Nancy Barbato Sinatra, the first wife of singer Frank Sinatra and the mother of his three children, has died. She was 101.
She died Friday and her passing was noted on Twitter by her oldest daughter and namesake, singer-actress Nancy Sinatra Jr.
“My mother passed peacefully tonight at the age of 101,” the younger Sinatra posted Friday. “She was a blessing and the light of my life. Godspeed, Momma. Thank you for everything.”
The couple had two other children, younger daughter, actress-producer Christina “Tina,” and son, singer-bandleader Frank Jr., who died of heart failure in 2016.
Nancy Barbato met Frank Sinatra in 1934 in their native New Jersey when she was 17 and he 19. They married in 1939, but the marriage ended in 1951 amid his highly publicized affair with actress Ava Gardener, whom he married just days after his divorce became final.
During their 12-year marriage, Frank Sinatra rose from singing in small nightclubs and restaurants to become one of the most popular and influential singers of his generation. In those early years, friends said Nancy Sinatra worked as a secretary for a printing plant, answered her husband’s fan mail and occasionally traveled with him before they moved to Southern California in the 1940s when Frank Sinatra started his movie career, which ultimately garnered him an Academy Award.
By all accounts, the two visited regularly and remained on good terms until his death.
Frank Sinatra, who died in 1998, divorced Gardener in 1957. He was married to actress Mia Farrow from 1966 to 1968 and to model Barbara Marx, from 1976 until his death. Barbara Sinatra died in 2017 at age 90.
Nancy Sinatra Sr., who rarely spoke to the media, devoted her time to family and charity, but never remarried. When journalist Pete Hamill asked why, she reportedly told him “After Sinatra?”
She is survived by her two daughters and three grandchildren. No funeral arrangements were announced.