Brigitte Bardot's Life In 60 Unedited Photos

 Joie De Vivre

Brigitte Ann-Marie Bardot has been so many things in her lifetime. A sex symbol, a fashion icon, and eventually an animal rights activist. The French actress, singer, and model often referred to by her initials, B.B., shocked the world when she walked away from her career at just 39-years old.This early retirement may have been prompted by her exhaustion and a desire to focus on animal rights but it also immortalized her former image. Her onscreen presence is now encased in amber, a separate lifetime from the one in which she exists now.

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After several failed marriages, a battle with depression, and surviving breast cancer, Bardot has more than proven to have a fierce inner strength. She’s lived an extraordinary life and continues to do so with joie de vivre–the exuberant enjoyment of life

Bardot had been seeing Jean-Louis Trintignant since 1956, but their affair ended in 1958, shortly after her marriage fell apart. She then, allegedly suffered some kind of nervous breakdown while staying in a hotel in Italy. She reportedly attempted to commit suicide by overdosing on sleeping pills but these allegations were later denied. 

Who was Brigitte Bardot?

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Brigitte Ann-Marie Bardot, love interest extraordinaire of the '50s and '60s, gained her reputation from appearing in racy European films and leading a defiantly liberated lifestyle. Bardot at the height of her powers was the French siren no man could resist. The public image of Bardot, those photos and posters that have been printed endlessly, represent a role she played to perfection, but there's more to her story. In addition to being a model, movie star, and fashion icon, she's also a successful author and an animal rights activist.

Brigitte Bardot Plays With Her Blonde Locks, 1965

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After several failed marriages, a battle with depression, and surviving breast cancer, Bardot has more than proven to have a fierce inner strength. She’s lived an extraordinary life and continues to do so with joie de vivre–the exuberant enjoyment of life. Continue reading to learn about her ups and downs, how she inspired Bob Dylan, and where she went when she left the entertainment world in the rear view mirror.

Dive Into The Unknown Life Of Bardot

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In order to truly understand the beautiful life of Bardot, we must start at the very beginning. Take the time to learn about her childhood, teens, young adulthood, and even the present day Brigitte...and you will have a new found appreciation for one of the most beautiful humans to ever grace this Earth....                                                                                                                                                                                                                                          Her First Love Was Ballet

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Bardot wanted to be a ballerina early in her life and attended ballet school for three years beginning in 1947. At the invitation her mother's friend, she modeled in a fashion show in 1949 and in the same year she modeled for the fashion magazine Jardin des Modes. Aged 15, she was noticed by a young film director while babysitting. He showed photos of her from an issue of Elle magazine, which she had appeared on the cover, to a director and screenwriter who offered Bardot the opportunity to audition for a role in his upcoming film. Although Bardot got the role, the film was cancelled but made her consider becoming an actress. She started her acting career in 1952. After appearing in 16 routine comedy films that had limited international release, she became world-famous in 1957 after starring in the controversial film And God Created Woman.

Brigitte Bardot was raised in a well-off family

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Brigitte Bardot was born in Paris, on September 28, 1934, to Louis Bardot and Anne-Marie “Toty” Bardot. Bridget grew up in an upper-middle-class, Roman Catholic household. She has a younger sister, Marie-Jeanne, who also grew up to be an actress and writer. Her father had an engineering degree and worked with his father Charles Bardot. Together they ran a family-owned business.

She began dancing at the age of seven

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Brigitte entered the Cours Hattemer, a private school when she was seven, she only attended three days a week, studying from home the rest of the week. She also took dance lessons at Madame Bourget’s dance studio three days a week. She was a dedicated dancer and hard working even at a young age.

Her sister quit dance but Brigitte remained disciplined 

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Brigitte’s little sister, Marie-Jeanne was born 5 May 1938 and was enrolled in the same school as Brigitte. While she possessed the signature Bardot beauty and similar talents as her sister, she wasn’t all that into dance. Marie dropped out of dance lessons in secret so as not to disappoint their mother. Bridget, on the other hand, remained dedicated to her craft and concentrated on ballet.

