A revised edition of 'Sinatra: Behind the Legend' by celebrity biographer J. Randy Taraborrelli paints a harrowing picture of Sinatra's love affair with screen siren Ava Gardner — one that involves multiple suicide attempts.
Sinatra was first introduced to Gardner by a mere magazine cover: This is from the December 1944 issue of 'Photoplay,' a popular film fan magazine at the time. Gardner's career was just getting started.
Upon seeing the cover, he supposedly told a friend 'I'm going to marry that girl.' Meanwhile, back home in New Jersey -- his wife and the mother of his two children, Nancy. She knew of Sinatra's love affairs, but chose to look the other way.
Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra
Book reveals dark side of Frank Sinatra, Ava Gardner love
Screen actress Ava Gardner and crooner Frank Sinatra are a smiling twosome as they sit together at the heavyweight championship bout between Ezzard Charles, N.B.A. titleholder, and Joe Louis in New York?s Yankee Stadium on Sept. 27, 1950. (AP Photo)
9th December 1942: Actress Ava Gardner (1922 - 1990) wearing a diaphanous robe. (Photo by Eric Carpenter/John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)
Actress Ava Gardner dines with Spanish matador Miguel Luis Dominguin at a hotel at Reno, Nev., July 1954. Dominguin flew from Spain to be with the actress while she sits out the required six weeks residence for a divorce from singer Frank Sinatra. (AP Photo)
American actress Ava Gardner (1922 - 1990) at the beach in a two-piece swimming costume, March 1943. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Ava Gardner arranges the bow tie for her husband, Frank Sinatra, at London's Washington Hotel, December 9, 1951, prior to their leaving for the Coliseum Theater for the "Midnight Matinee." (AP Photo)
(GERMANY OUT) Sinatra, Frank - Singer, actor, USA - (*12.12.1915-14.05.1998+) Scene from the movie 'Johnny Concho'' Directed by: Don McGuire USA 1956 Vintage property of ullstein bild (Photo by ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Singer Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner dine together at Reno's Riverside Hotel, August 19, 1951, where Sinatra is filling a singing engagement while fulfilling the six weeks residence requirement for a Nevada divorce. Asked about reports that Mrs.Sinatra would contest his action, he said "I honestly don't know what she will do." But in the next breath added, "I think you can safely say Miss Gardner and I will be married." (AP Photo)
** FILE ** In this Sept. 4, 1951, file photo, singer Frank Sinatra is seen at a Las Vegas nightspot where he opened a two-week engagement, with new love interest, actress Ava Gardner. Sinatra chose Las Vegas for his first divorce in 1951, when he split with his first wife Nancy to marry Gardner. (AP Photo, File)
Singer-actor Frank Sinatra and actress Ava Gardner pose at the Palace Theater in New York City on Oct. 29, 1951. (AP Photo/Marty Lederhandler)
Ava Gardner (1922-1990), US actress, wearing a light blue short sleeve jumper, while reading a book as she reclines on a sofa, circa 1950. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 4: Frank Sinatra on the FRANK SINATRA SHOW. Image dated November 4, 1950. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
American actor Mickey Rooney and his first wife American actress Ava Gardner (1922 - 1990) shortly before their wedding, January 1942. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Frank Sinatra and his new bride, movie actress Ava Gardner, join hands as they cut a wedding cake in the Montmarte, a Havana, Cuba, nightclub November 8, 1951. Married November 7, in Philadelphia, they went to Havana on a whirlwind honeymoon. (AP Photo)
NEW YORK - NOVEMBER 7: Frank Sinatra and Ava Gardner on their wedding day. Image dated November 7, 1951. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
NOVEMBER 7: Entertainer Frank Sinatra poses with his new wife, actress Ava Gardner, pose for a portrait with their wedding cake on their wedding day on November 7, 1951. (Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
UNITED STATES - NOVEMBER 10: Frank Sinatra and his wife Ava Gardner as they arrived at Idlewild Airport after returning from their honeymoon. (Photo by Jack Clarity/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
LIGHT UP TIME -- Air Date 10/15/1949 -- Pictured: (l-r) Singer/actor/star Frank Sinatra (Photo by NBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty Images)
American actress Ava Gardner (1922 - 1990), circa 1940. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
