The Breakfast at Tiffany's star was 49 when she met the love of her life with whom she stayed till she died at the age of 63.
Editor's note: This article was originally published on June 11, 2020. It has since been updated.
What destiny has in store for us is always a surprise. Whether it's heartbreak or true love, nobody knows. Iconic actress Audrey Hepburn had endured heartbreak twice due to failed marriages to actor Mel Ferrer and psychiatrist Andrea Dotti before finding lasting love. Nobody can force love into our lives, it will come to us only when our hearts are open to it, which is what happened with the humanitarian and actress.
At the age of 49, she fell in love with Dutch-born businessman Robert Wolders, and the couple stayed together until her death though they were never married. When two mature adults, who are committed to each other, decide to be together their bond is enough proof of love. The couple was together for 13 years before she passed away in 1993 at the age of 63 from a rare cancer.
“We were ready for each other,” Wolders told People. “At the time in our lives that we met, we had both made our mistakes. If chance would have had it that we would have met at an earlier stage, we might not have had the discoveries together that we did have and found those things in life together that were valuable to us at a later point in life when we were both more mature," he added. He passed away last year at the age of 81, according to the Hollywood Reporter.
The couple met when Audrey's marriage to her second husband was on its last leg. She was preparing for a divorce when she met Robert, who became her longtime companion, and an equal partner in her philanthropic work. It seems that they understood each other at a deep level and that is all that mattered to them. Both had been part of the glitzy world and preferred the simpler life.
The Breakfast at Tiffany's star was not just about her iconic beauty, for which she is obviously famous. The waifish thin brunette had been part of many blockbusters but what people often forgot about her was that she was a survivor of World War II. The deep traumas faced at a young age and as a volunteer of the Dutch resistance had left a mark on her to do something for the people.
The first time they met, Robert was grieving for his first wife, who had passed away. “After I’d met her, a mutual friend prompted me to ask her out for dinner, but she said she had a night shoot,” he explains. “I thought it was her gentle way of rejecting me. The next day she invited me for a drink at the Pierre hotel, which turned into a three-hour talk. At one point she said, ‘Do you mind if I order some pasta?’ After many long phone conversations, we realized we were meant to be together. She asked me if she could take time to prepare [her son] Luca and Andrea, her soon-to-be-ex-husband. When she saw him, Andrea came over and said, ‘You look very beautiful, you must be in love,’ and she said, ‘I am'," he told People.
After the first meeting, they stayed in touch and six months later, they announced that they were deeply in love, according to This Is Glamorous. The couple never felt the need to bind themselves in marriage and just wanted to be with each other. Committed relationships come in all shapes and forms, but all that matters is how strong the bond is.
"I have a wonderful man in my life, I have my Robert," Audrey said in a 1989 interview with Barbara Walters, according to Hollywood Reporter. "We have so much in common, he's so good to me, he takes great care of me. He gives me that marvelous feeling that I'm protected and that I'm the most important thing to him," said she.
She was asked often why she doesn't marry Robert but she didn't want to "mess a good thing".
“I felt she had two unhappy marriages, it was wonderful the way it was,” he says. “When Audrey would be asked, she’d also say, ‘Why mess with a good thing?’ I remember her saying to one interviewer it’s more romantic this way because it’s not another piece of paper, but out of loyalty to each other that binds us together. Had we been younger and wanted to have children, it might have been different, but that’s just not the case," he said.
Even if they were not married on paper, she saw themselves as man and wife. “She viewed us as being married. There were times in order to avoid confusion that she would present me as, ‘My husband, Rob,’ but never as, ‘my partner,’ or, ‘my life partner,’ or anything like that. What always pleased me or always sounded so nice was, ‘Have you met my Rob?’ Or, ‘This is my Rob'," he added.
Their time together came to an end on January 20, 1993 when after being together with Rob for 13 years she left the world. Rob had since been part of the Audrey Hepburn Children's Fund until his death in 2018. We can only hope that they met in afterlife and had more time to spend with each other.