Bardot was accepted by the Conservatoire de Paris

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All that hard work paid off, in 1947, Bardot was accepted by the Conservatoire de Paris. There she was able to really hone her skills and attended ballet classes by Russian choreographer Boris Knyazev for three years. The doe-eyed beauty also earned the nickname “Bichette” which translates to “Little Doe” from her fellow ballerinas there.

She was given the cover of Elle Magazine at fifteen 

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In 1949, at 14-years-old she was invited to model in a fashion show. Soon after the show, she modeled for the fashion magazine Jardin des Modes. A year later she was a cover girl. At 15-years-old she was on the March 8, 1950, cover of Elle Magazine. Each gig soon led to the next, a domino effect leading her towards inevitable fame began at a very young age.

Director Roger Vadim was instrumental in launching Bardot's acting career

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It was her Elle cover that got her noticed by film director, Roger Vadim. It was Vadim that brought the photo to director and screenwriter Marc Allégret who asked her to audition for “Les lauriers sont coupés.” She got the role but the film was canceled but it was this experience that piqued her interest in acting.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                         Once she started acting it seemed she couldn't stop 
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Le Trou Normand or Crazy for Love was Brigitte Bardot's big film debut back in 1952. She’d been bitten by the acting bug and pumped out seventeen more films in addition to performing in a stage play, L’Invitation au Château, which translates to Invitation to the Castle, between 1952 and 1956.

Bardot married Roger Vadim once she turned eighteen 

Source: Elle

After working side by side and getting to know each other, Bardot married Director Roger Vadim in December of 1952, just after her eighteenth birthday. He played a large role in establishing Bardot's career. He cast her in And God Created Woman in 1956 and it was a hit. Bardot became an international star seemingly overnight. And to think, it was all because he was enchanted by her Elle Magazine cover in 1950.

Her marriage ended after she had multiple affairs

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Sadly, Bardot and Vadim were divorced by 1957 because Bardot had been unfaithful to him. She had affairs with two other men during their marriage but they managed to remain on pretty good terms after their divorce. Vadim was even willing to work with her on a few projects years afterward.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                           She Remarried And Had A Child With Actor Jacques Charrier
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She managed to heal her heartbreak quickly. Within weeks, she began an affair with actor Jacques Charrier. She became pregnant and the two married on June 18, 1959, their baby was born in January of 1960. Bardot had very little contact with her only child after her divorce from Charrier in 1962. Her son Nicolas-Jacques Charrier was raised in the Charrier family.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                       Bardot became a world renown fashion icon 
                                                                                                                                                                   Bardot became a fashion icon, setting trends left and right. It was Bardot who popularized wide neck tops that expose the shoulders, especially in knitted sweaters. Because of this, the cut became known as the "Bardot neckline," after her. Bardot’s early work like Manina (1952) also helped to popularize the once “scandalous” bikini.                                                                                                                                                             Bardot was the embodiment of style, grace, and beauty 
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Bardot was a new kind of blonde bombshell. It was more than just her amazing figure, pouty lips, and stunning facial features. She also had a grace about her, a nonchalance to her style that is not easily replicated (although you often see models try). Bardot’s brand of perfection seemed effortless, comfortable even. 

Even other idols were taken with her 

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Even The Beatles idolized her. You know you’ve got something special when the world's idols are idolizing you. That’s exactly the Bardot possessed, that je ne sais quoi. John Lennon and Paul McCartney both had massive crushes on Brigitte Bardot. John Lennon was the most vocal about his admiration for the pouty blonde. She was his adolescent dream girl that he never grew out of.

She almost shot a film with The Beatles 

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The Beatles and Bardot had intended on shooting a film together. Something similar to A Hard Day’s Night, but it fell through. The admiration for her was so great, Lennon’s first wife Cynthia Powell colored her hair and tried to resemble Bardot to keep John’s interest. George Harrison’s first wife Pattie Boyd naturally resembled Bardot, they could have been sisters

She met John Lennon while he was on acid

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Beatles press agent Derek Taylor ended up introducing Bardot and Lennon. They only met once in person, it was in 1968 at the Mayfair Hotel. Lennon was a nervous wreck and on acid. Needless to say, there weren’t any fireworks between the two, at least none that Bardot could see.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     She was once Bob Dylan's muse
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Bardot was Bob Dylan’s muse for a time as well. In fact, he dedicated the first song he ever wrote to Bardot. In his second album, he mentions her by name in “I Shall Be Free.”

