Clark Gable was a handsome man, and he knew it. The actor's photos showcase the elegance and confidence few men naturally possess. Gable's charm also translated in his career, where he often portrayed a charmer who consistently had women in his pocket.
Unfortunately, this is as far as the good news goes, mainly because behind that calm exterior, lay a troubled man—a man whose story will probably have you shedding a tear or two.
True Love Is a Rare Thing
Clark had a taste for older, powerful women who ran the Hollywood and Bollywood circuits through the influence of power. The man was aware of his charm and knew how to get the women in his good books. This approach was calculated to allow the star to make headway in his career.
Eventually, Clark was part of the elites, but he was not tired of his philandering ways. This meant that the actor was embroiled in scandal after scandal, and things only got worse when Carole Lombard, the love of his life, passed away in a tragic accident. After that, Clark tried to find love in other women but to no avail.
Whatever It Takes to Thrive
In his youth, Clark had no intention of becoming an actor. Interestingly, he only started using the name Clark later in his life, and many people from his hometown in Cadiz, Ohio, knew him as Billy. Then, at 17, young Billy went to see a play titled 'Bird of Paradise,' and his life changed forever.
As soon as he could, the future star went to Kansas to join the Jewell Players, a traveling troupe. This move was made possible by his grandfather, who gave him a small bequest to start his adult life. So, with a dollar and a dream, our good man did his best to survive and thrive.
Heartbreak From an Engagement
While in Kansas, Billy picked up a few odd jobs to make ends meet and eventually began touring with stock companies. This job allowed the youth to travel across the nation and complete his first love, Franz Dorfler. The love birds were quick to start marriage plans by getting engaged in 1922, but Dorfler chose to wait for them to get a stable income.
This is how Gable met Josephine Dillon, a Broadway stage director who'd become his first wife. Dillon believed in Gable so much she paid for his cosmetic surgery and extra classes for speech and movements. The pair would move to Hollywood in 1924, leaving behind a distraught Dorfler.
Making All the Right Moves
After a few stints as an extra in silent movies, Gable returned to New York, where he took on the Broadway stage by befriending older influential women. Despite succeeding on Broadway, Gable yearned for Hollywood fame and decided marrying Maria Langham was the way forward.
This move worked because Maria took her time to teach him the ropes and polish his style. Before long, Gable was a familiar face beside every leading lady, even wooing the married Joan Crawford. However, this union had to be disbanded since the studio feared the scandal this affair would cause. Nevertheless, the love story would go on for around nine films until Crawford became pregnant and miscarried suspiciously.
The Love of His Life
When Gable met Carole Lombard during the movie's filming in 1932, there was no spark between them. Four years later, things would be different when the dynamic duo met at a party. Gable was so in love with Carole he married her three weeks after finalizing his divorce from Maria Langham.
The couple constantly called each other pet names and went on fishing and hunting trips together. Unfortunately, Gable didn't stop his wayward ways, and Carol hated it, but she took it all in stride. Sadly, Lombard would pass away from a plane crash, prompting Gable to join the Air Force. Many believe Gable never recovered from the loss, and he even asked to be buried beside Lombard.
Clark’s Affair With His Female Co-Stars
Clark Gable was an American actor nicknamed “The King of Hollywood,” and he would sweep women off their feet due to his good looks and charm. The actor had intimate moments with various women, including fellow co-stars.
Before he got married, some of the women he slept with were Jean Harlow and Ava Gardner; then, he dated Grace Kelly, but the pair broke up because Clark wasn’t ready to settle. Later, The King of Hollywood tied the knot with Carole Lombard, but rumor has it he didn’t stop having multiple affairs. During his marriage, Clark co-starred with Evelyn Keyes in Gone with the Wind, and both made love to each other.
Josephine Dillon Sharpened Him for Acting
When Clark Gable met Josephine Dillon, he wasn't a celebrity. In fact, the actor was struggling to get a breakthrough in his career. As a good girlfriend, Josephine helped Clark improve his appearance to get roles because she believed in him.
