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Ava Gardner attends husband Frank Sinatra’s opening at the Cocoanut Grove, 1952, photographed by Mel Traxel
Frank and Ava cut into their second wedding cake after arriving in Havana for their honeymoon, 1951
Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner are pictured viewing a designer’s lookbook while in Italy for his European tour, May 1953. The tour was cut short when European audiences did not take a liking to Sinatra and even booed him off the stage in Italy, shouting, “Ava! Ava! Ava!” It was yet another symbol of the vast disparity between her professional success and his. Five months later, MGM announced the couple’s separation after two years of marriage.
Both were heartbroken, particularly Sinatra. Daughter Nancy Sinatra wrote, “Dad was so sad. He was a body full of sighs. And it took a long time for him to begin to live again. A long time. I knew when I hugged him I was helping to heal the wound, but a hug from a daughter was only a Band-Aid, not a cure.” Frank once said, “What a period of time that was. It was all Mondays.” It was during this period, in November of 1953, that Sinatra made his last attempt at suicide when he slit one of his wrists and was checked into Mount Sinai Hospital for “exhaustion.” Rumors spread that he had tried to kill himself, and Sinatra denied them all. Though his career was on the upswing for the first time in two years, it was clear to everyone that, in his private life, Frank Sinatra had hit rock bottom.
Oh, God. Frank Sinatra could be the sweetest, most charming man in the world when he was in the mood.