After her marriage with Willy disintegrated, Colette became a music hall dancer to support herself while continuing her writing career with articles about politics, fashion, cooking, and drama. Before her second marriage, she had relationships with several women, including Mathilde de Morny, or "Missy," a cross-dressing lesbian entertainer. In 1907, their kiss on stage at the Moulin Rouge caused an uproar, but the liaison wouldn't last.
A few years later, Colette married newspaper editor Henri de Jouvenel, with whom she had a daughter. The marriage allowed her to focus on her writing. It ended in 1924, marked by Jouvenel's infidelities as well as Colette's affair with her stepson. But during this time, the author would write one of her most famous works yet — Chéri, a novel about a courtesan and her much younger lover. Years after Jouvenel, she married Maurice Goudeket, a Jewish jewelry salesman whom she would help hide during the Nazi occupation of Paris during World War II.