She paid for his teeth to get fixed and advised him to change his hair and go by the name Clark instead of William. With love in the air, the duo moved to Hollywood, got married, and Josephine's husband started thriving in the acting industry. Unfortunately, her kindness seemed to be in vain, because the actor would sleep around with other women, which led to their divorce.
Clark Divorced Josephine to Marry Ria Langham
Clark Gable started having an affair with Maria "Ria" Langham when he was still married to Josephine Dillon. His reason was that Ria, a Texas socialite, had better connections and more money than his wife. By this time, the actor had moved from Hollywood to New York and begun working on Broadway.
Clark's career was doing well alongside his affair, but when the head of MGM heard about it, he advised him to divorce Josephine and marry Langham. Not long after, in 1931, Clark ended his marriage, but sadly, his union with Langham didn't last too long. The pair divorced in 1939 due to the actor's multiple affairs.
William Haines and Clark Gable Allegedly Slept Together
According to reports, actor William Haines and Clark Gable had an intimate moment after attending a party together in 1925. The two played in a silent film and were good friends because William was already a friend to Clark's wife Carole before he actually married her.
No one can prove Clark's relationship with William, but writers believe they secretly had an affair. Two writers, David Bret and Warren G. Harris, released biographies titled after his name. As Clark moved on with his acting career, William found a new path in interior design, and one of his projects was Carole Lombard's Hollywood Boulevard house.
Clark Broke off His Engagement With Franz Dorfler
Franz Dorfler and Clark Gable's relationship had blossomed, and they were even engaged, so the next step was to walk down the aisle. Unfortunately, the lovebirds had to pause the wedding due to Clark's financial instability.
During this time, the actor was in his 20s trying to join the theater, and luckily, the Red Lantern Players had just opened for business. Clark joined the theater after Franz told him about it, but this move led to their breakup. This was because he met Josephine there, who was his coach and later "graduated" as his lover. With his newfound love, Clark moved on, but in 1937 Franz resurfaced to defend him after a woman made accusations against the actor.
His Affair With Pauline Frederick Came With Its Perks
Apparently, Clark Gable’s love affairs had a lot to do with his progression in the entertainment industry. In 1926 while he was still working in theater, Clark became interested in a successful and glamorous actress who happened to be twenty years older than him, Pauline Frederick. The two indulged in an affair after she helped Clark land several roles.
It was not only the work Pauline helped Clark with; reportedly, she also paid for him to undergo dental surgeries and showered him with luxury clothing items and a car. The two remained involved for a number of years before Gable met his future wife, Maria Langham, who appeared to be in a stronger position to help his career.
Clark’s Fourth Marriage Was the Shortest
While Clark kept switching his life partners, his fourth marriage proved to be the shortest, remaining intact for only three years. During a party in 1949, Gable met Lady Sylvia Ashley, ex-wife of American director Douglas Fairbanks Sr. Reportedly; Gable focused all of his attention on Ashley instead of his date at the party.
Not long after, the two eloped; however, the couple started having issues shortly afterward. Ashley loved being social, throwing huge parties, and doing lots and lots of shopping, which Gable didn’t approve of. Consequently, the two grew apart and ultimately divorced less than three years into their marriage in 1952.
Gable and Elizabeth’s Affair Was the Talk of the Town
While shooting for Men in White in 1993, Gable and actress Elizabeth Allan grew fond of each other, spending time together between takes. Gable even brought her coffee and cake every morning and pushed MGM to make her contract long-term. Eventually, the friendship evolved into a romantic relationship.
At the time, the two were married to different people, and their significant others had no idea about the affair. Elizabeth’s husband lived in England, and Gable’s wife, Maria, never really figured it out. Yet, Hollywood knew of their romance, and it became the talk of the town. Eventually, the two went their separate ways after two years when Gable became interested in Carole.
Kay Williams Was His Last Wife
After Carole Lombard passed away, Gable dated actress Kay Williams briefly, ending it all abruptly. The two rekindled the flame after he ended things with Ashley and then eloped in 1955. Williams brought with herself two children from a previous marriage, and Gable reportedly loved being a step-dad.
