Legendary Hollywood stars Sidney Poitier and Diahann Carroll once enjoyed an almost ten-year affair while they were both married. Years later, Carroll shared details of their romance in her memoir.
"Julia" star Diahann Carroll and "Lilies Of The Field" actor Sidney Poitier realized they wanted to be together shortly after meeting during the filming of "Porgy and Bess" in 1959.
Poitier invited his costar to dinner to talk about the respective marriages, and the pair realized they wanted to be with each other instead of their partners. Poitier was married to his first wife, Juanita Hardy, and Carroll's husband was Monty Kay.
Actor Sidney Poitier during a 2013 CBS "Sunday Morning" interview [Left] Poitier and Diahann Carroll at the 36th Annual NAACP Image Awards [Right] | Photo: Getty Images & YouTube/CBS Sunday Morning
In her 2008 memoir, "The Legs Are the Last to Go," Carroll revealed that Poitier convinced her and Kay to divorce after confronting Kay and expressing his love for Carroll and that he would leave Hardy.
Although Kay and Carroll promptly split up, the "To Sir, With Love" actor did not keep his side of the bargain. So Carroll found herself single and dating other men, which upset Poitier as she wrote in her book that he said to her:
"I won’t have you running around with other men. You belong to me!"
Actor Sidney Poitier with actress Diahann Carroll attend The 36th Academy Awards in Santa Monica, California, 1964. | Photo: Getty Images
The Oscar winner then told her he would leave his wife, and as a token of
, he gifted her a ring and purchased a 10-bedroom apartment for them, which Carroll spent 10-days decorating.
The couple soon had plans to marry. Poitier told Carroll that they would live together for six months in the newly-bought apartment following his divorce from his wife, and then they would tie the knot.
Diahann Carroll and Sidney Poitier attend the Fifth Annual Women in Film Lucy Awards at the Beverly Wilshire Hotel in Beverly Hills, California, 1998. | Photo: Getty Images
However, Poitier later informed Carroll he had second thoughts about divorcing Hardy. He also did not want Carroll's daughter to move into the apartment, so their relationship quickly dissolved.
Although the break-up with devastating for Carroll, in later life, the former costars became friends. They both remarried. Poitier to his wife, Joanna Shimkus. Carroll married three more times; her last husband was Vic Damone.
Sidney Poitier attends the 50th anniversary screening of "In the Heat of the Night" during the 2017 TCM Classic Film Festival, Los Angeles, California, 2017. | Photo: Getty Images
"The Five Heartbeats" actress passed away in 2019. At the time of her passing, Poitier
his "Paris Blues" costar as a "talented, beautiful and courageous spirit from which a remarkable and lasting friendship prevailed through the years."
Two years later, on January 6, 2022, Poitier passed away too. Although the stars are gone, their legacy and the impact they made on Hollywood will continue to live on in their films and TV shows.