7 Men Who Broke Audrey Hepburn’s Heart Before She Found True Love Later in Life

In 1980, Hollywood icon Audrey Hepburn met the last great love of her life: Dutch businessman and actor Robert Wolders. And though Hepburn’s love life had had it’s fair share of ups and downs, heartbreaks and disappointments before that fateful meet-up, Hepburn and Wolders connection stood the test of time.

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“We were ready for each other,” Wolders told People in 2017 of their near-instant chemistry. “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.”

Hepburn and Wolders, who stayed together until her death in 1993, never got engaged or married, a decision both of them were happy with. “I felt she had two unhappy marriages, it was wonderful the way it was,” Wolders remembered. “When Audrey would be asked, she’d also say, ‘Why mess with a good thing?’”

So, in honor of Hepburn and Wolders’ once-in-a-lifetime connection, join us in looking back at the Breakfast at Tiffany’s star’s love life, from her failed marriages to her rumored affairs.

  • James Hanson

    Image Credit: Bettmann Archive

    In 1952, Hepburn was set to walk down the aisle to James Hanson, a British industralist. Before tying the knot, however, Hepburn called off their engagement due to her busy acting schedule and long distance. 

    “It is with a heavy heart I am writing to tell you James Hanson and I are no longer engaged,” Hepburn wrote in a personal letter to a friend at the time, per Vanity Fair. “For a year I thought it possible to make our combined lives and careers work out . . . It is all very unhappy making but I am sure it is the only sensible decision.”

  • President John F. Kennedy

    Image Credit: NY Daily News Archive via Getty Images

    In Christopher Andersen’s biography Jack and Jackie: Portrait of an American Marriage, former White House secretary Mary Gallagher revealed Hepburn had an affair with former President John F. Kennedy in 1953 while he was married to Jackie Kennedy. “Audrey had this intoxicating laugh – pretty much what you saw on screen – but she also had this very sexy, very naughty side that the public never saw,” Gallagher remembered, per Daily Mail

    “They managed to keep their affair out of the press, and the fact that it was clandestine only made it that much more intense, she added. 

  • William Holden

    Image Credit: Donaldson Collection/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images

    Soon affter her marriage with Hanson, Hepburn reportedly lived a deep love affair with her Sabrina co-star William Holden.

    “Audrey was the love of my life,” Holden reportedly said years later, per Daily Mail. “Sometimes at night, I’d get a portable record player and we’d drive out to the country to a little clearing we’d found. We’d put on ballet music. Some of our most magic moments were there.” 

    The two broke things off in 1954 when Holden revealed he had gotten a vasectomy per his ex-wife’s request and could no longer have children. Per Daily Mail, Hepburn felt betrayed and broke up with him on the spot. 

  • Mel Ferrer

    Image Credit: Bettmann Archive

    Soon after her split with Holden, Hepburn met Mel Ferrer, a fellow actor and film director, and they fell madly in love. The two, who co-starred in movies including Ondine and War and Peace, exchanged their vows in an intimate ceremony in Switzerland on Sept 25, 1954. Six years later, after suffering a miscarriage and a stillbirth, Hepburn and Ferrer welcomed their first child together: Sean Hepburn Ferrer.

    Hepburn and Ferrer, despite the rumors of infidelity, then had a long 14-year relationship and called it quits in Nov, 1968.

  • Robert Anderson

    Image Credit: Courtesy Everett Collection

    Speaking of infedelities in Hepburn and Ferrer’s marriage, the actress was rumored to have lived an affair with her The Nun’s Story co-star Robert Anderson. According to Audrey and Bill author Edward Z. Epstein, per Harper’s Bazaar, Hepburn began this romance as a way to get back at Ferrer’s extramarital dalliances. 

  • Andrea Dotti

    Image Credit: Daily Express/Pictorial Parade/Archive Photos/Getty Images

    Shortly after her first divorce, Hepburn got married for the second time with Italian psychiatrist-neurologist Andrea Dotti. Six months after the newlyweds settled in Rome, Italy, Hepburn announced she was pregnant again. She welcomed her second kid, Luca Dotti, in Feb 1970. 

    Throughout their 12-year marriage, Dotti and Hepburn had a series of ups and downs. In addition to suffering another miscarriage, rumors of Dotti’s affairs with younger women were constant, per Harper’s Bazaar. In 1982, the pair got divorced. 

  • Ben Gazzara

    Image Credit: Bettmann Archive

    Prior to her split with Dotti, Hepburn was also rumored to have lived a short affair with actor and Bloodline co-star Ben Gazzara. “Audrey was unhappy in her marriage and hurting,” Gazzara reportedly said, per Harper’s Bazaar. “I was unhappy in my marriage and hurting, and we gave solace to each other and we fell in love.”

    After their movie was over, however, the two went their separate ways. 

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