her children. But Mann said he can't see that happening.
"I would be surprised if she didn't make accommodations for the four kids," he said. "She really did care about them. Unlike so many Hollywood families, they were very happy. They were very fond of their mother and were close to her till the end."