August 28, 2018

Frank Sinatra's ex-lover speaks frankly about the 'laughter' between them

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At 73 years old, Irene Tsu opened up about being Sinatra's old flame back in 1967. She said they dated for two years and despite their age difference, it was laughter that kept them together. 

Tsu told Closer Weekly that they met through a mutual friend at a Miami hotel circa when she was "a meditating, vegetarian hippie, and he was a meat-eating, boozing, ultra-famous person." He was also in his 50s while Tsu was in her 20s.

Tsu kept the recently divorced singer entertained. She said, "I made him laugh a lot." Sinatra had just gone through his third divorce from Mia Farrow, so he needed that excitement.

Tsu said: 


"I brought him an elaborate train set from Japan, and we spent hours putting it together, rolling on the floor, laughing, and eating popcorn." 


Tsu rose to fame through co-starring with Elvis Presley in "Paradise, Hawaiian Style" and John Wayne in "The Green Berets." She was no stranger to other celebs of the time. 

She mentioned how Sinatra invited the likes of Gregory Peck, Kirk Douglas, and Herb Alpert to his home in Palm Springs, California. Tsu recalled how "he was so good to his guests" and that they "never had to lift a finger." 

The dinner parties would last all weekend. 


Sinatra had a love for scrambled eggs with olive oil, crossword puzzles, and according to Tsu "everything orange - it was his favourite colour." 

But one thing he hated was people coming up from behind him. Tsu explained: 

"He was mauled so much by fans as a young singer, he developed this reaction where he would swing at his back."

Tsu learned and loved a lot about Sinatra, but it was not meant to be. "His life was just too different," she admitted. "We knew we weren't really marriage material for each other."


Tsu entered into a marriage with director Ivan Nagy that went on from 1971 to 1980. She and Sinatra remained good friends, so she wasn't surprised when he sent her a marriage present. 

She suggested to him a "washer and dryer" because of her practicality. And "he got a kick out of that," she says. 

Sinatra also got married in 1976 to showgirl Barbara Max. They stayed together until he died in 1998 due to a heart attack. He was 82.