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Daily Mirror (14/Apr/2007) - Grace Kelly Exposed

(c) The Daily Mirror

Sinatra, Brando, Curtis, Niven, Gable & Crosby... she just wanted them all

Grace Kelly was the innocent Hollywood sweetheart who captivated a generation of moviegoers.

A beautiful queen of the silver screen, she enjoyed a privileged life, which culminated in a fairytale marriage to her Prince Charming, Monaco's Prince Rainier III. But all was not what it seemed...

Grace's sweet image has been shattered once and for all, in an explosive book that exposes the actress's darker side.

The controversial new biography brands her a sex-obsessed cheater who stopped at nothing to get what she wanted. In True Grace: The Life And Times Of An American Princess, Hollywood biographer Wendy Leigh claims the actress had a string of torrid flings - both before and after she wed.

As a rising star, Grace passionately pursued her leading men, most of whom were married. Gary Cooper, Clark Gable, Ray Milland, Bing Crosby and William Holden were all on her hit-list.

To fed-up Hollywood wives, Grace was a constant threat. "I have nothing good to say about her," declared one. "She had an affair with my best friend's husband, Ray Milland!"

When asked just how many men Grace had seduced, the woman - widow of top director Henry Hathaway - added: "Everybody. Yes, she wore white gloves but she was no saint!"

In one incident, Crosby is said to have walked in on Grace as she lay naked in bed with Marlon Brando - who, to add insult to injury, had beaten him to an Oscar just hours before. It comes as no surprise that "fisticuffs" ensued.

Grace is also alleged to have had a fling with David Niven while he was married - a rumour that circulated around Hollywood for years.

Before Rainier wed the 26-year-old actress in 1956, he asked Niven which of his lovers had been best in bed. "Grace, of course," he replied, before hastily adding: "Er, Gracie Fields."

Even after she tied the knot, Grace showed no inclination to curb her wild ways, and even bedded her bridesmaid's husband.

Model Carolyn Reybold had been such a good friend that Grace named her first child after her. But that friendship wasn't to last after she took a fancy to Carolyn's wealthy other half, Malcolm.

Grace eventually confessed all - blaming it on her distress after her father was found to have cancer.

But the betrayal left Carolyn a broken woman - her life spiralled out of control after her marriage collapsed and she ended up living in homeless shelters. She's now in a nursing home on Long Island.

In Leigh's book, published by St Martin's Press in the US, it is claimed that Grace's infidelities were a direct reaction to her husband's affairs - and that they propelled her into the arms of Frank Sinatra and rekindled her feelings for Brando.

"I know my husband has affairs with other women," Grace once confided to her hairdresser. "That's very frustrating to me and makes me very unhappy."

Sinatra's affair with Princess Grace lasted for years, they even had a lovenest in a secluded French villa in Cap Ferrat, according to the book. The singer confided to his valet that Grace was his "dream girl".

Also on the list of alleged lovers are actor Tony Curtis, US tennis ace Sidney Wood, British producer Anthony Havelock-Allan and musician Richard Boccelli.

"She was basically a romantic," says Leigh. "She was attracted to high-energy, driven men. There was a string of them - from gangsters to princes and many in between."

Tragically, Grace died before she found true happiness. The no-holds-barred biography of the Rear Window beauty comes on the eve of the 25th anniversary of Grace's death in a car crash at the age of 52.

She had been driving from her country home to Monaco with her daughter Princess Stephanie when she suffered a stroke, causing her Rover to veer off down the mountainside.

She died without regaining consciousness, while Stephanie suffered only minor injuries.

But in a twist that could have come from one of her Alfred Hitchcock films, the actress predicted her own untimely end.

According to True Grace, she'd asked famed psychic Frank Andrews: "I've always had a premonition that I'm going to die in a car crash. Will I?"

He replied: "What I can say is that if you don't change your eating habits and your drinking, you could easily have a stroke. And that could happen in a car."

Grace's tragic death cemented her iconic status. Born in Philadelphia, the third of four children, she didn't have the best role model when it came to marriage.

According to Leigh, the actress's philandering millionaire father Jack Kelly had many a lover behind her mother's back.

Little wonder then that Grace showed promiscuous behaviour from a young age - she was even romantically involved with her acting teacher Don Richardson.

Her first big role came at the age of 22, in Fourteen Hours. But it was in 1954, when Hitchcock cast her in Dial M For Murder and in Rear Window opposite Jimmy Stewart, that she became a star.

She also starred in Hitchcock's To Catch A Thief in 1955 and won the Best Actress Oscar for her role in The Country Girl.

Though her movie career spanned only five years and 11 films, her elegant beauty left a big impression and she clearly cast a spell over Prince Rainier, who she met while in Cannes for the 1956 film festival. He proposed within days.

Rainier had been led to believe that Grace was a virginal, worthy choice to be his wife and the mother of his children.

Grace turned her back on acting and focused on being a royal leader and mother - the couple had three children, Caroline in 1957, then Albert II in 1958 and Stephanie in 1965.

Aides say that Rainier knew about her affairs and went to his grave in 2005 still bitter.

When Grace died in 1982, millions mourned the passing of an American beauty who had bewitched everyone around her.

But now, with her secret life revealed, it seems Grace was never destined to live happily ever after.

She had a string of men... from villains through to royals

Life and times of an icon:

  • She was the first actress to appear on an American postage stamp.
  • French fashion house Hermes named one of its top products for Grace Kelly - the Kelly Bag.
  • Kelly is mentioned in dozens of popular songs including Madonna's Vogue, Eels' Grace Kelly Blues and Mika's hit Grace Kelly.
  • Her wedding gown was donated to the Philadelphia Museum Of Art.
  • The dress was designed by MGM's Helen Rose and was worked on by three dozen seamstresses for six weeks.
  • There were 600 guests at the wedding and an estimated 30 million people watched it on TV.
  • Nearly 100 million people watched her funeral on TV.

Charles in love-match

Grace Kelly was determined to make a match between her daughter Caroline and a 16-year-old Prince Charles, the book reveals.

Grace and Charles apparently got on "like a house on fire" and, according to her nephew Christian de Massy: "Grace wanted Caroline to marry Charles. She liked the British royal family."

But the romance wasn't meant to be. "When they met nothing developed," a source says.

Undeterred, Grace then tried to make a match between her nephew Christian and Princess Anne. However, Leigh reveals: "Their relationship did not progress either."