The number of his conquests is legendary, but when he was in his 50s he realized that it was time to settle down. And that happened when he met the right woman.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on September 7, 2022. It has since been updated.
There are many Hollywood marriages that have gone kaput, but surprisingly the best-known "lothario" of the industry, actor-director Warren Beatty's marriage with actress Annette Bening is still rock solid. The number of women this casanova has been with ranges in thousands, the legend goes. 12,775 to be precise, according to Peter Biskind, author of Star: How Warren Beatty Seduced America, reports NYPost.
The Bonnie and Clyde star was in his 50s when he finally met the woman he settled down with eventually. In 1990, he met actress Annette Bening and surprised everyone by getting married two years later. He told TODAY, "It didn't really surprise me," he said. "I always felt I wasn't trying to avoid marriage, I was trying to avoid divorce. I had no doubt when I met Annette that it was time to get married."
The couple's creative union did not end with Bugsy. They worked together in films like the Love Affair and more recently Rules Don't Apply. Regardless, 86-year-old and the 65-year-old don't let their jobs take over their lives.
Among the multitudes of women he has dated are some of the biggest names in the industry like Brigitte Bardot, Cher, Julie Christie, Goldie Hawn, Diana Ross, Carly Simon, and Barbra Streisand. But, it was while looking for the leading lady role for Bugsy that he took Bening out to lunch.
“It took about 10 minutes [to fall in love with her]. Maybe five,” he later said. “I was so elated to meet her, and yet at the same time, I began to mourn the passing of a way of life.” It seems that he told the director, Barry Levinson, he was going to marry her. According to Vanity Fair, once she made the cut he famously told her, "I want you to know that I'm not going to come on to you." However, after they were done shooting for the film they became an official couple. They have four children and he loves being a father, even though he prefers to keep them away from the spotlight.
In his recent TODAY interview, Beatty told Matt Lauer that "the most important thing that's ever happened — the best thing that's ever happened to me — was Annette and having four kids."
Both of them like to keep their children out of the public eye. "It is a burden, I think, to have two parents that are well-known, so I completely respect their privacy," the then 79-year-old explained. "I could go on and on and on and on talking about them, because they're brilliant and fun. But no, I think you have to give them a break, and they have their privacy."
He has no regrets for leaving his old ways behind once he did meet her. “When I was in my 20s and 30s, there were certain things that were irresistible. And then into my 40s and into my 50s, being adolescent never got boring,” he has said. “That, fortunately, came to a conclusion, not a moment too soon.”
Among the two, Bening is the more grounded one, who started dating Beatty because he was “smart and fun and interesting," reports NYPost. He fell for her “because she doesn’t behave like an actress." She is grateful that her first real success wasn't until she was a grown-up. “Thank God fame didn’t happen to me until I was 30,” Bening, whose first hit was The Grifters, said. “By then I had coping mechanisms.”
"Annette’s a very unusual woman,” David Geffen, one of the richest Hollywood studio owners, told Vanity Fair. “It takes a lot of confidence to marry Warren. He’s a great husband and father, and before he was both of those things, he was a great Casanova. What can we say? It’s an incredible collection of lovers. You can’t ignore it. It’s impossible.”
One of the reasons Beatty says he waited so long was because he wanted to be there for his family when he finally had one. Regardless, being married to a legend like him, who has a reputation, is no mean task.