After involuntarily retiring from acting, he took up a successful, prolific, decades-long career as an interior decorator. Some of his clients included Carole Lombard and Mr. and Mrs. Fredric March.
Almost 3 months after William's death, his lifelong partner, Jimmie Shields, broken-hearted, committed suicide with an overdose of sleeping pills.
Decorated William Powell's home in 1934, probably on the recommendation of Carole Lombard with whom Powell was still on good terms despite their recent divorce.
Decorated the home of Claudette Colbert in 1934, probably on the recommendation of mutual friend Carole Lombard.
During the early 1930s he leased his renovated house to 'Tallulah Bankhead'.
Following the Great Depression and a tight crackdown on morality, MGM mogul Louis B. Mayer insisted Haines leave his lover and publicly marry a woman. Haines refused and was fired. His relationship with longtime lover, Jimmie Shields, lasted fifty years.
He created an interior decoration at the 1939-1940 Golden Gate International Exposition in San Francisco, California, which boasted a painting by up-and-coming artist Georgia O'Keeffe.
He was an active supporter of the Republican Party and a close friend of Ronald Reagan.
His first clients as an interior decorator were Leila Hyams and her husband Phil Berg, Haines' agent.
In 1930, Haines was the top box-office male star and Joan Crawford the top female.
In 1938, he decorated the homes of Joan Bennett and Constance Bennett. Both houses were designed in the 'French Provincial' style by James Dolena.
Met his partner Jimmie Shields in New York in 1926 during a promotional tour. They lived together until Haines' death.
Proprietor of the interior decoration boutique, Haines-Foster Inc. which he opened in late September, 1930, at 1522 La Brea Avenue in Hollywood.
Redecorated the home of Jack L. Warner and his second wife Ann Boyar in 1937. The house was later bought by David Geffen, who completely renovated the property.
Remained on good terms with producer Irving Thalberg and wife Norma Shearer following his departure from Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.
Under pressure to marry, he proposed to friend and frequent co-star Anita Page during the making of Are You Listening? (1932). She turned him down, and the two remained friends for a long time after.
Was approached, along with fellow silent screen veterans Buster Keaton and Anna Q. Nilsson, to play one of Gloria Swanson's bridge partners in Sunset Blvd. (1950). Swanson herself reportedly asked him to do it. Haines declined and fellow screen veteran H.B. Warner took the part.
Was close friends with Joan Crawford, Carole Lombard and Aileen Pringle long after he ended his acting career.
When asked by reporters if there was a special woman in his life, Haines almost always claim to be hopelessly in love with Polly Moran. The two were close friends in real life but were never romantically involved.
While at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, Haines was able to get stand-in and extra work for his partner Jimmie Shields. Shields, who was attractive and photogenic but apparently had no interest in an acting career, stopped taking bit roles after a year or so but remained a fixture, frequently visiting the set and bringing Haines home-made lunches.