Well, my telephone rang it would not stop
It’s President Kennedy callin’ me up
He said, “My friend, Bob, what do we need to make the country grow?”
I said, “My friend, John, Brigitte Bardot…”

She wanted to make her own kind of music 

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She decided she'd been a muse for others long enough and wanted to try her hand at music as well. She embarked on her own musical career in the 1960s, recording hits with the French vocalist/songwriter/lounge-man Serge Gainsbourg. She also released her own albums like "Brigitte Bardot Sings" and "Special Bardot."

 She retired from the spotlight at the height of her career

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Bardot announced her retirement in 1973. She was approaching 39-years old and had already been in over forty motion pictures, recorded several music albums, and had been dancing and modeling since childhood. She began to devote her time to a cause she believed in and used her fame to promote animal rights.

She shifted her focus to animal rights full-time 

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Bardot established the Foundation for the Protection of Distressed Animals in the mid-1970s. Then she went on to found the Brigitte Bardot Foundation for the Welfare and Protection of Animals in the mid-1980s. Her efforts were the driving force behind the Council of Europe’s ban on the importation of seal fur and the French government’s ban on ivory imports. 

She authored five books 

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Bardot is the author of five books. Her first was released in 1978 and titled Noonoah: Le petit phoque blanc. She released her autobiography, Initales B.B. in 1996. Followed by Le Carré de Pluton in 1999, Un Cri Dans Le Silence in 2003 and in 2006, Pourquoi?

Her third marriage was to German millionaire Gunter Sachs

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Bardot's third marriage was to Gunter Sachs. A German millionaire (and playboy) who once flew over her villa so he could literally shower her with roses. He had hundreds of red roses poured over her home on the French Riviera. It was a whirlwind romance that turned into a marriage that only lasted from 1966 to 1969.

She overdosed on her 49th birthday

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She had many love affairs since her divorce from Gunter Sachs in 1969, a ski instructor, a club owner, a few musicians. She dated writer John Gilmore and actor Warren Beatty for a while but none of them lasted or could cure her depression. It was her 49th birthday, September 28, 1983, when Bardot overdosed on sleeping pills again. She’d gulped them down with red wine and this time had to be rushed to the hospital to get her stomach pumped.

She later admitted to feeling trapped by her image

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When asked in an interview if she grew up thinking she was beautiful, she simply replied, “No, I was ugly.” In later years, Bardot spoke of feeling as if she were a victim of her image, it made her feel imprisoned. She doesn’t regret  at the height of her fame. That lifestyle wasn’t satisfying to her and she’s been doing remarkably well since she started following her own passions.

Bardot finally got her happily ever after

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Bardot got married a fourth time, this time she waited for 23-years after her last divorce. She married Bernard d'Ormale on August 16, 1992, and the two are still together today. The happy couple has been together for over 20-years now, living in La Madrague. The former businessman now devotes much of himself to his wife, they rarely leave their peaceful enclave.

Bardot is a breast cancer survivor

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It wasn't until her early 50s when Brigitte Bardot was diagnosed with breast cancer. She underwent surgery in France and then went on to receive radiation treatment afterward. Thankfully, her treatment was successful. She survived and details of her illness were not highly publicized until after the fact.

Bardot is still an animal rights activist 

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Still the animal rights activist, today Bardot’s life is full of work for her foundation. This entails extensive communication with civil servants, government ministers, foreign heads of state and really anyone who can help further her cause. She also has her loving husband and what basically amounts to a farm to tend to. Bardot’s pets include (but are not limited to) dogs, goats, sheep, pigs, geese, ducks, nearly 50 horses, and around 20 cats.

