The Golden Age of Hollywood was a time when new stars were rising, and the country became more and more obsessed with the glitz and glamour of Hollywood. As such, the stars and starlets of the era became more famous than any from previous generations. And the money and fame that came with Hollywood success was one that enabled people to carve out the exact type of social life they preferred. For many stars, this meant the ability to be much more sexually exploratory than perhaps most of the rest of the country. And the insular nature of Hollywood back in those days meant that they could do it much more discreetly than in the modern era.
And while most people probably think of sexually adventurous men coupling with demure women when they think of Old Hollywood, that wasn’t always the case. There were many female stars of the era who used their fame, and the increased independence that came with it, to explore their sexual desires like many of their male counterparts were doing. And while these days we don’t think there’s anything odd or wrong about women dating and having romactic liaisons with people of all types, back then it was much more taboo. Yet the women in this video weren’t about to let the restrictive nature of society get in their way. So join us, as Facts Verse presents: Old Hollywood Actresses Who Slept With Whoever They Pleased!
Grace Kelly’s status as an elegant and proper-seeming star has a lot to do with the fact that she became a literal princess when she married Prince Ranier III of Monaco in 1956. She was a gorgeous and glamourous movie star, and despite only acting in 11 films, she’s remembered as sophisticated and classy icon from the Golden Age of Hollywood. And yet, before joining the monarchy in Monaco, Grace knew how to have fun. She never felt tied down by the restrictions of society when it came to sex, and she reportedly enjoyed the company of many handsome Hollywood types, including many of her famous costars. It started when she starred in High Noon with Gary Cooper. Cooper was 28 years older than Kelly, and was married at the time. But the two started up a romance while the movie was in production. Interestingly enough, these two tendencies – being involved with a much older man, and being involved with a married man – were ones she continued having later. When she filmed Mogambo in Africa, she had an affair with another older star: Clark Gable. She later admitted that she’d taken the job to work with director John Ford, and to be in Africa. But that another huge pull was the chance to work alongside Gable. And as far as their affair? Grace was once quoted as saying, “What else is there to do if you’re alone in a tent in Africa with Clark Gable?” Kelly had flings and affairs with assorted costars over the next years, including Bing Crosby, Marlon Brando, Ray Milland, and Oleg Cassini, among others. She even dated another older royal, Prince Aly Khan, who was the leader of the Nizari Muslims. Clearly Grace was ready to settle down when she met and fell in love with Prince Ranier. But before that, Grace had thoroughly enjoyed herself with a slew of exciting romances over the years.
Greta Garbo was a huge star in the very early days of Hollywood. And she was known around town for being a free spirit who enjoyed the company of many people. And many types of people. Garbo was said to have been with men and women of various sexual orientations, and she didn’t seem to care if they were married or single. She was fiercely independent when it came to her sex life, and wasn’t about to let herself be judged by it. Though interestingly enough, she was a very private person. So she generally kept her romantic affairs to herself. It’s not clear whether that was just a personality trait, or because she was worried about the potential for harm to her reputation. Either way, she was gossiped about constantly in Hollywood, though many of the rumors of her love affairs were never verified. For example, she is thought to have had an affair with the legendary Josephine Baker. But neither star ever admitted to it. They were certainly lifelong friends, and both enjoyed the company of other women. Garbo also had a brief fling (and longtime friendship) with actress Louise Brooks. And again, while Garbo never verified it, Brooks wrote about their affair in her autobiography. Garbo also had relationships with men like the swimmer-turned-actor Johnny Weissmuller, who is best known for playing Tarzan. Like, Louise Brooks, Weissmuller wrote about his affair with Garbo in his autobiography, confirming that they did have a brief love affair. Garbo even had a romance with bizarre and eccentric cartoonist Charles Addams, who created The Addams Family. So while Garbo never married, she certainly had a life full of enjoyment with a variety of people!
