When Lauren Bacall, who died at her home in New York City on Monday, first met Humphrey Bogart on the set of 1944’s To Have and Have Not, he was a married man.
“I was miserable,” she told PEOPLE’s editorial director Jess Cagle in 2007. But the pair’s attraction was undeniable, and, within a year, Bogart was divorced.
“Chemistry – you can’t beat chemistry,” she said. The two wed on May 21, 1945, on a friend’s farm in Ohio. After they exchanged vows, a choked-up Bogie greeted his new wife: “Hello, Baby.”
“I hugged him and was reported to have said, ‘Oh goody.’ Hard to believe, but maybe I did,” Bacall wrote in her 1978 autobiography, By Myself.
“Bogie said it was when he heard the beautiful words of the ceremony and realized what they meant – what they should mean – that he cried.”
The couple had two kids: son Stephen, in 1949, and daughter Leslie, in 1952. Four years later, Bogart was diagnosed with esophageal cancer. He died in 1957.
“I didn’t know what the hell I was doing,” Bacall told Cagle. “If I hadn’t had those two little children, I don’t know what I would’ve done.”
If he had lived, Bacall believed they would have stayed married. “But my life would have been so different,” she told PEOPLE in 1979. “I would never have gone into the theater because that would have split us up. But I suppose if I had wanted anything badly enough, he probably would have let the girl try her wings for a while.”
In the end, though she remarried in 1961, Bogart was the love of her life.
What it felt like to be so wanted, so adored!” she wrote of him in her autobiography. “No one had ever felt like that about me. It was all so dramatic, too. Always in the wee small hours when it seemed to Bogie and me that the world was ours – that we were the world. At those times, we were.”
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