French actress and singer Brigitte Bardot holding a handheld mirror in her dressing room during the filming of 'Nero's Weekend,' in which Bardot plays Poppaea, at Cinecitta Studios in Rome, Italy, 1956

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In 1956, the world was introduced to a new Bardot, a Bardot with blonde hair, and she certainly made a splash in Nero's Weekend! Brigitte Bardot was the epitome of the glamour and sauciness of the 1950s. With her new blonde locks and her iconic pout, she quickly became the poster child for French New Wave cinema. And let's not forget, that unforgettable scene where she sashayed through a Roman temple with her golden locks on full display, which sent the entire world into a frenzy

Au Revoir... on the Train to Madrid

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Ah, the 1950s, a time when Brigitte Bardot was the darling of the press, basking in the limelight and enjoying her newfound fame. She was everywhere, gracing the front pages of European papers on a daily basis, her stunning looks and captivating personality making her the talk of the town. The paparazzi couldn't get enough of her, and she loved every second of it. She was like a bright, shining star in the world of celebrity, illuminating the screens and pages with her radiant smile and effortless charm. But little did she know, her love affair with the attention wouldn't last forever. But for now, she was living the dream, and the world was loving every moment of 

Brigitte Bardot distributes gifts to technicians present on the set of a film, in France on December 21, 1957.

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In the 1950s, Brigitte Bardot was the queen of European cinema, a movie star so in demand that directors were clamoring to work with her. But despite her A-list status, Bardot was never one to let the fame go to her head. No, she was a true professional, always taking care of the film crews she worked with and making sure they felt appreciated and valued. She was the epitome of grace and humility, and her co-workers couldn't help but adore her. Whether she was charming the camera or cracking jokes on set, Bardot always brought a sense of fun and lightheartedness to the set, making her the life of the party. And even though she was one of the biggest stars of the era, she never lost sight of what was truly important: the people she worked with and the art they were creating together.

Brigitte Bardot at home in Paris, 1952

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In the 1950s, Brigitte Bardot was like a kid in a candy store, giddy with excitement about her newfound celebrity and movie star status. She had initially trained to be a dancer, but it wasn't long before her stunning beauty caught the eye of a modeling scout, leading her down a completely different path. And then, as luck would have it, she started a relationship with the director Roger Vadim, and suddenly, her acting career took off like a rocket. She became a sensation almost overnight, and she was loving every moment of it. She was always smiling, always having fun, and always living life to the fullest. And you couldn't blame her, she was finally getting to live out her wildest dreams, and she was doing it with style and grace. It was a joy to see such a beautiful and talented young woman having the time of her life, and we were all along for the ride.

Brigitte Bardot at a London Hotel during a photocall after arriving in from Paris to start location shooting for her latest movie "Babette Goes to War"

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In 1959, Brigitte Bardot was back on the big screen with a vengeance, taking on the role of Babette in Babette Goes to War. This film was a thrilling adventure about a young Frenchwoman who outsmarted the Germans during World War 2 and was sent back to her home country to help stop the German invasion of England. It was a far cry from her usual lighthearted rom-coms and girly flicks, but Bardot was up for the challenge. But, did you know, this film was not originally meant to be? Bardot was supposed to make a film in Hollywood with Frank Sinatra, but she was not too keen on traveling to America. So, her partner and director Roger Vadim came up with the idea for Babette Goes to War, and the rest, as they say, is history. Bardot proved that she was not just a pretty face, but a versatile and talented actress. And, she got to stay in Europe, what's not to love? This film was a triumph, and it solidified Bardot's place as one of the leading ladies of European cinema.

Brigitte Bardot on the set of "Voulez Vous Danser Avec Moi?" ("Come Dance With Me?") 

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In 1959, Brigitte Bardot starred in the film Come Dance with Me, a lighthearted romp about, you guessed it, dancing! But this film had a special significance in Bardot's career, as it was the first film she actually made some real money from. She demanded a whopping $200,000 for her role, and much to everyone's surprise, she got it! However, despite her impressive salary, the film didn't perform as well as everyone had hoped. In fact, it was such a disappointment that the film's producer, Raoul Lévy, decided to cut ties with Bardot and never work with her again. But, let's not forget the positive side of things. Bardot was getting paid what she deserved, and she was blazing a trail for women in the industry. And who knows, maybe the film's failure was just a bump in the road. After all, Bardot went on to make many more successful films and become one of the most iconic actresses of her time. So, even though Come Dance with Me may have stumbled, Bardot was just getting started on her path to greatness.

