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To Tell You The Truth . . .
In love with another man? Divorcing Doug, Jr.?

Joan answers the gossip-mongers frankly


by Jane Drew

Originally appeared in Modern Screen, February 1932


[Click here to go directly below to another article featuring Joan in the same issue called "One Day Left to Live."]



Modern Screen, February 1932.If all the hints, innuendos, whispers and even printed gossip stories of "trouble" existing between Joan Crawford and her young husband, Doug Fairbanks, Jr., were spoken through a megaphone into one of Hollywood's favorite canyons they would give back an echo that could spell but one possible result...divorce!

Rumors...hundreds of of them frankly malicious, are striking at two young people who were, until six months ago, acknowledged the most sincere love-birds of Hollywood. Where the gossip started...or how it gained such a deal of momentum in such short unknown. But the point is that "they" are talking. "They" are saying (with the usual inconsistencies of all gossip):

That Doug, Jr., is "chiseling" with (a) an extra girl with whom he was seen motoring in broad daylight on Wilshire Boulevard, the most crowded thoroughfare in Hollywood; (b) Rose Hobart, his leading lady in "Chances" and with whom he was once seen lunching; (c) a lady, vaguely designated as "married," whom Doug scandalously called on the telephone one morning and invited to play tennis; (x y z) any other three women you care to mention.

Joan, according to "them," is even busier cheating! She is "madly...crazily...frantically in love with a leading man" (whisper: C---k G-b-e) and "so madly does she care for the gentleman that their love scenes in their latest picture are printed on asbestos!" Or, if you don't care for that, do you prefer the story of Joan's hot and heavy romance with a Fairbanks house guest? Which house guest? Oh, either one of the boys who have visited them within the last six months. Another rumor concerning Joan is so obviously malicious and untrue that it shall not be mentioned here. But Joan had heard it---yes, she has heard them all! All of the things both she and Douglas are supposed to be doing without one another's knowledge, she has heard. And her answer is a laugh. She isn't mad. She isn't up-in-arms. She is merely gloriously amused!

But she realizes her fans are eager to know the truth. So she frankly explained to them, through me, just the exact state of affairs under which she and Doug are attempting to live and be happy at the present moment.

"Really," she chuckles, "I don't see how it is physically possible for two people to be as unfaithful as Douglas and I are accused of being. Frankly, after eight or ten hours spent at the studio---plus time for interviews and photographic sittings---dress fittings---managing my home and visiting my mother occasionally, I wouldn't have the necessary vitality left with which to be so amorous!"

"But seriously, the real situation between Douglas and myself is this: Believe me when I tell you that all this talk hasn't caused a bit of misunderstanding between us. We are just as happy as we ever were. We actually laugh and kid about our so-called 'love lives.' Even in the first days of our marriage, I don't think Douglas and I had as deep an understanding as we have now."

"I'm not going to make any foolish statement and say that nothing shall ever come between us! I'm not a fortune teller nor a mind reader. I don't know what the years hold for us. I hope ours shall be a lasting and permanent happiness...but if something should ever occur to part us, you may be sure that it will have a much more definite foundation than a handful of silly rumors!"

"Just this morning I strolled down to the set where Garbo and Novarro were working. Ramon was just between scenes and when he saw me standing there alone, he rushed up to say 'hello." As a matter of fact, he threw his arms around me and kissed me. I'm certainly glad it was Ramon Novarro...he hasn't been billed from one end of the country to the other as a great lover. I'm not in love with Ramon...I really like him a great deal and we are the best of friends."

"But, while you will never read or hear any rumors concerning a romance between Ramon and myself, I am supposed to be madly in love with a certain other actor in Hollywood! I have been told that I am. I have been informed that our love scenes in a new picture are the 'give away.' We are supposed to be inspired. I'll admit that I was inspired during the making of the picture. I lived, breathed and dreamed that picture from the start to the finish. I wanted the love scenes to be real! And I can sincerely say that I felt every single love scene from the bottom of my heart! But really, the love and romance in the picture was not one whit more inspired or real than the most casual scene of putting on a hat or entering a room! I certainly hope I put as much sincerity into the dramatic crying scenes!"

