First Wife of Legendary Singer Frank Sinatra Dies at 101

July 14, 2018Jul 14, 2018

Sadly, the first wife of the legendary singer Frank Sinatra has died. Nancy Sinatra Sr. was 101. No cause of death has yet been reported, although according to her daughter Nancy Sinatra Jr., her mother “passed away peacefully” at 6:02 p.m.She was born Nancy Rose in Jersey City in 1917. 

Nancy Barbato and Frank Sinatra married at Our Lady of Sorrows Roman Catholic Church in Jersey City in 1939, during the Depression, after meeting as teenagers in the summer of 1934 in Long Branch, New Jersey.

In their early years they lived together in a small Jersey City apartment, while she worked as a secretary and he, a singing waiter, according to The New York Times. They were poor. In that Jersey City apartment, they bore their first two of three children—Nancy Jr. and Frank Jr. before relocating to California in 1944, where Frank became a pop-music sensation. Later they would have their third child, Tina.

For the first dozen years of their life after they married, Nancy and Frank lived a tumultuous existence that included children as well as fame and fortune, record deals, motion pictures and several extramarital romances until they finally divorced in 1951.

But until his death in 1998 at 82, Sinatra and Nancy remained close friends and confidantes. Although Sinatra had three wives after his marriage with Nancy, she never remarried.

In Hollywood, as Frank’s fame rose, his marriage to Nancy plummeted as he womanized notoriously, committing an extramarital affair with actress Ava Gardner. That’s when Nancy left her husband. After their divorce, Sinatra would marry Gardner, while Nancy Sr. would go on to raise their three children.

Author Gay Talese wrote in 1966 of their relationship, "There is no bitterness, only great respect and affection between Sinatra and his first wife, and he has long been welcome in her home and has even been known to wander in at odd hours, stoke the fire, lie on the sofa, and fall asleep."

According to Fox News, even after their divorce, Frank Sinatra would come to Nancy's house and request from her pasta and other Italian meals. While he lived in the spotlight, she preferred to stay away from it, quietly raising their three children.

“She was a blessing and the light of my life,” Sinatra Jr. wrote. “Godspeed, Momma. Thank you for everything.”

Please pray for her two daughters who are mourning her loss. Join the conversation on our Facebook page. Be sure to read about why fans are cheering for Candace Cameron Bure


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