The Most Famous Pout In Cinema

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In the 1950s, Brigitte Bardot was making men go weak in the knees with her peroxide blonde hair, pouty lips, and European charm. She was the epitome of hotness and every man wanted to be with her and every woman wanted to be her. Her look was iconic and instantly recognizable, with fans obsessing over her beauty and enigmatic personality. Bardot had that certain je ne sais quoi that made her unforgettable, and it wasn't just her looks. Her oblique personality only added to her allure, leaving everyone guessing and wanting more. She was the ultimate 'bad girl' and men were falling over themselves to get a glimpse of her on the big screen. She was the original 'Blonde Bombs Shell' and her impact on pop culture is still felt to this day. With a flick of her hair and a pout of her lips, Bardot was making hearts race and sending temperatures soaring in the 1950s. Who could resist those big blue eyes and that seductive smile? Not many, that's for sure!

Lying in the Fields of Louveciennes, 1952

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Brigitte Bardot had a strict upbringing in the seven bedroom apartment of her parents in France. She was trained to have impeccable manners and to behave like a proper young lady. Little did they know that this training would only lead to her rebellion later in life. By the late 1940s, Bardot was pursuing her dream of becoming a ballerina. But her life took an unexpected turn when she was spotted by Hélène Gordon-Lazareff, the then-director of Elle and Le Jardin des Modes magazines.

With her stunning beauty, Bardot was hired as a model and quickly became one of the most sought-after models in France. It was the start of her rise to fame, and the rest, as they say, is history. Despite her strict upbringing, Bardot became a symbol of free-spiritedness and rebellion. Who would have thought that a childhood filled with proper manners would lead to such a wild and unconventional lifestyle? But that's the beauty of Bardot, she always defied expectations.

Lights... Camera... Bardot!

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Who knew that a movie about a "bad girl" could cause such a stir? But that's exactly what happened when Brigitte Bardot sashayed onto the screen in And God Created Woman. With her iconic blonde hair and pouty lips, Bardot caused a sensation as the rebellious teenager who turned the town upside down. The film was a hit not just in France, but around the world, and caused enough of a fuss that some theater managers in the US were even arrested for screening it. Talk about a true star turn! But don't worry, Bardot handled all the attention with her impeccable manners – after all, she was raised with strict training in her seven-bedroom apartment in France. Looks like that rebellious streak from her strict upbringing finally got to shine

Blue Steel

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Brigitte Bardot's international stardom is a testament to the power of je ne sais quoi. She may not have graced American screens very often, but she captivated audiences worldwide with just a flick of her iconic bedhead and a pout of her legendary lips. Her allure was so potent that even without Hollywood's golden touch, she still managed to become a household name. Some say it was her French accent that did the trick, while others attribute it to her effortlessly cool style. Either way, Bardot proved that sometimes a little bit of mystery is all it takes to become a true icon of pop culture. So the next time you find yourself daydreaming about the French Riviera and berets, just remember that Brigitte Bardot started it all.

Bardot Never Saw A Camera She Didn't Like

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Ah, the 1960s, a time of mini-skirts, Beatles mania, and Brigitte Bardot fever. The French bombshell was the epitome of sex appeal and had the world at her feet. Everywhere she went, cameras followed, capturing every sultry pout and every seductive gaze. It's no wonder she was one of the most photographed people of the era. But with fame, came the price of constant attention, and as the years passed, Bardot grew tired of the never-ending flashbulbs. She sought refuge from the limelight, shying away from the press and retreating from the public eye. But even today, her legacy lives on, inspiring generations of fashionistas and movie lovers alike

Snowball Fight!

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Brigitte Bardot, the ultimate '60s symbol, was often seen as a mysterious and aloof figure, trapped in the gilded cage of fame. But those who worked with her on set knew the truth - she was far from dour. In fact, Bardot was a free-spirited woman with a playful and whimsical side. On set, she was known for her infectious laughter and carefree spirit, always up for a good joke or prank. But, with her acting career taking up most of her time, the world only got glimpses of her fun-loving personality. It's no wonder she eventually decided to hang up her acting hat and bid adieu to the bright lights of Hollywood. After all, who could blame her for wanting to trade in endless photo shoots and movie sets for a life filled with laughter and leisure? So here's to Bardot, the original free spirit and the ultimate reminder that even the biggest stars have a playful side.

