Inside Sidney Poitier and Diahann Carroll’s tempestuous nine-year affair when both married

Hollywood icon Sidney Poitier met fellow Tinseltown star Diahann Carroll while filming Porgy and Bess in 1959 and embarked on a damaging nine-year romance

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Sir Sidney Poitier discusses the film Precious in 2010

Sidney Poitier and Diahann Carroll were two of Hollywood’s most iconic stars at the end of the 1950s and they came together to film Porgy and Bess.

The 1959 film married the two film legends of the silver screen, with Diahann having been the first black woman to star in a TV show in a non-servant role, while Sidney was the first black man to win an Oscar for Best Actor.

Sidney sadly passed away today aged 94, following Diahann’s passing in 2019, after she lost a decade-long battle with cancer.

Back in 1959 though, the pair embarked on a tempestuous love affair despite them both being married at the time.

Diahann and Sidney had only been on set for a few days when they realised that there was an unique attraction between them.

Diahann Carroll and Sidney Poitier embarked on a nine-year love affair



Sidney described Diahann as having amazing cheekbones, mysterious eyes, and perfect teeth.

He was also tantalised by her sensual nature, despite being married to his first wife, model Juanita Hardy, who had four children with at the time.

Diahann was married to her first husband, Monty Kay, the father of her only daughter, Suzanne.

It all began when Sidney asked Diahann for dinner, with him saying they would chat about their respective marriages.

What happened though is that they both felt they wanted to be with each other.

Diahann Carroll and Sidney Poitier had plans to marry



Talking about the affair, Sidney said: “As I got to know her, I realised she was one of the brightest women I had ever known.”

Diahann has since said that she was still too immature at the time and was a romantic at heart, which led her to be taken by Sidney’s charms.

They both resolved to leave their partners and make their relationship above board but after Diahann left her husband, Sidney didn’t go through with his half of the bargain and stayed with his wife.

Left single, Diahann began dating other men but Sidney was not having any of it and met her in a hotel room, where he ‘laid claim’ to Diahann despite having no intentions of ending his marriage.

Diahann recalled in her memoir, The Legs Are the Last to Go, she said that Sidney said: “I won’t have you running around with other men. You belong to me!”

During their nine-year affair, Sidney bought Diahann a ring, with the promise that he would at some point call it quits with his wife, as a 10-room apartment.

Sidney Poitier ultimately wouldn’t leave his wife and get a divorce


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The plan was that they would live for six months together in the apartment before getting married because he didn’t want to be seen finishing one marriage and going straight into another.

Diahann recalled that days after she moved into the apartment, Sidney called her again to say that he had second thoughts about getting a divorce and that he was not happy about Diahann’s daughter living with them.

She said that Sidney then asked to be paid back for all the monies spent on furnishing and decorating the apartment and their romance came to a fiery and destructive end.

By the time the pair entered into the final years of their lives, they had rekindled their friendship and Diahann said: “Sidney and I are now friends.

“That’s a lovely thing that comes as you age – forgiveness and perhaps a relaxing of standards.”

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