Shortly afterward, Kay became pregnant with Gable’s child, and for the first time, he looked forward to welcoming his own son. Yet, as fate would have it, Gable passed away in 1960, having finished filming for The Misfits. Unfortunately, he didn’t get to meet his son, who was born four months after his demise.
Anita Colby Turned Down His Marriage Proposal
The romantic relationship between Anita Colby and Clark Gable was the talk of the town, with many comparing her to Carole Lombard and wondering if she would be the next wife. Anita met Gable during a party at David O. Selznik’s house and left an impression on him after their short encounter.
The two grew fond of each other instantly, and from the looks of it, he was more into it than Anita. She herself said that it was a mixture of feelings for her since she loved him and did not love him at the same time. Reportedly, Gable proposed to Anita in 1948; however, she refused his proposal, saying she wasn’t ready for marriage.
Clark Gable Finds Love Again
Clark Gable and Ann Sothern had a very short stint that lasted just between April and July of 1948, though the relationship with Ann was one Clark was very intentional about forging. It all started when Ann was busy on the set of Words and Music and Clark, just fresh off the filming of his movie Command Decision, paid her a gallant visit on her set.
His famous remark, “Oh, by the way, I just left your ex-husband!” wasn't even a turnoff for Ann; we bet Clark relayed the words chivalrously. Though their love was short-lived, the two acclaimed actors became close friends even after their romantic fallout; so much so that it seemed that they were still an item. Doubts were eventually cleared when Ann revealed they were old friends.
True Love or Emotional Escape?
Clark Gable had quite a history with the most beautiful and successful women of the Golden Age; one of them was Audrey Totter. The short and sweet spark between these two Hollywood's finest got ignited after the passing of Clark's third wife, Carole Lombard. Clark really fancied Audrey, but there were some who believed that Audrey was a rebound for him.
Audrey went on to address the fleeting flame between herself and Clark in the book Dark City Women. She confirmed their sizzling intimacy that couldn't leave fans' lips and further revealed that their relationship had Clark still ruing over the demise of Carole. Rebound or no rebound?
Clark Gable was so famous for dating very talented and successful people in his line of work. So, it was easy to grasp why Clark went for Claudette Colbert. The Cleopatra star was at the end of her marriage with actor Norman Foster when Clark started lurking around just to later put the moves on. Interestingly, in 1934 the two worked together on It Happened One Night, which gave both Clark and Claudette Oscars.
Clark's gallantry did win Claudette over but the relationship lasted only for a few months, though the duo would work together again in the 1940 Boom Town. The two didn't waste time crying over spilled milk, as Claudette herself went on to marry Dr. Joel Pressman.
He Just Can't Be Tied Down - The Many Loves and Lusts of Jack Nicholson
Of all the playboys in Hollywood, three-time Academy Award winner Jack Nicholson may be the biggest fling-king of them all. Known as a great seducer, this ladies man of Los Angeles is rumored to have slept with over 2,000 women throughout his career.
Though he admits that he is now scared of dying alone, as women don't trust him, his philandering ways and desire for women have always made his love life incredibly complicated. Here is a sneak peek into just a few of his affairs.
Sandra Knight - His Only Wife
Before Jack Nicholson became the Hollywood A-Lister that he is today, he worked on numerous low-budget films with producer Roger Corman, including a horror flick released in 1963 called The Terror. It was on the set of this movie that he met his first and only wife, actress Sandra Knight. After dating briefly, Nicholson and Knight took the plunge and tied the knot. A year later, they welcomed their daughter, Jennifer Nicholson, to the world.
Though Nicholson felt that he and Knight had a “very beautiful, sweet marriage” in the beginning, he began to feel as though they had rushed into things and wanted out by 1966. The couple went their separate ways, with their divorce being finalized in 1968.
Susan Anspach - Mother of His Lovechild
The decision to dissolve their marriage was mutual. Nicholson felt stifled while Knight could see that her husband was on his way to becoming a huge star, which came with a lot of temptations. It seemed she was correct as, a year after their divorce, Nicholson got his big break in Easy Rider. The following year the actor starred opposite Susan Anspach in Five Easy Pieces. Their chemistry on-screen led to a steamy affair off-screen, which, according to Anspach, resulted in pregnancy.