Bardot in Spain

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Brigitte Bardot, the original style icon, was more than just a movie star - she was a fashion force to be reckoned with. In the '60s, when Bardot graced the silver screen, the world couldn't get enough of her effortless style and iconic look. With her tousled hair, bold eyebrows, and playful stripes, Bardot single-handedly defined the chic, French aesthetic that remains just as cool today as it was back then. It's no wonder that fans everywhere wanted to emulate her look, right down to the lipstick she wore. Bardot's influence on fashion was so great that she was referred to as "the most beautiful woman in the world," and her signature style continues to inspire fashion lovers everywhere.

Bardot Was Briefly in Love with the Press, but it Didn't Take Long For Her To Grow Bored With The Cameras

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Brigitte Bardot was a game-changer when it came to French celebrities. Before Bardot, the image of a French star was one of aloof elegance and unwavering poise, but she challenged that notion with her relaxed, spontaneous style. She was approachable, obliging to the paparazzi, and never once came across as intimidating. Bardot was the girl next door, with a touch of glamour, and that's exactly what made her so endearing to her fans. But as her fame grew, so did her frustration with the constant attention, and eventually she became tired of being hounded by the press. Despite this, Bardot remains an icon of French cool, and a trailblazer for a new generation of French celebrities who are just as relaxed and approachable as she was. 

Even an Edge of Her Smile Brightens Up The Day

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Brigitte Bardot was more than just a movie star - she was a style icon. Her effortlessly chic French boho look inspired countless fans to emulate her style and taste, making her one of the most influential figures in fashion history. From her tousled hair and bold eyebrows to her playful stripes and oversized sunglasses, Bardot had a knack for putting together an outfit that always turned heads. And, as if that weren't enough, her star power was such that she could bring a crowd wherever she went. It's no wonder that she was loved in the film industry during her heyday, with her mere presence guaranteed to draw a crowd. So, here's to Bardot, the original French it-girl and the queen of bohemian chic, whose iconic style will always be remembered as one of the greatest in history.

Brigitte Bardot smiles as she talks to reporters to publicize the world premier of "Viva Maria."

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In the early days of her fame, Brigitte Bardot must have loved the attention that came with being a movie star. She was happy to answer questions, pose for photos, and do whatever was asked of her. After all, being the center of attention can be a heady experience, and it's easy to understand why she would have relished the adulation that came with being one of the most famous women in the world.

However, as the years went on and the paparazzi's attention became more and more intense, it's understandable that Bardot began to feel overwhelmed by the experience. The constant barrage of attention can be exhausting, especially when it feels like your every move is being watched and analyzed. For someone who was in the public eye for more than a decade, it's easy to imagine how the experience of being a paparazzi target could be incredibly tiring and draining.

In this way, Bardot's story is a reminder of the complex and often challenging experience of being a celebrity. While the fame and attention can be thrilling and rewarding in many ways, it can also be incredibly isolating and exhausting, especially over time. It's important to remember that behind the dazzling smile and iconic image was a person who was simply trying to navigate the ups and downs of life in the public eye.

Brigitte Bardot at the Nouvelle Vague's Trial Between Directors Roger Vadim and François Truffaut, 1962

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Brigitte Bardot's stunning beauty and relaxed, effortless style made her an international icon and a symbol of cool for generations of fans. From her smoky eye and messy hair to her incandescent attitude and carefree spirit, Bardot captured the essence of what it meant to be young, beautiful, and living life to the fullest in the 1960s.

It's no wonder that people around the world were captivated by her. Her unique look and style were like nothing that had been seen before, and her captivating energy and joie de vivre made her a true original. She was the epitome of glamour and effortless chic, a woman who was comfortable in her own skin and confident in her own beauty.

In many ways, Bardot helped to define what it meant to be a global icon, and her influence continues to be felt today. Whether she was wearing a simple sundress or a sleek designer gown, her smoky eye and casual hair style combined with her incandescent attitude to create a look that was as timeless as it was iconic. Even now, decades later, she remains an inspiration to fashion lovers everywhere, a symbol of a time and place that will always be remembered as one of the most stylish and glamorous eras in history.

