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But it seems to have created [a great deal of] interest because it’s another side of him that most people would never suspect.” Indeed, some challenging of the record must also have been on her mind, given the myth surrounding her husband, his career, love life, mob links, Rat Pack antics, mercurial temperament, depression and drinking. He was full of love and warmth and understanding and loyalty.When he was on your side, it was like having a whole army.” By the time Barbara got involved with Sinatra, the singer, divorced from third wife Mia Farrow, was “a 55-year-old living legend who’d grown accustomed to getting his own way”.We sip water from impressively hefty crystal glasses that rest on cocktail napkins embossed with Sinatra in elegant cursive.Barbara has said little publicly since her husband’s death aged 82 in 1998.
The result was a 22-year marriage and near constant companionship throughout the last 26 years of Sinatra’s life.
Tall, elegant and younger-looking than her years, Barbara is as press-wary as her husband, who once refused to attend a party Henry Kissinger threw for him because the journalist Barbara Walters was invited.
She is initially reserved when we meet at her LA penthouse apartment, one of three properties she owns, a vast, cream-carpeted space with views from the Hollywood Hills to the Pacific filled with framed gold discs, art and photographs, many of them of the glamorous couple.
The Waldorf incident is among many revealed in a new memoir by the former model and Las Vegas showgirl who caught Sinatra’s eye across a Palm Springs golf course while still married to her second husband, Zeppo Marx, of Marx Brothers fame.
Knowing the singer’s reputation with women (exes included Ava Gardner, Lauren Bacall, Juliet Prowse and Mia Farrow), the then Mrs Marx was convinced their charged flirtation was merely a fling.