Anspach did receive financial assistance from Nicholson to help with raising their son Caleb, however, after a few years, the two became entangled in a nasty legal battle when the actor asked for the money back. The money issues aside, the actress was also frustrated that Nicholson would acknowledge he was Caleb’s father in private while denying paternity publicly.
Michelle Phillips - Ex-Wife of His Best Friend
While working on Carnal Knowledge, Nicholson met Mamas and the Papas star Michelle Phillips, who was auditioning for the female lead role. Though she lost the part to Candice Bergen, Phillips and Nicholson hit it off and began dating. With Carnal Knowledge behind her, the singer agreed to appear in Dennis Hopper’s latest project, The Last Movie. One thing led to another, and before they knew it, Phillips and Hopper were wed.
Now, their marriage only lasted for eight days, but once they split, Phillips was still the ex-wife of Nicholson’s best friend. Despite the sticky situation, Nicholson and Phillips rekindled their brief affair. All was good until the actor received a call from an investigative reporter telling him that the person he thought was his sister was actually his mother. This shocking news ruined any trust the actor had for women.
Anjelica Huston - A Fiery Relationship for Years
Though Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston never married nor had children, their relationship lasted longer than any of his others. The two met in 1973 when Huston was just 21 years old. After leaving New York for Los Angeles, Huston accepted an invitation to attend a party at the actor’s home. As soon as he opened the door to greet her, she didn’t stand a chance.
After a passionate night together, Nicholson asked her for a second date. When he had to cancel at the last minute, she joined her friends at the same restaurant where Jack was entertaining another woman; ex-girlfriend Michelle Phillips. Calmly, Huston lifted her drink and said, “I’m downstairs, and I just thought I would come up to say hi.” Despite the red flags, Huston and Nicholson moved in together the following year.
Anjelica Huston - The Wrath
Though Huston was smitten with her new romantic roommate, she soon discovered signs that proved she wasn’t the only woman in his life. She knew Jack had a wandering eye but felt as though he was a flirt rather than a philanderer. However, her trusting nature was tested when Nicholson invited her for dinner and proceeded to tell her that another woman was pregnant with his child.
Already scorned, Huston became infuriated just a few days later when she read one of Nicholson’s Playboy interviews where he described a sexual affair with another woman while they were together. She tracked the actor down, stormed into his office, and began to savagely beat him. The actress recalled the moment saying, “He was ducking and bending, and I was going at him like a prizefighter, raining a vast array of direct punches.”
Anjelica Huston - Broken and in Tears
Throughout their 17 year relationship, Nicholson would often claim that he proposed to Huston “all the time.” The fact of the matter was, he constantly mocked the idea of matrimony even though he knew Huston wanted to marry him. On one occasion, the couple was sitting together in the living room watching a game show about marriages. As he started making fun of the couples and matrimony in general, Huston chimed in by saying, “If you had any balls, you’d marry me.”
Instead of reassuring her of his love, Nicholson retorted, “Marry you? Are you kidding me?” According to Huston, this exchange left her in tears for three days straight. She ended the relationship soon thereafter.
Melanie Griffith - A Flirtatious Fling
Throughout his 17-year relationship with Anjelica Huston, Nicholson was having flings and affairs on the side. At age 18, Melanie Griffith had just left her husband, Don Johnson, after a tumultuous six-month marriage. Newly single and ready to mingle, the proverbial wild child spent many nights partying at the Los Angeles nightclub Helena’s. Nicholson was an investor in the club as well as a Friday night regular, so chances are this is the spot these two hooked up.
In a 2017 interview, Griffith shamelessly admitted that during those wild days, she often hooked up with Jack Nicholson, Warren Beatty, and Ryan O’Neal. She told Vanity Fair, “I did have a little thing with those three back in the day. Yeah, they were awesome. I am friends with all of them, pretty much. I'm sure there's a couple I've forgotten about."
Bebe Buell - Warned By Mick Jagger
Bebe Buell was no stranger to seduction. After a torrid affair with rocker Todd Rundgren in the early 1970s, she went on to have relationships with the most iconic musicians in history, including David Bowie, Iggy Pop, Steven Tyler, and Mick Jagger. Even though she seemed to control her own choices, Mick Jagger was concerned when Jack Nicholson expressed interest in the young model and was sure to warn her about his intentions.
