Diane Keaton Once Gave Al Pacino a Marriage Ultimatum
TBT: Check in every Thursday as we throw it back to some of our favorite celebrity couples of all time.
Who: Academy Award-winning actress Diane Keaton, 74, and Academy Award-winning actor Al Pacino, 79.
How They Met: It was a true Hollywood tale: the two eventual Oscar winners met on the set of The Godfather, the movie that catapulted the both of them into stardom after it was released in 1972 and became a staple of cinema.
At the time, Keaton, who was in her late twenties, and Pacino, who was in his early thirties, were both relatively unknown. They were cast opposite each other in the first of Francis Ford Coppola’s trilogy. Their onscreen chemistry clearly translated away from the cameras — in a 2013 interview with The Telegraph, Keaton recalled, “I was really very taken with Al from the very beginning.”
She told People in 2017 that she “had a crush” on Pacino when they began shooting the movie, and that once they got together, “I was mad for him. Charming, hilarious, a nonstop talker. There was an aspect of him that was like a lost orphan, like this kind of crazy idiot savant. And oh, gorgeous!”
Why We Loved Them: Talk about a true power couple, with a side of slow-burn longing. Keaton may have been immediately taken with Pacino, but it wasn’t until after The Godfather Part II that their working relationship blossomed into a romance.
“For me the Godfathers, all three of them, were about one thing — Al. It was as simple as that,” Keaton wrote in her memoir, Then Again.
When They Peaked: This may not have happened during their relationship, but Pacino’s tribute to Keaton when she won an AFI Lifetime Achievement award in 2017 showed their friendship withstood the test of time. Just watch the way he calls her “Di” and says, “I like your hat.” And don’t get us started on his recalling of the first time they met at a Godfather cast dinner in Harlem — and of one piece of advice she gave him later on in their relationship.
“I remember leaving the house once, and I had an interview. And I’m very uncomfortable here, but at interviews, I’m even more uncomfortable, believe it or not,” he said. “And she was very encouraging, helping me along, and as I was leaving, she called out to me, and said, ‘Al, you’re going to be o.k. Just remember, whatever you do, don’t say you’re an artist.”
And if that wasn’t enough to make you weep, he then closed the speech by telling her, “I love you forever.”
The Breakup: Pacino and Keaton ended their romantic relationship sometime after The Godfather Part III. When he wouldn’t commit to marriage, Keaton recalled, she gave him an ultimatum, and their relationship was over.
“I worked hard on that one. I went about it in not a perfect way,” she told People.
Where They Are Now: Obviously, both went on to have illustrious careers. Keaton won an Oscar in 1978 for Annie Hall, and was nominated three more times, for her roles in Reds, Marvin’s Room, and Something’s Gotta Give. She can next be seen in the upcoming Love, Weddings & Other Disasters.
Keaton has two adopted children, daughter Dexter, who was adopted in 1996, and son Duke, adopted in 2001.
In July 2019, Keaton told InStyle that she “never” gets asked out on dates, and said “I haven’t been on a date in, I would say, 35 years. No dates.” She also discussed her exes — including Pacino, Woody Allen, and Warren Beatty — in an interview with People in 2019, telling the outlet, “I don’t think it would have been a good idea for me to have married, and I’m really glad I didn’t, and I’m sure they’re happy about it, too.”
Pacino never married, either, though he has three children. He shares his first child, Julie, with acting coach Jan Tarrant, and shares twins, son Anton James and daughter Olivia Rose, with actress Beverly D’Angelo, with whom he had a relationship from 1996 until 2003. He also had a ten-year relationship with actress Lucila Polak from 2008 to 2018, and while the couple never married, Polak’s daughter Camila Morrone refers to Pacino as her stepfather.
Pacino won an Oscar for his role in 1993’s Scent of a Woman, and has been nominated a total of eight other times, most recently for his performance in The Irishman. He can next be seen in the Amazon Prime series Hunters.