They were the funniest valentines. “I was a meditating, vegetarian hippie, and he was a meat-eating, boozing, ultra-famous person,” Irene Tsu, 73, exclusively told Closer Weekly (in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now!) of randomly meeting Frank Sinatra at a Miami hotel circa 1970. “That’s how our two-year date started.”
She made him feel so young. Frank was in his 50s, having recently split from Mia Farrow, and Irene — who’d co-starred with Elvis Presley (Paradise, Hawaiian Style) and John Wayne (The Green Berets) — was in her 20s. “I made him laugh a lot,” Irene recalled. “I brought him an elaborate train set from Japan, and we spent hours putting it together, rolling on the floor, laughing, and eating popcorn.”
Irene and Frank mostly stayed at his Palm Springs, CA home, where he welcomed celeb pals like Gregory Peck, Kirk Douglas, and Herb Alpert. “He was so good to his guests — everything you ever wanted, you never had to lift a finger,” Irene gushed. “We’d have a dinner party all weekend.”
She remembered him as a man who loved scrambled eggs with olive oil, crossword puzzles, and “everything orange — it was his favorite color.” One thing he didn’t like: people coming up to him from behind. “He was mauled so much by fans as a young singer, he developed this reaction where he would swing at his back.”
Ultimately, Irene and Frank split because “his life was just too different,” she said. “We knew we weren’t really marriage material for each other.” But they parted on friendly terms, and when she wed another man, “Frank sent me a great present,” Irene said. “I said, ‘I could use a washer and dryer.’ I’m so practical. He got a kick out of that.” And out of her.
For more on Frank Sinatra, pick up the latest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now — and be sure to sign up for our newsletter for more exclusive news!