When Buell met Nicholson, she told him of Jagger’s warning, saying, “Mick tells me that you’re gonna hurt me” to which the actor replied, "Well, I might, but you'll have a damn good time before I do." After sleeping together at Jagger’s house, Nicholson flew her out to LA, told her to stay away from the “sleazy” rockers, and then had sex with her on the side of his car.
Margaret Trudeau - Nicholson Rivaled Pierre
Another of Jack’s conquests while with Anjelica Huston was none other than Margaret Trudeau. The ex-wife of former Canadian prime minister Pierre Trudeau and mother of subsequent one Justin Trudeau, Margaret headed to New York City after escaping her marriage in 1977. Before long, she became one of the hottest socialites at Studio 54.
In her tell-all book Consequences, Margaret referred to Nicholson as “the first real rival to Pierre,” saying they “made love all night.” Though she felt a bit gullible when she realized Nicholson was in a relationship, she later looked back on their time together fondly. In her 2015 memoir The Time of Your Life, she wrote, "He was a wonderful, funny, truly free man. He understood that marriage and monogamy were simply not ideally suited to his life as a movie star. How I loved my time with him."
Janice Dickinson - Riddled With Regret
Janice Dickinson has always been an open book. At the height of her career in the late '70s, she claimed that she had the pick of the litter when it came to Hollywood’s leading men. In her autobiography No Lifeguard on Duty, the model describes one New York party where she met Dustin Hoffman, Robin Williams, Warren Beatty, and Jack Nicholson, who were all vying for her attention. Charmed by his sense of humor, she chose to leave with Jack.
After a fun night in his hotel room, Dickinson became repulsed after the actor showed his true colors. As she was collecting her things to leave, Nicholson asked her for a “favor,” saying that he would appreciate it if she kept the fact that “she just had sex with a star” to herself. Though Nicholson attempted to pursue her further, she never returned his calls.
Meryl Streep - Dodging Advances
When The Princess Bride star Mandy Patinkin was replaced by Jack Nicholson in the 1986 romantic comedy Heartburn, Meryle Streep wasn’t thrilled. She had already turned down the lead role in The Postman Always Rings Twice because of the bad boy’s inappropriate comments about their future nude scenes.
Always up for a challenge, Nicholson felt this film would be his opportunity to win the actress over. Producer Bob Greenhut noticed his persistence right away, saying, "He starts falling in love with Meryl. You know, 'Let's go over our lines together later. Maybe we can have dinner.' I mean, he really had the hots for Meryl. And, of course, she's married." The ever-professional Streep thwarted his advances until they met on the set of Ironweed. Though they both deny having an affair, biographer Marc Eliot says they spent a lot of alone time in Nicholson’s Winnebago.
Karen Mayo-Chandler - A Revealing Playboy Interview
In 1987, Jack Nicholson visited Anjelica’s father, John Huston, while he was on his deathbed. He promised the prestigious Award-winning film director that he would “take care of his beloved daughter.” Apparently, that was an empty promise. The London Evening Star reported that Nicholson was seen “entertaining” British actress Karen Mayo-Chandler just before John Huston was buried.
Little did he know that Mayo-Chandler would reveal details about their escapade while being interviewed by Playboy. The actress was quite forthcoming about their affair, saying that Nicholson was “that horny little devil” who was a “guaranteed non-stop sex machine into fun and games, like spankings, handcuffs, whips and Polaroid pictures." She went on to reveal that the Hollywood bad boy would refuel with peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in between each romp in the sack. Needless to say, both Nicholson and Anjelica were blindsided by the interview.
Marie Helvin - Pursued While Married
Model Marie Helvin was the object of Jack’s advances for years, though they never actually hooked up. At the time, Helvin was happily married to one of Nicholson’s best friends, famous fashion photographer David Bailey. Though he often flirted, when Bailey was away on business the actor took his game up a notch hoping that Helvin would cross the line. While she did fantasize about a potential affair, Helvin was loyal to her husband. She also knew that “Jack was desperately trying to get back with Anjelica Huston.”