Brigitte Bardot and Jacques Charrier in France in December, 1960

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Brigitte Bardot's first marriage to Jacques Charrier was the stuff of Hollywood legend. The two French stars, both at the height of their fame, tied the knot in 1959 and welcomed a son, Nicolas-Jacques Charrier, into the world. However, the flame of their love fizzled out after just four years, leading to their divorce in 1963. Bardot's marriage to Charrier was just the beginning of her tumultuous love life. She would go on to marry three more times, each time searching for the same passion and spark she had initially found with Charrier. But, as Bardot discovered time and time again, relationships often cool down and she would move on, in search of that next flame.

Brigitte Bardot 1966

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In 1966, Brigitte Bardot was reaching the peak of her fame, but also starting to feel the effects of being in the limelight for over a decade. She only appeared in two films that year, both as herself in cameo roles, and it seemed like she was gradually trying to step back from the spotlight. Despite this, she continued to work in the film industry for another seven years, appearing in ten more movies before finally retiring in 1973. Her legendary status as a beauty and fashion icon had been cemented, but it was clear that Bardot was ready for a change and to step away from the constant attention of the paparazzi and fans

Brigitte Bardot tours Hollywood along Sunset Strip

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In 1965, Brigitte Bardot was a true icon of French pop culture, and her role in the film Viva Maria only solidified her status as a leading lady. The film was a unique take on the buddy comedy genre, setting the story in 1907 and featuring Bardot and Jeanne Moreau as two performers who team up to become revolutionary leaders.

Directed by the legendary Louis Malle, Viva Maria was a daring and controversial film that pushed the boundaries of what was acceptable on screen. Despite facing severe censorship in the United States, the film has since developed a cult following, and its impact on the film industry is still felt today. The decision by the United States Supreme Court to strike down the ban on Viva Maria in 1968 was a major step forward in the fight for freedom of speech and artistic expression, and it remains a testament to Bardot's fearless and influential career.

The Gilded Cage, 1967

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Brigitte Bardot was a true icon of French pop culture in the 1960s, and her unique form of fame captivated audiences around the world. While other stars of the era were well-groomed and put together, Bardot was known for her wild and carefree spirit, which made her all the more appealing to audiences. Her films were highly provocative and elicited strong reactions from viewers, leading to a demand for more and more of her.

Despite her immense popularity, however, Bardot couldn't help but feel trapped by the fame that had made her a household name. She was an enigma, a rebel, and a muse all at once, and her legacy as a boundary-pushing artist and icon of feminine beauty continues to captivate people to this day. Her unique form of fame was a product of her time and a reflection of the cultural upheaval that was taking place in the world, and it remains a testament to her enduring impact on the world of entertainment.

Brigitte Bardot at the European council to condemn the seal hunt in Strasbourg, France on January 24th, 1978

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Brigitte Bardot was not just a captivating actress and cultural icon, but she was also a passionate advocate for animal rights. In fact, her love of animals was so strong that she made the decision to retire from acting in 1973 so she could devote her time and energy to animal conservation. In 1978, she attended a meeting of the European Council to discuss the protection of wild animals and seal hunting, showing her unwavering commitment to the cause.

Her visit was a huge success, as the Council ended up making hunting baby seals illegal for the next two years. This was just one of many examples of Bardot's tireless efforts to raise awareness about animal welfare, and she continues to be an inspiration to those who fight for the rights of animals to this day. Her legacy as both a cultural icon and an animal rights advocate is a testament to her versatility and her unwavering commitment to the causes she believes in.

Traveling the World For The Seals

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Brigitte Bardot's international fame has been truly remarkable, persisting even after she retired from filmmaking in 1973. Despite stepping away from the limelight, Bardot remained a beloved figure in the eyes of her fans, who continued to crave more of her even after she had left the film industry behind. However, Bardot channeled her celebrity status in a new direction, using her fame to draw attention to her beloved cause of animal conservation. 

