Lauren Bacall: Her guide to love, marriage and men in quotes

Having been in relationships with Humphrey Bogart and Frank Sinatra, the legendary actress knew a thing or two about relationships
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Sultry, smart and magnetic – Lauren Bacall’s inimitable face may have made her one of Hollywood’s most unforgettable actresses, but she was also one of the sharpest, toughest and most original.

She might have described herself as “essentially a loner”, but her own life was far from lonely.

The enigmatic Humphrey Bogart was the great love of her life and the two – perhaps unusually in the world of fame – had a happy, 12-year-long marriage. She was 20 and he was 45 when they got married and they remained together until he died in 1957.

And because she looked like a goddess and was endlessly interesting, Frank Sinatra then asked her to marry him. The pair got engaged, although split less than a year later, after the happy news was leaked to the press and he stopped answering her calls.

In 1961, she married actor Jason Robards, but they divorced in 1969 – partly due to his alcoholism.

Bacall is unarguably well placed to offer her wisdom on relationships and romance; she’s been both madly in love and madly frustrated with the men in her life. So with her renowned shrewdness, we present Bacall’s finest quotes on love, marriage and romance.

On the value of real men:

“A woman isn't complete without a man. But where do you find a man - a real man - these days?”

On keeping secrets:

“A man's illness is his private territory and, no matter how much he loves you and how close you are, you stay an outsider. You are healthy.”

On the myth of ‘having it all’:

“I put my career in second place throughout both my marriages and it suffered. I don't regret it. You make choices. If you want a good marriage, you must pay attention to that. If you want to be independent, go ahead. You can't have it all.”

On what she looks for in a man:

“Find me a man who's interesting enough to have dinner with and I'll be happy.”

On being single:

“I don't sit around thinking that I'd like to have another husband; only another man would make me think that way.”

On what men want:

“Men need to feel important. They feel better when they're with younger girls or unknown girls.”

On not wanting to remarry:

“I would hate now to be married. It does occur to me on occasion that, if I fall and hit my head, there will be no one to make the phone call. But who wants to think about that disaster, I'd prefer not to.”

On Humphrey Bogart:

“Just looking at him could make me tremble. When he took my hand in his, the feeling caught me in the pit of my stomach–his hand was warm, protecting, and full of love. When he saw me at the beginning of the day and when he called me on the telephone, his first words were always, ‘Hello, Baby.’”

“I was a complete virgin when I met him. He was my mentor, my teacher and the love of my life. I remember every word he ever said to me, but I will never see him again.”

“I fairly often have thought how lucky I was. I knew everybody because I was married to Bogie, and that 25-year difference was the most fantastic thing for me to have in my life.”

On Frank Sinatra:

“Well, his attention span was not long, shall we say.”

“I wish Frank Sinatra would just shut up and sing.”

“He was... a womaniser; he wanted to be in the sack with everybody.”

On surviving heartbreak:

“At the time of [Humphery Bogart’s] death, all I wanted, I think, was to believe that my life would continue. Everyone's a survivor. Everyone wants to stay alive. What's the alternative? See, I prefer to prevail."

On marriage:

“I never believed marriage was a lasting institution… I thought that to be married for five years was to be married forever.”