Years later, after the dissolution of her marriage to Bailey, Helvin and Jack met in London while he was filming Tim Burton’s Batman. Though they had intended to give in to their previous attractions, the sexual tension was gone. Per Helvin, “The spark had gone — we had simply waited too long."
Rebecca Broussard - Mother of Two of His Children
Remember when Nicholson told Anjelica that he had impregnated another woman? Well, that woman was Rebecca Broussard. Huston later revealed that Broussard not only appeared as a sexy secretary in Nicholson’s film The Two Jakes but that she also worked at a bar he frequented and showed up in Aspen while they were on vacation.
Once Anjelica cut ties with Nicholson, he and Broussard had two children together, Ray and Lorraine. Co-parenting didn’t agree with the new couple. Broussard said in a 1994 interview, “After I had my kids, I changed.” Instead of trying to work things out, the mom of two moved in with a man 25 years younger than her Hollywood beau. Nicholson later admitted that he felt “abandoned,” but “as a literary person,” he had “to see the humor in it.”
Jennine Gourin and Amanda De Cadenet - On the Rebound
So, what is a playboy to do when he has been abandoned by a woman he loved? Go on the rebound, of course. Shortly after Broussard left, Nicholson had a brief affair with a 20-year-old waitress named Jennine Gourin. According to her, their casual fling resulted in pregnancy. Since the birth of Gourin’s daughter, the actor has denied paternity even though, per biographer Dennis McDougal, “Tessa looks uncannily like Jack Nicholson today, and there is plenty of documented proof that he is the father.”
The 52-year-old Nicholson was also spotted out at dinner with 17-year-old high school dropout Amanda de Cadenet after a night out on the town in London. Per an interview with Amanda and gal pal Courteney Love, the two hooked up almost immediately after his split with Broussard.
Lara Flynn Boyle - Stolen Away
While many of the tales surrounding Nicholson’s escapades seem somewhat tragic, the story behind his relationship with Lara Flynn Boyle is pretty comical except to poor David Spade. The Twin Peaks star was in a relationship with Spade when they were invited to party with THE Jack Nicholson. As the three were sharing a joint, Nicholson boldly asked Lara out. In an interview, Spade said, "She got mad because I didn't stick up for her. I said, 'I've been in this town long enough to know when I'm outranked. You're either gonna go out with him or you're not.'"
Though Lara told David that she wasn’t interested, behind his back, she began sneaking off with Jack. The two were discreet until a traffic accident outed their affair. After a tabloid frenzy, Nicholson and Boyle came out as a couple at the 1999 Emmys.
Kate Moss - An Invitation
In September 2004, rumors were sparked when Nicholson was seen escorting supermodel Kate Moss out of a New York restaurant. The Hollywood ladies man turned those sparks into flames when he told The Sun his intention was to sleep with her. When speaking about the model, who is 37 years his junior, Nicholson said, “There are two kinds of women. The ones who want to jump into bed with me and the ones who want to slap my face when I try to sleep with them. I'm hoping Kate doesn't slap me in the face."
Apparently, Moss didn’t take offense to his comments because the two were seen leaving Spice Island in a limo together. Though they had a few dates, things didn’t pan out between the two. Moss went on to marry Jamie Hince in 2011, but after five years, the couple finalized their divorce.
Jennifer Lawrence - Hit On During an Interview
While Nicholson can be charming, his attempts to pick up actresses at the Oscars never end well. In 2006, he apologized to Nicole Kidman after hitting on her in front of her fiance. Nearly a decade later, he hadn’t learned his lesson. Jennifer Lawrence had just won the Academy Award for Best Actress when she was being interviewed. Nicholson, who was 76 at the time, decided to interrupt the interview so that he could compliment her.
Being a good sport, Lawrence bantered back, saying that he was “being really rude,” which, of course, intrigued the actor even more. When asked about the incident, Lawrence said, "Oh, are we dating? Are we an item? I'm not going to say what he did or didn't do. He could have or could not have sent me flowers and a bottle of Cristal." Stay young, Jack.