Nearly 25 years after her death, details of Audrey Hepburn’s life are still coming to light.
In an interview with People, the legendary actress’ family opens up about her life behind closed doors — including how she maintained her famously slim figure.
“People think because she was skinny that she had an eating disorder, but it’s not true,” Hepburn’s son, Luca Dotti, says. “She loved Italian food and pasta. She ate a lot of grains, not a lot of meat, and a little bit of everything.”
At 5′ 7″, Hepburn weighed 110 pounds her entire adult life, but according to her family, she never dieted. Instead, Robert Wolders, her partner from 1980 until her 1993 death, says the actress enjoyed exercise, chocolate and even Scotch.
“We’d walk for miles. She could outwalk me,” he reveals. “She had a healthy metabolism, but she was not excessive. She never said, ‘I have to do five miles today.'”
“She didn’t diet. We had brown bread with jam for breakfast, lunch would be chicken or veal or pasta, often with vegetables from the garden, and for dinner we often had soup with chicken and vegetables,” he continued. “She had chocolate after dinner, baking chocolate. She had a finger or two of Scotch at night.”
While Hepburn lived an active lifestyle, her family also says that her slim physique might have been a result of her surviving starvation during World War II. The Breakfast at Tiffany’s star’s British father left her family when she was six. Her mother was a Dutch baroness, and Hepburn barely survived the German occupation of Holland, which began when she was just 11.
“By the end of the war, she was very close to death,” Dotti explains. “She survived by eating nettles and tulip bulbs and drinking water to fill her stomach. She was almost 5′ 6″ and weighed 88 pounds. She had jaundice and edema. She suffered from anemia the rest of her life, possibly as a consequence.”
“She was the same age as Anne Frank and [later] said: “That was the girl who didn’t make it and I did.” Her voice would crack, and her eyes would fill with tears,” Dotti adds.
Hepburn’s family is working with Christie’s to auction some of the actress’ personal collection of dresses, memorabilia and more for the first time in London on Sept. 27. The auction house is hosting a preview in Los Angeles from Sept. 12-14 and an online auction runs Sept. 19-Oct. 3.
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