How Belmondo’s second wife saved his life

On April 9, the legend of French cinema could have turned 90 years old.

«A hero-lover is not your vocation. With such appearance on the stage there is nothing to do, except to be stuck in the role of a servant, and even that in the second cast. And definitely should not be in front of the camera kissing a woman «- with such scathing words examiner Dramatic Arts Conservatory in Paris, cut off Jean-Paul Belmondo way to the big screen. Or rather, he thought he cut off: the future sex symbol of the era has always got what he wanted. And who he wanted.

The Italians called Jean-Paul a ugly man. Offensive nickname he earned because of his broken nose. The defect Belmondo got in competitions in boxing: and along with the sharp features it «booked» for the actor roles of crude gangsters and mafiosi. But the whole world suddenly fell in love with this manly chin and sensual lips, elevating Jean-Paul on a pedestal of the most beautiful men in the world.

However, this title he had all his life to share with Alain Delon: inseparable friends, eternal rivals and heavyweights in the world of French cinema together embodied what women wanted, want and will be all the heart desired — the right intellectual beauty, reckless hotness and imperfect passion. The embodiment of the latter was Jean-Paul Belmondo.

The great actor passed away at the age of 89, leaving behind legendary movies and mind-breaking love stories. Not all of them were experienced on screen: the movie hottie broke hearts with almost as much regularity as he received awards for his acting.

The hero-lover of dubious looks adored and hated by the most beautiful blondes in the world, and he admitted: «Without women, I am nothing!»

Amazingly, but his iconic films and roles in the theater somehow anticipated or described the difficult personal life of an actor. Judge for yourself: «My friend is a thief», «Funny womanizing,» » «Healer in willy-nilly,» «The Taming of the Shrew», «A dancer of fortune,» «Be beautiful and keep quiet» — all this was in the life of Belmondo.

«My Friend the Thief,» for example, is definitely the story of Belgian model Barbara Gandolfi. When the actor had an affair with the beauty, he was 75 years old, and he was sure that by that age he knew a lot about women. But even on such an experienced trapper came a predator: Barbara robbed the account of Jean-Paul and disappeared, taking with her two hundred thousand euros.

Maria Carlos Sotomayor was the embodiment of «Be beautiful and keep quiet» in the fate of the film macho. Belmondo adored her, and the 20-year-old loved shopping, parties and other men. Undoubtedly, she was beautiful, but it came with an irresistible appearance and irascibility. On parting with the actor Maria gave Jean-Paul a terrier puppy, wishing to find happiness «at least with her.»

It’s funny, of course, but that’s how it happened: Belmondo met his future wife thanks to his dog. The actor was walking his pet and noticed an attractive blonde with the same terrier in her arms, came over to meet her, fell in love and surrendered to her charms. We’re talking about Natty Tardivel — she became his «Healer at Will.»

Despite the difference of 30 years, Natty behaved wisely. The young woman did not attend social gatherings, where she opened a gate under the patronage of Belmondo. After rehearsals, she took the actor home and pleased him with a home-cooked meal. With her the legend of French cinema would have realized its «happily ever after», if not for the terrible misfortune that befell his family.

In 1994, Jean-Paul’s eldest daughter Patricia died in a fire. Bereaved father could not cope with grief: acquaintances noticed how sharply he aged, became unsociable, began to complain about his health. Belmondo fell ill with the diagnosis «impairment of cerebral circulation,» and in 2001 on the island of Corsica experienced a stroke.

«Belmondo can’t die. Everything will be all right,» I said to myself as I was being taken by helicopter to the hospital,» the actor recounted. «But I had no idea what kind of pain I was going to go through.»

The right side of the movie star’s body was paralyzed. Rehabilitation was long and painful, and when the actor began to improve, he slipped in the bathroom and broke his femoral neck. A limping Belmondo later appeared to reporters in full health and boasted:

«I was saved by exercise. Every day I spend hours doing gymnastics, spinning dozens of kilometers on a stationary bicycle, and even beat the punching bag.»

But people close to the actor knew that he was nursed diligently Natty. Tardivel did not leave the bedside of her chosen one, the eyes guessed what he needed: for some time Jean-Paul had to re-learn how to speak. When the speech returned, the actor immediately proposed to Natti: she has already proved that she will be with him in sickness and in health.

Tardivel gave birth to a daughter, Stella. When the baby was born, Belmondo was 70 years old.

The actor adored the girl.

«My youngest daughter is a gift at the end of the years. Experience the joy of fatherhood in 70 years — not the same as becoming a father in 20, «- he shared.

Stella was like her father in character: she rarely recognized authority and from childhood she achieved what she wanted. Stella was a comfort to Belmondo, who had suffered a stroke.

Alas, the relationship with the mother of the youngest child ended soon after the birth of the heiress. Jean-Paul noticed Natti’s infatuation with a peer and let the young wife go. Later there will be quarrels , the court proceedings for custody of a common daughter, the offense … But in recent years, Tardivel and Belmondo made up.

An interesting detail: almost all Jean-Paul’s romances lasted seven years, including his marriage to Natty. It is unlikely that she will be mentioned first in a series of love victories of the film legend: his stories with Carlos Sotomayor and «Bond Girl» Ursula Andress are much more fascinating and passionate. But those who were close to the couple knew: she was the only woman in Jean-Paul’s fate who did not take several tumultuous years in his biography, but gave him years of life.

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