ROMY & ALAIN

The love story of the most beautiful couple of the 20th century ends with a love letter

by Marianina Patsa

(Maybe) Great loves are not defined by their duration, but by the after-effect, what they leave engraved in you afterward, as in the case of Alain Delon and Romy Schneider. The two meet for the first time at Orly airport in 1958, before the shooting of their first film, ‘Christine’. Schneider is already famous for her role as Princess Sissy, and she insists on choosing her partner for the film. Through many photographs, he chooses the relatively anonymous Delon. However, it is not love at first sight. Her German strictness and his stormy French temperament often clash during filming. Despite their differences, however, they fall in love. Romy, against her mother’s wishes, moves to France to live with him. They become engaged in Switzerland but never marry. About five years later, Alain begins an illicit relationship with the German actress and singer Nico, who a few months later gives birth to a child. He does not recognize it, while his parents take over his upbringing. But the definitive end of the most beautiful couple of the 20th century is written a year later, when the fickle Alain decides to leave Romy for the French actress Nathalie Barthélémy, breaking up with her not in person, but with a letter. “The most important man in my life is and always will be Alain,” Romy would later admit. “He’s always there when I need a shoulder to cry on… Even today, Alain is the only man I can count on. He always helped me. Only Alain shaped me as a woman. Even though he hurt me a lot when he left me, I matured because of him.” Romy moves forward as does Alain. Nevertheless, they remain friends. And when the two are ten years later on the set of the movie “La Piscine”, their strong bond is not hidden. She has a son with the director Harry Meyen, but he loses him after a tragic accident when he was only 14 years old. And such a loss cannot be overcome. A year later, Romy is found dead in her apartment of a heart attack after consuming too much alcohol and tranquilizers. Upon hearing the news, Alain realizes, albeit slowly, that he has just lost the love of his life. He didn’t go to her funeral. And just as he once parted with her with a letter, so he said goodbye to her: with a love letter that went down in history. “We often asked each other who fell in love with whom first. We would count to three and answer: “No, you. Not me. Together”. Oh my god! How young and happy we were! At the end of the movie I said: “Come live with me in France”, and you already said: “I want to live next to you in France”. Do you remember when? Your family, your parents were angry. And throughout Austria and Germany, I was treated as a usurper, as a kidnapper, accused of stealing the queen. I, a Frenchman didn’t speak a word of German. And you, Puppelé [ss: my little doll], didn’t speak a word of French. “I ask you to forgive me. You know, I won’t be able to protect you from the crowd, this storm that made you afraid. Forgive me. I’ll see you tomorrow and we’re alone. My little doll, I look at you again and again. I want to bawl my eyes out and tell you over and over again that you have never been more beautiful and calm. Get some rest. I am here. I also learned a little German with you. I love you I love you. I love you, my little doll.”

 

Photo by KEYSTONE

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