In 2021, a biography of Golden Age star Vivien Leigh came out that shed some light on Leigh’s sexual propensities. For starters, it claimed that her marriage in 1937 to legendary actor Laurence Olivier was, at the least, an open one. Because both of them started having affairs almost immediately. The book also reported that she had a penchant for so called ‘rough trade’ which meant going to a local Los Angeles brothel, and picking up men there. She often did this together with her friend, director George Cukor. Reportedly the two of them would arrive together and pick out a man of their liking for the evening. They would then pay them in non-cash means, such as gifts, jewelry, and even stocks and bonds. Leigh apparently made sure each of these men kept quiet about having been with her and Cukor. But she didn’t stop at the LA brothel. She was ejected from a hotel in Italy one time after the management decided she had been bringing in too many male prostitutes from the streets there. Leigh had affairs with male costars too, including Rex Harrison and Marlon Brando. She was also bisexual, and enjoyed the comforts of women, including Isabel Jeans, a British star. Sadly, some of her erratic behavior stemmed from mental health issues. She very likely suffered from bipolar disorder, but back in those days there wasn’t a diagnosis for this, nor was there treatment. So Leigh was forced to simply cope with her mental health issues, and it seems she used sex (often anonymous sex) as a coping mechanism.
Elizabeth Taylor might be the biggest star who is known just as much for her many marriages and romantic connections as she is her acting career. And, considering that she is considered one of the finest actresses of the Golden Age of Hollywood, that’s really saying something. But Taylor’s beauty and allure seemed to know no bounds. She was constantly sought after by all the male stars of the time. And once her relationship or marriage with one of them faded (which seemed to happen a lot) she was seemingly cool with moving forward and finding new love. And who can fault her for that? Of course, her romantic life wasn’t without controversy. After the death of her husband, Mike Todd, Elizabeth found herself enjoying the consoling time and care of her best friend Debbie Reynolds, and Debbie’s husband, Eddie Fisher. And while, at first, it was simply a case of a couple trying to be there for their close friend after a tragedy, it soon turned into something else. Taylor slept with, and fell in love with Fisher. Fisher then decided he wanted to be with Liz more than with Debbie, so he filed for divorce, and married Taylor soon after. But like so many of Elizabeth’s relationships, this one fizzled not too long after. And while Elizabeth and Debbie were estranged for a while because of the betrayal, they eventually did patch things up. Taylor famously married Richard Burton, whom she later claimed to be the love of her life, despite their relationship not really working out. Taylor’s most surprising relationship came towards the end of her life, when she married a construction worker named Larry Fortensky, whom she’d met at a rehab clinic.
Tallulah Bankhead was considered a sex symbol of the highest degree during her peak years, and she wasn’t afraid to use that status to fulfill her romantic desires. She was also said to have an endless libido. It’s possible this is the type of behavior that might be diagnosed as a sex addiction in modern terms, but that type of thing wasn’t discussed back in the day. As such, Bankhead filled her days quenching her thirst for pleasure. She was connected romantically with many of the top male stars of the time. And as an open bisexual, these pleasures took the form of sex with many types of people. She was linked with other stars like Greta Garbo, Beatrice Lillie, Hattie McDaniel, and Marlene Dietrich. At one point an article came out that guessed Bankhead had slept with more than 500 people, though this number wasn’t verified by Bankhead. Instead, she took a much more casual approach, claiming that she simply had impromptu affairs that she dove into, letting her impulses guide her.
These famous stars were certainly ahead of their time when it comes to exploring their sexual needs and desires. They were living at a time when society had very stringent rules about what women were “allowed to do” when it came to romance. So it’s refreshing to know that these stars weren’t afraid to break convention with their love life. While we aren’t condoning marital affairs, we do think that consensual relationships between single adults is a good thing to celebrate! Now it’s time to hear from you. Who is your favorite among these talented Golden Age actresses? Let us know in the comments section below!