“I Love My Husband, But–” (1935)

“I love my husband, but–“

I could have loved these other five men, too! says Norma Shearer, one of Hollywood’s happily married stars

by Faith Service

Modern Screen, June 1935

Norma was a flame the other day.
Every exciting woman is half a dozen other women combined in one. Sometimes one mood is uppermost, sometimes another.
I have seen Norma in many moods . . . as the vital and efficient star preparing for a new production . . . as the gracious hostess . . . as small Irving’s competent mother . . . as a girl lazing on the beach . . .
The other day the actress was uppermost in Norma. She wore a tea-gown of some incredible shade of pale flame, gold ornaments at the throat, gold girdled, gold-sandalled. Her lovely, rich brown hair hung loosely to her shoulders. We talked together in her new dressing-room on the M-G-M lot . . . a dressing-room all crystal and strange green, pervaded with that same pale flame shade . . . there was something in the atmosphere that day that suggested the perfumes of applause and roses, romance and strange adventuring.
Norma said, suddenly, “I shall always find men attractive. An actress, an artist should live colorfully and dangerously in his or her imagination. And, if one is in love with one man, loves deeply, that should make all men seem more attractive.
“The same is true of children. Very often children, as a whole, may not arouse your interest until you have a child of your own. And then, when you do have a child, when you have grown to love it tenderly through its different enchanting stages, you find yourself responding spontaneously to all children, appreciating all of their little moods and eccentricities.
“I first fell in love when I was eight. I have been in love with someone ever since . . .”
Adrian appeared at this revealing moment to show Norma some of the dramatic sketches he has made for the elaborate costumes of “Marie Antoinette” which is to be Norma’s next picture. And for which she is having headdresses made, sketches drawn, materials carefully selected.
When he had gone, Norma poured sherry into two tiny jewelled glasses and said, “I remember when I was in the second grade at school . . . there I met the first object of my affections. He had red hair and didn’t know that I was on earth. And then, a little later, a soft young cheek held close enough to mine for me to feel the warmth . . . asking eyes and tender goodbyes and funny little twisted gold rings worn on the ‘right finger’. And still later, in New York, a little more grown-up, getting my first thrills when I was taken out by a young sophisticate, terribly impressive, with shiny black hair and dancing feet, he was a Wall Street boy. Then hot summer nights on the Biltmore roof, Park Avenue, and a rich man’s spoiled son with football games and tete-a-tete teas at the Ritz . . . more farewells and promises ‘never to forget’ . . . and then, Hollywood!
“Hollywood with men who have been chosen from all parts of the world for their charm, their appeal.
“I have been fortunate. I can think easily of five men whom I have found attractive, each in a different way. Five men with whom it was easy to pretend that I was in love . . .
“There was Leslie Howard . . . Leslie, true spiritual, who can wear the lace frills and bend the knee with such grace and conviction. Leslie with those amazing blue eyes that so dreamily can contemplate the past and then suddenly become electrified with a fervent contemplation of the present. Leslie who, in ‘Berkeley Square’ said, ‘I love you’, and said it more divinely than it has ever been said before. Leslie who, whn kissing one woman, makes every woman in the audience feel as though she has been kissed, too.
“Leslie attracts women because he has a great sex magnetism. Ah, that surprises you! But it is so. Leslie is the perfect combination of the physical and the spiritual. He conveys the feeling of romance which endured through he ages, of love everlasting. That is why, as Moonyeen Clare, it was so easy for me to respond to Leslie for that little, lovely while . . .

[…]

(Modern Screen, June 1935)