Decades later, her commitment to this cause remains unwavering, and she continues to work tirelessly to raise awareness about the plight of animals and to fight for their rights. Bardot's lasting international fame is a testament to her captivating on-screen presence and her enduring impact on the world of pop culture. But more than that, it's a reflection of her unrelenting passion for the causes she believes in, and her unwavering commitment to using her platform to make a difference in the world.

Relaxing on Set

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Brigitte Bardot's brief time in the spotlight was nothing short of a whirlwind. Thrust into the film world at a young age, she quickly became one of the most recognizable faces of her generation. In a way, the film world was the only life she knew, and her friends were the people she worked with on set. Her first two marriages were to filmmakers, further emphasizing the central role that the film industry played in her life. Despite her relatively short time in the limelight, Bardot left an indelible mark on the world of pop culture, inspiring countless people with her free spirit and her captivating on-screen presence. To this day, her legacy continues to endure, and she remains an enduring symbol of the spirit of the 1960s.

She Quickly Tired of the Public Eye

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At the height of Brigitte Bardot's fame, she was undoubtedly one of the most recognizable figures in the world, but despite her global adoration, she was also incredibly lonely. Being in the center of such an intense and overwhelming whirlwind of fame must have been incredibly isolating, and it's not hard to imagine that she struggled to find someone who could truly understand what it was like to be in the middle of such a storm. Bardot was constantly in the public eye, and her every move was monitored and analyzed by the media, leaving her with very little privacy or room to simply be herself. In a world where fame was equated with success, it must have been incredibly difficult to feel as though she was losing control of her own life. So, while Bardot may have been the subject of countless headlines and adored by millions of fans, it's important to remember that at the heart of it all, she was a person who was just trying to navigate the complexities of fame and find a sense of peace in the midst of an incredibly overwhelming experience.


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By the late 1960s, Brigitte Bardot must have felt like she was living life as a hunted animal. The constant barrage of attention and scrutiny from the media, paparazzi, and fans alike had taken its toll on her, and it's not hard to imagine that she felt like she was constantly being pursued. This kind of relentless pressure and invasion of privacy can be incredibly damaging, and it's not surprising that Bardot felt like she needed to escape from it all. She said:

The majority of great actresses met tragic ends. When I said goodbye to this job, to this life of opulence and glitter, images and adoration, the quest to be desired, I was saving my life.

Her decision to retire from acting in 1973 can be seen as a form of self-preservation, a way to step back from the public eye and reclaim some sense of control over her own life. The fact that she was able to walk away from the film industry at the height of her fame speaks to her strength and determination, and it's a testament to the impact that fame can have on a person's well-being. So, while Bardot may have been one of the most iconic figures of the 1960s, it's important to remember that behind the glamour and fame was a person who was just trying to find some peace and stability in the midst of an incredibly overwhelming experience.

Has Bed Head Ever Looked Better?


Brigitte Bardot's hair was truly iconic. With its rumpled texture and distinctive bangs, it epitomized the free-spirited, carefree attitude of the 1960s. Despite its disheveled appearance, there was something undeniably polished about Bardot's hair, as if she had the help of a professional hair and makeup person at all times. Her hair became synonymous with her on-screen persona, embodying her spirit of independence and her rejection of traditional beauty standards. To this day, Bardot's hair continues to inspire countless people, serving as a reminder of the revolutionary spirit of the 1960s and the enduring power of personal style and self-expression. Whether it's tousled, teased, or perfectly coiffed, Brigitte Bardot's hair will always be remembered as an iconic symbol of the era in which she rose to fame.

Brigitte Bardot, 1997

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Brigitte Bardot's decision to retire from acting before the age of 40 was a bold move for someone who was at the height of her fame and success. However, it speaks to her individuality and her refusal to be defined by her on-screen image. Now in her 70s, Bardot has remained true to herself, rejecting the temptation to undergo plastic surgery or any other cosmetic procedures in an attempt to look young. Instead, she has embraced her aging and has remained as "real" as possible, focusing her energy on her lifelong passion for animal rights. It's almost as if she's become a completely different person than the international superstar of the 1960s, choosing to be defined by her activism and her commitment to making a difference in the world rather than her on-screen persona. Brigitte Bardot's journey from actress to animal rights advocate is a testament to her resilience, her individuality, and her unwavering commitment to the causes she believes in.




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