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Humphrey Bogart Left His Wife for Lauren Bacall Whom He Would Not Marry until She Yielded to His Demand

Junie Sihlangu
Mar 11, 2022
01:40 P.M.
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Essentially, Humphrey Bogart cheated on his third wife by having a secret relationship with Lauren Bacall. He ended up choosing the star over his wife, and their relationship yielded great results for both of them!

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Legendary actor Humphrey Bogart met Lauren Betty Bacall when they were cast to star together in a movie by Howard Hawks. The actress was cast for the film when she was only 19.

They were meant to star in an adaptation of a Hemingway novel called "To Have and Have Not." Hawks pitched the idea to Bacall on the set of the film "Passage to Marseille."

Humphrey Bogart with Lauren Bacall at a press reception at Claridges in London, in 1951. | Source: Popperfoto/Getty Images

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When the two actors were formally introduced to each other, the actress recalled how they didn't have a spark at first. Bacall described the moment as having "no clap of thunder, no lightning bolt."

When it came to the pair starring together, the actress was so afraid of being in front of the camera that she struggled on the first day of filming. However, after three weeks of shooting, Bogart did something quite uncanny.

Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart at The Daily News after being photographed in the color studio on March 4, 1949. | Source: Pat Candido/NY Daily News Archive/Getty Images

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He suddenly visited Bacall in her trailer to wish her a good night. According to the female star's book, "By Myself," she was busy combing her hair as he stood behind her at the time of the incident.

Without prior warning, Bogart leaned over her, placed his hand under her chin, and landed a kiss! She recalled how impulsive that move was and that he seemed shy before asking for the actress's number.

Humphrey Bogart in a black-and-white image, circa 1940. | Source: NBCU Photo Bank/Getty Images

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The iconic actor got his co-star to write her number on a packet of matches that he pulled out of his pocket, and she did. His actions were strange for someone known for preferring to be impersonal.

Bogart wasn't someone who messed around with other women. Another thing that made him so unattainable was that he was married to Mayo Methot, well-known for being a fighter and a drinker.

THEIR ROMANCE STARTED WITH MONTHS OF HIDING

Lauren Bacall posing in a black-and-white image, circa 1945. | Source: John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images

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Even though it was risky and Bacall initially never had an interest in Bogart, the pair started seeing each other. The duo would meet in secret to see each other, like in cars on dark streets.

Sometimes they met at the Lakeside Golf Club for lunch in Burbank across from the Warner Bros. lot. However, their relationship failed to stay secret when someone else found out.

Humphrey Bogart and Mayo Methot, pictured shortly after their marriage. | Source: Bettmann/Getty Images

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At one point, Bacall was summoned to Hawks' home midway through their film production. The movie director had found out about her relationship with Bogart and threatened to send her to Monogram if she didn't end it.

The place was a mediocre Hollywood studio, and the threat terrified the actress! Bogart reassured her Hawks wouldn't do anything, and when the movie director approached him, his advice was:

“‘You don’t have to get serious about this girl. Take her downtown to a hotel and get a room with her—that’s enough.’”

LAUREN BECAME HUMPHREY'S LIFESAVER

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Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart in a scene from "Key Largo," circa 1940. | Source: John Springer Collection/CORBIS/Getty Images

Despite the advice, Bogart was not that type of man and comforted Bacall as best as he could. Instead, after around six months, the star was finally able to remove himself from his marriage to Methot, his third wife at the time.

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While the process was happening in the background, Bacall found herself involved in their marriage affairs that included alcohol. The actress once drove over one night in the rain to pick Bogart up on the side of a road after binge drinking.

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall in a black-and-white image in 1948. | Source: CORR/AFP/GettyImages

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In 1944, Methot even jealously called Bacall at her home and threateningly asked her if she would be the one washing Bogart's socks in the future. Reports have since given the actress credit for the actor cutting down on his alcohol intake.

She [Lauren Betty Bacall] shared how [Humphrey] Bogart and [Jason]Robarts never thought or even behaved alike.

She'd initially thought he drank because of his unhappy marriage, but when the drinking continued, Bacall didn't know what else to do. Instead, she ignored him as she'd never had to deal with such a situation before.

HUMPHREY BOGART GAVE LAUREN BACALL AN ULTIMATUM

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Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall at their wedding reception at Louis Bromfield's home on May 21, 1945, in Mansfield. | Source: Ed Clark/The LIFE Picture Collection/Getty Images

Although Bogart was 25 years older than Bacall, the couple tied the knot on May 21, 1945, when he was 45 and she was 20. Their wedding was held in Lucas, Ohio's Malabar Farm, the home of Bogart's friend and writer Louis Bromfield, with Bacall recalling in Vanity Fair's 2011 piece:

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“I fairly often have thought how lucky I was.”

Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall pose at the Academy Awards ceremony on March 20, 1952, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Frank Worth/Capital Art/Getty Images

However, before the duo married, Bogart had been a husband to three actresses, Helen Menken, Mary Philips, and Methot. He didn't want an actress again, but a wife and gave Bacall this ultimatum long before marriage:

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“‘I love you, and if you want a career, I’ll do everything I can to help you, but I won’t marry you.”

Lauren Bacall and Humphrey DeForest Bogart on April 16, 1951: | Source: Victor Drees/Evening Standard/Getty Images

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Luckily, Bacall wanted the same thing and wished to have children with the actor. Throughout his past marriages, Bogart never had any children with his wives, but his fourth one was in the long haul with him, stating:

“I was happy being his wife. I loved it. Because I really loved him.”

Lauren Bacall smiling with her children Leslie and Stephen Bogart at New York International Airport in New York City, circa 1961. | Source: Hulton Archive/Getty Images

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The actress never had any regrets about leaving her acting career for her marriage. She bore them two children during their relationship, son Stephen, born in 1949, and daughter Leslie, welcomed in 1952; however, Bacall knew her husband wasn't perfect, once saying:

“Who would want to be married to somebody perfect? I wouldn’t.”

MARRIAGE TO BOGART WERE "THE BEST YEARS" OF BACALL'S LIFE

Jason Robards and Lauren Bacall cutting their wedding cake on July 5, 1961. | Source: Bettmann/Getty Images

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Sadly, in 1957, Bogart passed away in his sleep in the bedroom of his Holmby Hills home. The Academy Award winner had been battling esophagus cancer for the past two years.

Bacall was left a widow at the young age of 32. Later in life, the former actress married another actor, Jason Robarts; however, their marriage ended in divorce, with Bacall sharing how different her husbands were.

She shared how Bogart and Robarts never thought or even behaved alike. Ultimately, the former actress felt Bogart had adored her and described her time with him as "the best years of my life."

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