Diane Keaton has never been married, but she’s had plenty of high-profile romances — and she clearly lingers in the minds of her men.
On June 9, when she received the American Film Institute’s 45th Lifetime Achievement Award, former boyfriends and costars Warren Beatty, Al Pacino and Woody Allen were among the Hollywood luminaries on hand to sing her praises. “You’re a great artist,” Pacino told her from the stage at the Dolby Theater. “I love you forever.”
The Annie Hall star, now 71, has her own fond memories of her “many loves,” as she laughingly calls her exes.
She tells PEOPLE she “had a crush” on Pacino when they worked together on The Godfather in 1971. Once they became a couple, “I was mad for him. Charming, hilarious, a nonstop talker,” says Keaton, who looks back her at life in pictures in the new issue of PEOPLE. “There was an aspect of him that was like a lost orphan, like this kind of crazy idiot savant. And oh, gorgeous!”
When he wouldn’t commit to marriage, she gave him an ultimatum, and it was over. “I worked hard on that one. I went about it in not a perfect way.”
She fell hard for Beatty, her costar and director in 1981’s Reds, as well. “He is just a brilliant character,” she says. “So complex and charming. He should have made more movies.”
For more on Diane Keaton’s extraordinary life and loves, pick up this week’s issue of PEOPLE.
Watching scenes from her old films in preparation for the AFI gala, which airs on June 15 at 10 a.m. on TNT, she was struck by a scene from Reds where she and Beatty, playing activists in the Russian Revolution, were fighting. “I slam the door in his face and then we make up, of course,” she says. “It felt real. I think when you know someone well, you feel comfortable in your acting enough to do that.”
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But it’s Allen with whom she has maintained a close friendship since the early 1970s, when they were romantically involved. “He is so hilarious and I just adored him, I really did,” she says. He drew on their relationship in writing Annie Hall, “but he didn’t know if the movie would work. He would say, ‘It’s just another sitcom.’ I knew it was a great script.”
Keaton has long defended Allen over allegations that he sexually abused his daughter Dylan Farrow, which the director has denied. “I believe him,” she has said.
These days, she says, “I have dinner with Woody and [his wife] Soon Yi whenever I go to New York. I pick up the check, that’s how generous I am.”