12th July 1949: EXCLUSIVE American actors Frank Sinatra (1915 - 1998) and Ava Gardner (1922 - 1990) pose with a sign that reads, 'Sinatra Swooners Bat Girl,' July 12, 1949. Gardner holds a baseball bat over her shoulder while Sinatra holds the sign up to her back. The Swooners were Sinatra's charity baseball team, which was made up of MGM contract players. (Photo by Gene Lester/Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Frank Sinatra (*12.12.1915-14.05.1998+) , SÃ¤nger, Schauspieler, USA, mit Ehefrau Ava Gardner, - 1951 (Photo by ullstein bild via Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - JANUARY 01: Ava Gardner And Frank Sinatra At The Step Of The Plane (Photo by Keystone-France/Gamma-Keystone via Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Frank Sinatra *12.12.1915-14.05.1998+SÃ¤nger, Schauspieler, USAmit Ehefrau Ava Gardner- 1954 (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra at the Joe Louis vs Ezzard Charles fight at Yankee Stadium. (Photo By: Seymour Wally/NY Daily News Via Getty Images)
circa 1951: American singer and actor Frank Sinatra and his wife, actor Ava Gardner, sit next to each other in a booth and sip drinks with straws. Gardner was Sinatra's second wife; Sinatra was Gardner's third husband. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES - JANUARY 1: A telop title card for the The Frank Sinatra Show television show. Image dated January 1, 1952. (Photo by CBS via Getty Images)
Ava Gardner. (Photo by The Seattle Times/JR Partners via Getty Images)
25th March 1943: Actress Ava Gardner (1922 - 1990) flashes a big grin whilst modelling a stylish bikini on the beach. (Photo by Eric Carpenter/John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)
American actress Ava Gardner (1922 - 1990) wearing pink evening gloves, circa 1950. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
American actors Burt Lancaster (1913 - 1994) as Ole 'Swede' Andreson and Ava Gardner (1922 - 1990) as Kitty Collins in a promotional portrait for 'The Killers', directed by Robert Siodmak, 1946. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
American actress Ava Gardner (1922 - 1990) sitting on a diving board and holding a pair of siamese cats, circa 1945. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
7th November 1951: American pop singer Frank Sinatra poses with his wife, American actor Ava Gardner, standing behind their wedding cake on their wedding day. Gardner holds her hand on Sinatra's cheek. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
American actor and singer Frank Sinatra (1915 - 1998) as Private Angelo Maggio in 'From Here To Eternity', directed by Fred Zinnemann, 1953. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
American actress Ava Gardner (1922 - 1990), circa 1945. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
circa 1945: Actress Ava Gardner (1922 - 1990) poses on the beach in a one-piece swimsuit. (Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Frank Sinatra*12.12.1915-14.05.1998+Saenger, Schauspieler, USA- undatiert (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
2nd June 1944: Actress Ava Gardner (1922 - 1990) wearing a sarong in a metallic fabric. (Photo by Clarence Sinclair Bull/John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)
American singer and actor Frank Sinatra (1915 - 1998) as Private Angelo Maggio in a promotional still for 'From Here to Eternity', directed by Fred Zinnemann, 1953. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
(GERMANY OUT) Frank Sinatra*12.12.1915-14.05.1998+Saenger, Schauspieler, USAin der Rolle des Miguel mit Sophia Loren (als Juana) in dem Film 'Stolz und Leidenschaft' ( The pride and the passion )Regie: Stanley Kramer- 1957 (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
UNSPECIFIED - CIRCA 1950: Photo of Ava Gardner Photo by Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images
UNITED STATES - JANUARY 17: Ava Gardner poses in the Daily News Studio. (Photo by John Peodincuk/NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images)
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Four years later, in 1948, Sinatra bumped into Gardner, 26, and asked her out to dinner.
By 1949, Sinatra was in somewhat of a career free fall. His concerts were no longer selling out, and he had just one person on his mind. His publicist warned him that the public would turn on him if the Ava affair became public, but it was too late for ol' blue eyes.
Things moved quickly. On Valentine's day, 1950, Frank asked his wife for a divorce. The public? Well, they blamed Ava. She admitted years later that, "The s*** really hit the fan. I received scores of letters accusing me of being a scarlet woman, and worse."
The two wed on November 7th, 1951 -- but not everything was rosy with their relationship.
The book reveals that one night, Gardner had a huge argument with Sinatra -- in front of a packed house, mind you -- at the famous Copacabana nightclub. She stormed off to phone her ex-husband, Artie Shaw, and went to his apartment. She knew it would make Frank jealous, and it worked.
Sinatra showed up and hours later, after returning to their hotel suite, he called her from a separate bedroom and threatened to kill himself, even shooting a gun into a mattress.
There's more tales of drama in the book, of course, some new, but much of which has been well-documented for years.
As for Frank and Ava?
The two divorced in 1957. It was Gardner's third, and last, marriage, though the two remained close up until her death in 1990.