EntertainmentBrigitte Bardot's tumultuous journey to motherhood: Revealing the secret torment of a French icon

Brigitte Bardot's tumultuous journey to motherhood: Revealing the secret torment of a French icon

Brigitte Bardot made her film debut as an 18-year-old.
Brigitte Bardot made her film debut as an 18-year-old.
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2:44 AM EST, February 1, 2024, updated: 4:34 AM EST, March 7, 2024

Brigitte Bardot was the leading star of French cinema in the 1950s and 1960s, surpassing even Jeanne Moreau, and she was globally recognized in pop culture. Her fame wasn't solely tied to her film roles but expanded to her portrayal as a sensual, emancipated woman. She led the way in the sexual revolution of the flower power period and challenged what might be termed in Polish contexts as "Mrs. Dulski's morality".

"She wasn't [...] amoral. She wasn't seeking to shock anyone. She demanded nothing. She ate when she was hungry and regarded sex as merely normal. She judged no one. She acted as she pleased and therein lay the problem" - Simone de Beauvoir opined in her essay "The Lolita Syndrome".

An act of public disdain

Those who championed "traditional order" often insulted the actress and even resorted to open aggression.

- "During the filming in a shopping arcade in Lausanne for 'Private Life,' a well-dressed woman approached Bardot and spat in her face, accusing her of 'destroying our bourgeois society!' The incident was later recalled by director Louis Malle in an interview with 'The Independent'."

"I wanted to liberate myself from my body, from my child"

Brigitte Bardot never aspired to motherhood. She had two abortions, one of which nearly claimed her life. When she became pregnant with Jacques Charrier, her second husband, her resolve to end the pregnancy remained. She found a doctor in France willing to perform the procedure, only for him to eventually refuse - possibly influenced by the fact that abortion was illegal in France until 1974. Although she could have traveled to Switzerland, her husband disapproved. Fearful that she might insist, he held her captive in their home.

"I wanted to liberate myself, in every sense of the word. Yet, I was trapped - by my fame, by Jacques possessiveness, by my body, and by the child within me" - Bardot revealed in her autobiography "Initials B.B. Memoirs".

"A woman should not be compelled to bear a child"

While confined, a despondent Bardot physically abused herself, undertaking desperate measures to "liberate herself from this growth", until she ultimately attempted suicide by consuming all available pills. She survived the incident. Once recovered, Charrier reacted with violence and then ensured that the birth took place at home. On January 11, their son Nicolas was born.

"I couldn't care less about it. I don't want to see him!" she shouted. "I would prefer bringing a puppy into the world instead of a little man. A woman shouldn't be coerced into bearing a child, even if she may grow to love it later on. Childbirth should be a joyful experience for her" - she recounted in her book.

"It was like a tumor feeding off me"

Bardot declined to breastfeed her son. A few weeks later, she surrendered him to her husband and his family for upbringing, subsequently renouncing her parental rights.

"I shunned my child. The baby felt like a tumor that was consuming me, an unwanted burden I had to bear, and I anxiously awaited the moment when I could finally rid myself of it" - she recollected with piercing honesty.

Brigitte Bardot had rare encounters with Nicolas, usually during holidays or vacations, and never cultivated a mother-son bond.

"Nicolas carries a deep wound within him. Our relationship lacks intimacy and mutual understanding. [...] I take full responsibility for the severance of our connection. I needed a maternal figure myself, not someone depending on me" - the actress confessed.

Bardot and Charrier: Parent and Child

Brigitte Bardot's son contested his mother's publication of "Initials B.B. Memoirs", demanding the removal of the chapter discussing her motherhood, but failed. He only received nominal monetary compensation.

The 89-year-old actress enjoys her retirement ever since ceasing her acting career in 1973. For over half a century, she has been a prominent animal rights activist.

Nicolas Charrier resides in Norway, where he has established his own family and works in the field of computer technology.

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