Celebrity couples have always been a source of fascination for the world at large. We use them to see how a relationship operates under the greatest degree of stress and then use those lessons in our life. Their chemistry stirs the soul and inspires romance within all of us. In this latest article in our series looking at famous celebrity couples from across the ages, we look at Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart – a beautiful and tragic couple.
We envy some couples. The happy pair who seem so in love and perfect for each other. They are living the dream. It’s not until they split, or one dies, that suddenly the truth comes spilling out like a can of dirty worms. The shocking stories of the abuse, cheating, drinking, lies and violence that were hidden behind closed doors comes tumbling out and our ideal perception of them is shattered. It is a rare thing to hear of a genuine tale of love; a true romance. But there is one romantic story that has stood the test of time and remains to be one of the greatest real-life love tales of the century.
Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart; it all began with a kiss in 1944. He was 45 and unhappily married to a notoriously aggressive, volatile woman. She was 25 years his junior, stunning to behold and had the world at her feet. The pair met on the set of To Have and Have Not and immediately – the sparks flew. Bogart spontaneously kissed his young co-star whilst joking around in her dressing room, he asked her for her telephone number and she wrote it on his old packet of matches and voila! Their infamous passionate romance began, despite the fact he was a mature man dating a younger woman.
Bacall and Bogart’s undying love was something that shone brighter than the sun both on and off screen. There has never been any denying that the pair were soulmates despite their age gap and this made for delicious, honest, raw filmmaking and audiences devoured their on-screen devotion.
Unlike other famous Hollywood couples of their time, Lauren and Humphrey’s relationship was unique – void of the typical dramas of constant infidelity, destructive alcoholism and horrific abuse. They adored one another, only had eyes for each other, and together made a massive impact on re-introducing the gender roles to the world after the war. She oozed class and independence whilst he portrayed the perfect tough-guy gentleman; the couple became idealised and loved globally in Hollywood’s Golden Era.
However, the so-called perfect couple didn’t always see eye-to-eye. Bogart enjoyed spending time on his boat – the only thing that ever made Bacall jealous. Whilst he cherished weekend’s away sailing, Lauren suffered terribly from seasickness and so the couple would often be separated. On the contrary, Bacall was young and relished being out and about, visiting friends at nightclubs whilst Humphrey had been there, done that, and he no longer had an interest in that kind of limelight. But regardless of their differences, they respected each other’s interests and worked around it.
After making four films and having two children together, there seemed like no stopping Bacall and Bogart’s real-life love story. But in 1957 their beautiful relationship came to a tragic end when Humphrey died from oesophageal cancer, leaving Lauren widowed to bring up her two children as a single mother at the mere age of 32.
Despite her heartache, Bacall soldiered on, eternally thanking Bogart for his love and his teachings. In the twelve years, Lauren and Humphrey were together, they shared a lifetime of magic. Theirs is a story to truly aspire to, to love so honestly and deeply. Before Lauren Bacall died at the age of 89, she wrote of her relationship with Humphrey Bogart stating “no one has ever written a romance better than we lived it”. Perhaps we can all take a leaf out of Bogart and Bacall’s book and learn to love one another more.