After they parted ways, Nancy never married again, in fact, she remained his life-long companion.
True love can change forms but can never leave your life. Once you whole-heartedly take someone as your partner it is hard to move on and be strangers again. Legendary singer Frank Sinatra's first wife Nancy Barbato Sinatra's heart remained full of love for her husband even after they went their own separate ways.
The young couple met each other in 1934 when she was 17 and he, 19. The childhood sweethearts got engaged quickly and exchanged marital vows in 1939. The great depression was in its full swing and the couple was so poor that they went back to work - Nancy worked as a secretary in a printing plant and Frank was a singing waiter. Nancy Sinatra Sr. was also a homemaker. As a young wife, Nancy, in tradition with women of her era, did all the cooking, making spaghetti sauces containing only vegetables to save money on meat, reports the Sun.
In the due course of time, the Killing me softly singer went on to touch the zenith of success and adapted to the Hollywood lifestyle; which included a string of extramarital romances. Nancy, on the other hand, remained the wife of her husband.
Not only did she encourage her husband in his career aspirations, but she also endured the rumors of infidelity with the most famous Hollywood beauties of the time. From answering his fan mails to sewing his bow tie, Nancy was very involved in his life despite the rumors, claims The New York Times.
However, she was not left with any other options when Sinatra decided to abandon her to get married to Ava Gardner, one of Hollywood's most celebrated beauties. Therefore, she reluctantly parted ways from him.
She had never wanted to be divorced from his childhood sweetheart, “I have something too fine and precious to give up,” said Mrs. Sinatra in 1950, during one of her rare interviews. Although, so selfless was her love for him that she wanted him to be with the woman he loved and quietly moved out of their life. The father of Nancy's three children went on to have three more wives, but Nancy remained unmarried for all her life.
"What is surprising, given the circumstances, is that for nearly half a century — from the end of their marriage in 1951 until his death, at 82, in 1998 — Nancy Barbato Sinatra, who died on Friday at 101, remained her ex-husband’s cherished friend and quiet confidante, displaying a fealty that was noteworthy even for a woman of her time," noted The New York Times.
After their split, Nancy led a quiet and private life bringing up their three children and never uttering a word about her ex-husband in public. Therefore, their all-night, confiding phone calls, family dinners, and his continuing visits to meet her seldom came to the fore. They remained to be confidantes and companions. Writing about Frank Sinatra in 1962, the fan magazine TV-Radio Mirror said, “He has more than once sought out Nancy Sinatra, even though she does not fit into the fast-moving, neurotic world he seems to prefer. The simple truth is that today, Frank sees Nancy more regularly than he did through much of their marriage.”
“Throughout the many years after they split, my grandfather came to visit whenever his crazy life would allow it,” Nancy’s granddaughter A. J. Lambert wrote in a 2015 remembrance in Vanity Fair. "My grandfather, after all, never stopped having contact with her," she added.
"I remember many times when they would be on the phone until all hours, even when he was in his 80s, at the end of his life. I know he never stopped loving her. And I know she never stopped loving him," Lambert said. She also goes on to say that her grandmother never did anything to have him back in her life. "'It was normal for us to be together because we were always kind of together,'" Nancy told Lambert. “'I didn’t do it under the pretense of thinking he’d come back. It’s just that we had a nice association and I wanted to keep it that way. Nothing wrong with that.'”
And they kept it going until Sinatra passed away in 1981 and Nancy Sinatra quietly breathed her last at her home in 2018. "Despite the fact that it wasn’t meant to be forever, in a way it was," Lambert asserted.
Describing her love for her one and only partner, she had told Lambert, "I did it purposefully." She added, "I knew that if I didn’t do it my way, it wouldn’t have happened. Your grandfather was a whirlwind, you know? I didn’t do it for him. I did it for us."