"Honestly, that is the real truth about my muchly-hinted romance. Before the camera we were in love. Now that the picture is over we are merely good friends!"

"As for the other two men with whom my name has been linked in gossip---what more can I say than that they were our guests...and I was their hostess? It just so happened that Douglas had to work one or two nights during each of the visits. What was I supposed to do under the circumstances? I might have sent our guest down to the corner drug store for his dinner...had the servants bring my dinner up on a tray and locked myself in my bedroom until my husband got home. Instead, I thought it would be perfectly safe to have our dinner served in the dining room...even though we had to run the risk of the compromising situation of 'dining alone'! Oh, isn't it all too silly...too absurd?"

"I am not so optimistic as to believe that these are the very last rumors that will ever be circulated about Douglas and myself. No, there will be plenty more...but if you know in advance that we will, in the future (just as in the past), go out with others if we choose---and if I tell you now that there is a possibility of divorce for Douglas and me---then you may be able to discount much!"

"I haven't meant to infer that there is a single reason or thought of divorce now...but I can't foresee the future. For that reason I refuse to say: 'I will never divorce Douglas.'  It might happen before this story is read...probably it will never happen!"  

[Webmistress's note: As history now tells us, Ramon was never a factor, Doug really was fooling around, and Joan and C---k G-b-e really had been having an affair since filming Possessed in September/October of 1931. Joan and Doug would divorce in May 1933, just in time for Joan and C---k to start their next film together, Dancing Lady.]


from the same February 1932 issue of Modern Screen:

One Day Left To Live

by Jack Jamison

We couldn't let Joan Crawford dodge a question like this. For one thing only, there has been a lot of talk lately about whether Joan is a dancing daughter or a doting wife. One rumor had it that she was turning those big eyes on none other than Mr. Gable. Another said that she was as mad as ever about Doug, and that the chit-chat about a separation was hooey sponsored by the publicity office in order to stir up interest in more modern maiden and flaming youth pictures for her. Both sides win, her answer to the question would seem to indicate.

I put it to her bluntly enough, I'm afraid. "What would you do if you had one day to live, Joan?" I asked.

"But that's a question it's almost impossible to answer!" she objected. "It would depend on the mood and the moment. I don't think I'd be scared. I might be sort of awe-struck and numbed, but I wouldn't be scared."

She wouldn't be, either. Chalk up one for the "brave and reckless" theory. "That's telling how you feel, Joan. But what would you do?"

"Well, I imagine I'd spend a few hours of the day attending to various business and personal details. We all think our affairs are in order, as much in order as possible, but there would be a million things to do. I have a few belongings which are dear to me, and I'd like to send them to friends who would love them as I have."

"I know I'd want music around me all day; all my favorite pieces. Music calms and rests me more than anything else."

"Well, after I'd taken care of all the necessary details, I'd want to spend the rest of the day with my mother and Douglas. There would be so much to think about and talk about."

Chalk up one for the devoted daughter and wife!

"Perhaps---perhaps I should do one thing I have always wanted to do. High places have always terrified me. They make me want to jump out and into space and fall---fall---fall. If I knew, definitely, that I had only a few hours to live, perhaps---perhaps---" and Joan's eyes grew larger--- "I would go to the highest cliff or the highest tower I could find, and jump! would mean only an hour or two less of living, and it would satisfy a longing I have had since my childhood! I might not do it. But---I might!"

Chalk up another for the reckless dancing daughter. Most certainly after that! That's a dead give-away. All doubts are settled. There's a wide streak of reckless, devil-may-care, to-hell-with-it abandon in Joan, all right, or she would never think of such an end for herself. There would be no calm waiting for Joan. One grand finale---and get a thrill out of it---is her ideal.

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