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Frank Sinatra Served Mia Farrow With Divorce Papers on "Rosemary's Baby" Set

The singer was reportedly angry that she didn't give up the role when he asked her to.

While there's no good time to be served with divorce papers, some circumstances are more awkward than others. For example, few people would probably want this to happen when they're at work. But that's what occurred in the late '60s, when Frank Sinatra served Mia Farrow divorce papers while she was filming Rosemary's Baby.

The couple had gotten married only a year earlier, but it became clear quickly that they weren't a good match—in part, because Sinatra didn't want Farrow, who was a rising star, to continue acting. But, even though Sinatra and Farrow went their separate ways—and even though she was served divorce papers in such a dramatic fashion—they remained on good terms.

Read on to find out more about Farrow and Sinatra's relationship and its eventual demise.

READ THIS NEXT: Sammy Davis Jr.'s Relationship With This Star Led to a Mob Threat on His Life.

Farrow and Sinatra met when she was 19.

Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow at the SHARE Boomtown benefit party in 1965
Earl Leaf/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

When Farrow and Sinatra met, she was 19 and he was in his late 40s. At the time, Sinatra was hugely famous for his music and movie career. Farrow was just starting out as an actor and starring on the TV series Peyton Place.

During an interview with Howard Stern in 1997, Farrow explained that Sinatra won her over when he invited her to his Palm Springs home and flew her and her cat there in his private plane. They had attended a movie screening together, and he said he would fly her down the next day.

"I couldn't decide how many jars of cat food to bring," Farrow explained. "If he thought I was going to stay overnight, I had to bring four jars. And I brought four jars. It was like the boldest thing I ever did." She continued, "He gave me a really great kiss, and that was it … He took the cat out of my arms. It was real romantic."

Their marriage didn't last long.

Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow at their 1966 wedding
Keystone/Getty Images

A couple of years after they started dating, Sinatra and Farrow got married in Las Vegas in 1966. She was 21 and he was 50.

But it didn't take long for the marriage to fall apart, in part, because Sinatra didn't really want Farrow to work. According to a 2013 Vanity Fair interview with Farrow, Sinatra wanted her to do a movie with him called The Detective instead of Rosemary's Baby, the feature adaptation of the Ira Levin novel directed by Roman Polanski. She was supposed to act in both, but filming ran long for Rosemary's Baby.

"In terms of what Frank would say, I shouldn't have done any movies," Farrow told Vanity Fair. "He's on the record saying, 'I'm a pretty good provider. I can't see why a woman would want to do anything else.' That's the way men thought, and you felt pretty guilty wanting something for yourself."

Sinatra biographer Darwin Porter, spoke about the relationship with Express in 2013. "Sinatra divorced Farrow because he demanded that she drop out of filming Rosemary's Baby after three-quarters of the movie had been filmed, to co-star with him in a forgettable movie The Detective," Porter said. "That was Sinatra being crazy, he'd do things like that. Mia loved him but his demands were unreasonable. She couldn't do it."

Their divorce was finalized in 1968. Farrow was nominated for a BAFTA and a Golden Globe for her leading performance in Rosemary's Baby.

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Their age gap was also a factor.

Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow at Sunset Boulevard recording studio in 1967
Keystone Features/Getty Images

"I had come to Frank Sinatra as an impossibly immature teenager without any person or system I could rely upon," Farrow wrote in her 1997 memoir What Falls Away. "With the best of intentions, Frank brought me into his own complex world and I, with the best of intentions, clung to him there. I loved him truly. But this is also true: it was a little bit like an adopted that I had somehow messed up and it was awful when I was returned to the void."

She said he was the love of her life.

Ronan Farrow and Mia Farrow at the 2019 Time 100 Gala
Debby Wong / Shutterstock

In the Vanity Fair interview, Farrow was asked if Sinatra was "the great love of [her] life." She responded, "Yes."

She also said that if she had stopped working, she thinks they would have continued their marriage. "Yes, because then he came back, over and over and over and over. I mean, we never really split up," the Great Gatsby star said.

Biographer Porter shared similar words in the Express interview: "She never stopped loving him. Sinatra was the love of her life. It was a love affair that continued even after their divorce and they remained close till the end. She told friends that she was still very much in love with him."

Rumors have persisted that Sinatra is the biological father of Farrow's son, journalist Ronan Farrow, who she welcomed in 1987. Asked by Vanity Fair in 2013 if Sinatra was her son's father, she said, "Possibly."

Many people have spoken out about whether this is actually possible, including a friend of Sinatra's, who claimed it isn't, and his daughter, Nancy Sinatra, who called the idea "nonsense." The man believed to be Ronan's biological father, director Woody Allen, has cast doubt on his paternity, telling New York magazine that he believes Ronan to be his child, but "wouldn't bet [his] life on it." As for Ronan himself, he's joked about the theory.

Sinatra and Farrow remained friends.

Frank Sinatra and Mia Farrow at a SHARE Boomtown benefit party in 1965
Archive Photos/Getty Images

Paternity rumors aside, Sinatra and Farrow remained friends until his death in 1998, and she attended his funeral alongside his family members.

They both remarried. Farrow was married to composer André Previn from 1970 to 1979, followed by a relationship with Allen. Sinatra married his fourth wife, Barbara Marx, in 1976 and they were together until he died. (Prior to Farrow, he was married to Nancy Barbato and Ava Gardner.)

In 1993, when she was giving testimony for her custody battle with Allen, Farrow said that one of her ex-husbands offered to have Allen's legs broken for her. Pressed over which one she meant, she said it was a joke, as reported by the Los Angeles Times. (At the time, Allen had entered into an ongoing relationship with Farrow's adopted daughter, Soon-Yi Previn, who was in her early 20s, and been accused of sexually abusing her other daughter, Dylan Farrow, who was a child. Allen has continued to deny the allegation.)

Asked by Stern in 1997 whether Sinatra was the one who made the offer, Farrow replied, "Wasn't that sweet of him?"

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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