Frank Sinatra Ava Gardner Divorce
March 6, 2012 by staff
Frank Sinatra Ava Gardner Divorce, As his singing and cinema career flourished, the delectable bodies of the swooning young women all around him proved increasingly irresistible to the 32-year-old Frank Sinatra, especially when he looked at his wife Nancy, growing great with child for the third time.
He had never been faithful but now he came and went as he pleased and did exactly what he wanted, with whomever he wanted. He dallied with actress Lana Turner and told her he would leave his wife.
But he didn’t. Not for her.
Insatiable: Ava Gardner was regularly unfaithful
One night in 1948 he stood on the terrace of his Hollywood bachelor penth*use with his best friend, the songwriter Sammy Cahn, looking down over Sunset Strip.
‘Do you know that Ava Gardner lives down there?’ said Cahn, pointing to a little house nestled into the trees.
The name of the hot young film star stirred Sinatra. He had long lusted after her. With the kind of beauty that comes along once in a hundred years, she transfixed men and women alike. She took her pleasures as she found them — and she found them everywhere.
Cupping his hands to his mouth, he yelled ‘Ava … Ava Gardner!’ his big voice carrying far into the quiet evening. ‘We know you’re down there. Hello, Ava.’
The two men roared with laughter. And then a miracle. Down below, a curtain was drawn, a window opened and Ava stuck her head out. She knew exactly who it was. Sinatra’s voice was unmistakable. She grinned and waved.
Was it an accident that they ran into each other a few days later, in front of her place? And then again in the street? Frank wasn’t usually keen on walking but suddenly he was getting out a lot. The third time, they both began laughing as he said hello.
Icon: in his 1950s heyday, Frank Sinatra could have any woman he wanted
Ava’s eyes searched his. Was he following her? He met her gaze boldly. She put a hand on her shapely hip, provocatively. He spoke. ‘Ava, let’s be friends. Why don’t we have dinner tonight?’
He had met her, he remembered, when she was an 18-year-old starlet newly arrived in Hollywood and Mickey Rooney, no less, was madly in love with her. Though she was smokingly sxy, she was just a kid, Sinatra thought at the time, too young for him.
So he was content just to stare at those dazzlingly high cheekbones and haughty green eyes.
He met her again and danced with her in a nightclub when he was with Lana, and she — at 23, divorced from both Rooney and her second husband, the band leader Artie Shaw — was with the billionaire tycoon Howard Hughes.
Then Sinatra’s friend Peter Lawford brought her to one of his parties. Dark haired with a white fur stole on her wide shoulders, he noticed how she prowled with the easy grace of a tigress.
And now, here they were, just the two of them, faced with a decision. ‘I damn well knew he was married,’ Ava recalled, ‘and married men were definitely not high on my hit parade.
‘But he was handsome, with his thin, boyish face, bright blue eyes and incredible grin. And he was so enthusiastic and invigorated, clearly pleased with life, in general, himself, in particular, and, at that moment, me.’
So began one of Hollywood’s legendary pairings of alpha male and female.
That night they went out drinking. Despite her stupendous looks, she had no confidence and alcohol, consumed in quantity, made her forget her deep self-doubt and feel glamorous, intelligent, desirable — a person worthy of the attentions of Frank Sinatra.
She had always had a thing for musicians but he was in a different league. His voice had a quality, she said, ‘I’d only heard in two other people — Judy Garland and Maria Callas. It made me want to cry for happiness, like a beautiful sunset or a boys’ choir singing Christmas carols’.
Now here she was, sitting with him, staring at him. Could she be in love?
Frank took in her stare and told himself that here, for the first time in his life, was someone who instinctively knew him and all his secrets.
He took her hand (she kept stealing glances at his hands; they were beautiful) and led her to his car. She swore her deepest oath to herself that she would not sleep with him.
And, indeed she didn’t. Not that night. They went to his apartment, kissed and he reached to unzip her dress. And though in most cases she was out of her clothes in a second, with him she hesitated.
The happiest girl in the world: But Ava’s 1951 marriage to Frank was doomed from the start
She touched his arm and called him ‘Francis’. No one had ever done that before. Then he took her home.
It was months before they saw each other again, but when they did Frank fell as fast as she did. In a flash, all his discontent alchemised into the most powerful emotion he had ever known.
This time they did make love, and, said Ava: ‘It was magic. We became lovers for ever, eternally. Big words, I know, but I truly felt that no matter what happened we would always be in love.’ Frank told Ava: ‘All my life, being a singer was the most important thing in the world. Now you’re all I want.’
He had, at last, found a true partner in the opera that was his life. All his other women had been supporting players, but Ava was a diva with a soul whose turbulence equalled his own. Both harboured profound feelings of worthlessness, which expressed themselves in volcanic furies.
‘We were high-strung people,’ she said. ‘Possessive, jealous and liable to explode fast. When I lose my temper, you can’t find it any place. He’s the same.’
Both had titanic appetites, for food, drink, cigarettes, diversion, companionship and sex. Both loved jazz. Both were politically liberal. Both were fascinated with prostitution and perversity. Both distrusted sleep, fearing it as death’s mirror. Both hated being alone.
Like him, she was infinitely restless and easily bored. In both, this tendency could lead to casual cruelty to others —and to each other. They quarrelled constantly. Friends whose house the lovers met in recalled how Ava would scream at Frank and he would slam the door and storm downstairs.
‘Minutes later we’d smell sweet fragrance in the air. Ava had decided she wasn’t mad any more and so she sprayed the stairs with her perfume. Frank would smell it and race back up to the bedroom.’
There was lots of making-up sex, after which they nestled sweetly in each other’s arms and swore never to fight again. But the fact was that Frank and Ava were a permanently unstable compound and no amount of sex — no matter how spectacular — was sufficient to keep them bonded.
Or as Ava later confided: ‘The problems were never in bed. The problems would start on the way to the bidet.’
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