"He used to be excessively jealous and paranoid, and even had numerous affairs," Ali MacGraw shared about King of Cool Steve McQueen.
Ali MacGraw won the title of top female box office performer in the world in 1972. However, being the romantic that she was, she sacrificed all for her love, Steve McQueen, dubbed the "King of Cool", even though their romance was "chemical," as she described in PEOPLE magazine. He was an envious man who forced her to give up her career.
Insecurity made her “trim and cover” who she really was “to make myself desirable, because he was the most desirable man on the planet, and I would think, I can’t possibly be desirable enough for this creature—every woman in the restaurant is looking at him!”
Ali MacGraw and Steve McQueen on location in Jamaica during production of Papillon (1973) pic.twitter.com/4ioCZ0Bsps— David Rush (@dav1drush) June 29, 2022
The couple got married in 1973. Their life, in the beginning, was blissful, per Sydney Morning Herald. “We had a peaceful, incredible, real life,” she said, recalling the most romantic gesture to her, per Vanity Fair. “Our chemistry was extraordinary, unbelievable. A trip during my birthday. I came back to my room in the motel, and there were daisies and white roses everywhere. He loved daisies; there were hundreds and hundreds of them.”
In 1978, the couple split apart. The prenuptial agreement they signed ensured that MacGraw was left with nothing after their divorce. Following the divorce, MacGraw talked about the marriage. McQueen was severely wounded and possessed a complex personality that included rage, darkness, mystery, and a childlike sensitivity. He had terrible mood swings, she revealed.
Big Steve McQueen fan but my admiration for him isn't the same after learning he was verbally and physically abuse to Ali Macgraw. The slap he gives her in the Getaway was real and the look of shock on her face was real. Method acting or abusive behavior? Macgraw claims latter.— R. Marshall Smith ☮️🎃 🍀⏳ (@peacepumpkinpic) March 24, 2021
McQueen was intimidated by the people she met, but she pushed him. “But there isn’t one person in the room who can’t wait to meet you!” she said. Once before Mengers’s party for Princess Margaret, MacGraw said, “He got high on coke. He knew it was bad for him. He got these catastrophic depressions, I mean the scariest. I said, ‘Why in the world do you do this? The level of misery you set yourself up for!’ He said, ‘I can’t move. I’m so upset.’ He had to be with his pack or he was terrified. It was heartbreaking.”
"He used to be excessively jealous and paranoid, and even had numerous affairs," MacGraw shared. “He had a suite in the Beverly Wilshire Hotel, where he would go when we fought. It was a place I never went to, which was stupid. I should have gone in, opened the door, and kicked the shit out of whoever was in bed with him.”
Ali MacGraw with Steve McQueen during the production of Papillon, 1973. pic.twitter.com/R2vX16Gmj7— TCMFanatics (@Zsavooz) August 22, 2021
She revealed to PEOPLE that she doesn't feel like a victim in any way but only wishes for one thing. “I wish we had both grown old sober,” she reflected. “There were wonderful days and dreadful days.”
She went through difficult times including almost financial ruin and alcohol dependence. However, she got right back up and worked on herself. MacGraw, now living a peaceful life in Santa Fe, has been sober for 31 years and recovering. The actress, through many of her business ventures, is now a millionaire and a grandmother through her son Josh Evans from her second marriage to Robert Evans. “I used to re-write the past, fantasize about the future,” she said. “But now, I believe in living fully to the very best of my ability. I feel very blessed.”
Happy 84th Birthday Ali MacGraw! Born April 1, 1939... 15 roles including A Lovely Way to Die (Debut) followed by Goodbye Columbus and then of course Love Story (Best Actress Nomination) #botd pic.twitter.com/TLw5h76VZi— Classic Movie Hub (@ClassicMovieHub) April 1, 2023
Cover Image Source: (L) Getty Images | Julien M. Hekimian ; (R) Getty Images | Hulton Archive