Billy Dee Williams Gets Candid About Infidelity: ‘I’ve Been Philandering My Whole Life’ (Exclusive)

The legendary actor opens up about his life and many loves ahead of new memoir 'What Have We Here,' out Feb. 13

<p>Albert L. Ortega; Courtesy of Knopf/Photograph Courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC/Jacket Design by Jenny Carrow</p> Billy Dee Williams

Albert L. Ortega; Courtesy of Knopf/Photograph Courtesy of Lucasfilm Ltd. LLC/Jacket Design by Jenny Carrow

Billy Dee Williams's New Memoir "What Have We Here?"

Billy Dee Williams, 86, is a legendary actor and perennial heartthrob. He's also the first to admit monogamy has never been his strong suit.

The Star Wars: Empire Strikes Back alum opens up like never before in his new memoir What Have We Here?: Portraits of A Life, set to be released Feb. 13. In this week's issue, he tells PEOPLE all about his many exploits as a lifelong ladies' man.

Since he was a boy, Williams has been something of a romantic. "I'm always falling in love," says Williams.

In the book he shares details of his humble, happy beginnings as a child of the Harlem Renaissance in New York City, where he struggled in school, but excelled both in art and with the ladies. But it wasn't until he was cast as a romantic lead opposite Diana Ross in the '70s that his lover boy persona really took off.

<p>Paramount Pictures/Getty</p> Billy Dee Williams and Diana Ross in 'Lady Sings The Blues'

Paramount Pictures/Getty

Billy Dee Williams and Diana Ross in 'Lady Sings The Blues'

"Lady Sings the Blues [the 1972 Billie Holliday biopic] and Mahogany [1975] really turned my whole world around, as far as being a romantic figure is concerned," he says.

On the heels of those roles, Williams found himself one of Hollywood's earliest Black heartthrobs. "I think I'm the first little brown boy to really come along and project that kind of persona," he says, "Which has been a lot of fun for me."

Related: ‘Star Wars’ Actor Billy Dee Williams Reveals Cover of 'Riveting, Inspiring' New Memoir (Exclusive)

That said, committing to any one woman has always been hard for him. "I'm intrigued with strong women," he tells PEOPLE. "Obviously that always gets me in trouble."

The thrice-married actor and father of two doesn't split hairs about his romantic past. When asked how he'd characterize himself as a husband he quips, "A philanderer! I've been philandering my whole life."

<p>Courtesy Billy Dee Williams</p> Billy Dee Williams and daughter Hanako

Courtesy Billy Dee Williams

Billy Dee Williams and daughter Hanako

Married to Audrey Sellers from 1959 to 1963, Marlene Clark from 1968 to 1971 and Teruko Nakagami in 1972, from whom he separated in 1993 while remaining legally married to her, Williams is upfront about the role he played in those failed relationships.

“I think I used to be a good husband, once upon a time. I value family," he says. "When my son [Corey, 63, with Sellers] was born, I thought that was the greatest thing in the whole world. And my daughter [Hanako, 50] from my third marriage was a gift.”

As for his exes, "They're all very wonderful people that I've married," he says. "How I got into those situations, I will never know."

For more on Billy Dee Williams's no-holds-barred new memoir, pick up this week's issue of PEOPLE, available Friday.

What Have We Here?: Portraits of A Life will be released on Feb. 13.

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