Frank Sinatra was known for his iconic career and headline-making personal life. The legendary “My Way” singer, who died in 1998 at age 82, had his way with many famous females and was once engaged to both actress Lauren Bacall and dancer Juliette Prowse, per The Washington Post. But those broken engagements didn’t stop the blue-eyed idol from walking down the aisle four times during his lifetime.
Here’s what you need to know about Sinatra’s many marriages.
Sinatra Was Married to Nancy Barbato From 1939- 1951
Sinatra was a young man in his early 20s when he married Nancy Barbato, a secretary whom he first met when he was a teen, according to the New York Times. The newlyweds were so broke following their 1939 wedding that after tying the knot they headed back to work at their low-paying jobs.
Mrs. Sinatra was known to be a doting wife who was skilled at cooking her husband’s favorite Italian meals, and homemade pies, per The Post. As her husband’s fame grew, so did his flings with other women, which were said to include glamorous Hollywood starlets as Lana Turner, Marilyn Monroe, and Angie Dickinson.
Sinatra and his first wife welcome three children together – Nancy Jr., Frank Jr., and Tina – but they ultimately divorced in 1951. Barbato died in 2018 at age 101.
Sinatra Was Married to Ava Gardner From 1951-57
Sinatra wasted no time in walking down the aisle a second time. One week after divorcing his first wife, he married movie bombshell, Ava Gardner. The celebrity couple wed on November 7, 1951, in Philadelphia, then honeymooned in Miami and Cuba, according to the Daily Mail.
The two had been engaged in a passionate affair while Sinatra was married to Barbato, per Showbiz CheatSheet, but their subsequent six-year marriage was so volatile that Gardner refused to bring children into it.
“’In Ava, Dad had met his match,” Sinatra’s daughter Tina once said, per The Mail.
Although their marriage did not work, Sinatra was devastated when Gardner died in 1990 at age 67, 23 years after their split.
Sinatra Was Married to Mia Farrow From 1966-68
In 1966, Sinatra married actress Mia Farrow. The “Peyton Place” actress was just 19 when she met the 48-year-old “New York, New York” crooner.
“I was hers, instantly,” Sinatra said of his instant attraction to the young soap star, per Showbiz Cheatsheet. “I loved that hair, man. I think the hair’s what got me.”
The couple wed on July 19, 1966, in a short ceremony at the Sands Hotel in Las Vegas, according to Martha Stewart.com. But the marriage was also short. Two years after they exchanged vows, Sinatra served Farrow divorce papers while she was on the set of her breakout film, “Rosemary’s Baby.”
Farrow later told Vanity Fair that Sinatra took issue with her career during their marriage and didn’t want her to do any movies. Farrow admitted that if she had put her career on hold, the marriage probably would have lasted. She also teased that she and Sinatra “never really split up”—despite the fact that he married another woman in the 1970s. Farrow hinted that the legendary singer could have “possibly” fathered her son Ronan Farrow, who was born in 1987.
In 2017, Farrow told RTE Radio 1 that she loved Sinatra “’til the day he died and beyond.”
“He was the love of my life,” she said.
The Singer Was Married to Barbara Sinatra From 1976 Until His Death in 1998
Sinatra’s fourth marriage was his longest. In 1976, Sinatra walked down the aisle for the last time when he wed model and socialite Barbara Marx, the ex-wife of actor Zeppo Marx, according to the Hollywood Reporter. The two first met in the 1950s when Sinatra was married to Gardner, and they remained together until Sinatra’s death in 1998.
Together, the celebrity couple founded the Barbara Sinatra Children’s Center at the Eisenhower Medical Center and the Frank Sinatra Celebrity Invitational Golf Tournament, per THR.
When asked why her marriage to Sinatra worked when his others didn’t, Barbara Sinatra once told the Desert Sun that she tried to “analyze” it.
“I think it’s because we were friends before anything romantic happened,” she said. “He would call and chat, but it wasn’t romantic until later. It’s something you can’t explain why or how it happened.”
As for rumors of Sinatra’s infidelity later in life, she told the outlet that she didn’t believe Farrow’s claims that her late husband “possibly” fathered her son Ronan in the 1980s, calling the story “phony” and “a bunch of junk.”
The final Mrs. Sinatra died of natural causes in 2017 at age 90.
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