“We became lovers forever, eternally. Big words, I know, but I truly felt that no matter what happened we would always be in love.” — Ava Gardner
Gardner’s third and last marriage (1951–1957) was to singer and actor Frank Sinatra. She would later say in her autobiography that he was the love of her life. Sinatra left his wife, Nancy, for Ava and their subsequent marriage made headlines. Sinatra was savaged by gossip columnists Hedda Hopper and Louella Parsons, the Hollywood establishment, the Roman Catholic Church and by his fans for leaving his wife for a noted femme fatale. Gardner used her considerable influence to get Sinatra cast in his Oscar-winning role in From Here to Eternity (1953). That role and the award revitalized both Sinatra’s acting and singing careers.
“The Gardner-Sinatra marriage was tumultuous. Gardner confided to Artie Shaw, her second husband, that “With him [Frank] it’s impossible…it’s like being with a woman. He’s so gentle. It’s as though he thinks I’ll break, as though I’m a piece of Dresden china and he’s gonna hurt me.”  During their marriage Gardner became pregnant twice, but she had two abortions. “MGM had all sorts of penalty clauses about their stars having babies,” she said. She said years later, “We couldn’t even take care of ourselves. How were we going to take care of a baby?” Gardner and Sinatra remained good friends for the rest of her life.”