Audrey Hepburn will forever remain an icon, representing the best of Old Hollywood glamour.
But it seems there’s a lot more to her than being a worldwide fashion icon. The British actress has made history in other ways besides her memorable film roles and standout style.
Discover the most scandalous secrets about the famous star below.
1. Audrey’s Childhood Wasn’t As Glamorous As You Think
Whilst she is the epitome of glamour, as a child Audrey went through many hardships. During WWII, Audrey and her family lost everything. Hepburn lived in a dark cellar for months and survived on just grass and turnips.
2. She Was A Heavy Smoker
We have seen many vintage photographs of Audrey with a cigarette in her hand, but did you know she was actually very addicted to them? The actress smoked more than three packets a day, claiming it helped her calm her nerves.
3. Her Father’s Neglect
Audrey’s dad walked out on her when she was just six-years old. Both her mother and father were members of the British Union of Fascists as well as Nazi sympathisers, which would have destroyed Audrey’s reputation if it was known back then. Hepburn’s rejection of her parent’s is believed to have made people like her much more.
4. Her Real Name Is…
Audrey Kathleen Ruston – but she changed to to Audrey Hepburn in 1940 to avoid capture from the Germans. Her English sounding name would have been very dangerous during the the Nazi occupation.
5. Secret Agent
Hepburn was a member of the Dutch Resistance – she would carry secret messages in her ballet shoes! She also performed in ‘black performances’, which were ballet shows to help raise money for rebels and their underground war against Hitler. She risked her own life for the job.
6. Her First Relationship
The icon’s very first romantic relationship was with a young British businessman named James Hanson. Audrey was even engaged to him with the hope to get married in 1952. After having a spectacular dress made especially for her and a date set, the star called it quits with her first love due to career commitments.
7. Audrey & William
Whilst filming Sabrina, Audrey and actor William Holden began a very passionate relationship. Audrey totally fell for him, and planned to marry him and start a family. Her world was shattered when she found out William already had a wife and wasn’t capable of having children after a vasectomy.
8. She Had A Strong Phobia Of Water
Audrey’s phobia of water was very strong. When she filmed Two for the Road she was thrown into a pool – the fear on her face during filming is 100% genuine. A large film crew were on standby to help her if anything went wrong.
9. Lucky In Love
By 1954, Audrey finally met the man of her dreams. She was introduced to Mel Ferrer at a cocktail party, with the pair then working together on the play Ondine. They married in Bürgenstock, Switzerland in the hope to live happily ever after. But did they?
10. The Big Day
Audrey and Mel didn’t want their wedding day to be swamped by press but it was pretty unavoidable once friends and family were invited. They exchanged vows in private before the big day.
Before giving birth to her only child with Ferrer, Hepburn sadly had two miscarriages. Sean Hepburn Ferrer was born in July, 1960. Audrey’s bad luck wasn’t over after that though, she had two further miscarriages in 1965 and 1967.
12. Jealous Love
Even though Audrey seemed to have finally found the one, Mel caused a lot of issues with how jealous he was of Audrey’s fame and fortune. Their relationship was also filled with rumours of cheating, with Mel having a secret girlfriend and Hepburn being linked to co-star Albert Finney.
13. Big Feet
She was super petite, but wore a size 10 and 1/2 shoe! She didn’t let this get to her though, even wearing ballet shoes that were size 11 so her feet didn’t look squashed.
She is known as one of the most beautiful women of all time, so it’s surprising to discover how insecure she was about her looks. Audrey said her image was ‘a good mixture of defects’. Her son once admitted that she would look in the mirror and say, ‘I don’t know why people see me as beautiful.’
After a rocky road together, Hepburn and Ferrer divorced in 1968. Even though they had their son Sean together, Audrey did her best not to remain in touch with Mel. She reportedly only spoke to him twice more in her lifetime after they divorced.
16. Her Worrying Weight
Audrey never weighed anymore than 110 lbs, leaving many people to believe that she battled anorexia. Yet it was actually her struggles with asthma, jaundice and anaemia that left her on the skinny side. Her bad health caused her to be quite malnourished from a young age. Even so, she managed to survive the German occupation where 22,000 froze or starved to death.
17. Breakfast At Tiffany’s
It was one of her most famous roles, but it was actually meant for Marilyn Monroe. Audrey Hepburn was cast as Holly Golightly by accident!
18. New Love Interest
Once her divorce with Ferrer was done, Audrey met Italian psychiatrist Andrea Dotti when she was travelling in Greece. The two quickly fell in love and were married in January 1969.
19. Diet Secrets
Audrey would detox for a whole month eating just yoghurts and apples and only drinking water for 30 days straight. She also never skipped breakfast.
20. Addition To The Family
Hepburn gave birth to her second child, her first one with Dotti, in February 1970. She was very happy to have baby Luca considering her previous miscarriages. Sadly she suffered another one in 1974.
21. Audrey & Givenchy
The world famous French designer Givenchy became very close friends with Audrey. The designer understood her look completely and worked well with her petite frame. He used her iconic movie roles to showcase his brand.
22. Too Good To Be True
Unfortunately, infidelity hit Hepburn’s second marriage too but mainly on her part. She had an affair with actor Ben Gazzara as well as getting close to Robert Wolders. Dotti and Hepburn’s marriage came to an end in 1982 after 13 years of being together.
23. Horse Accident
It’s believe one of the star’s miscarriages was a result of being thrown from a horse during filming for western movie The Unforgiven. Filming had to be stopped as she was rushed to hospital.
24. She Embraced Growing Old
Despite being deemed a style icon, she didn’t let growing old get to her and instead embraced her age. Audrey enjoyed her separation from Hollywood and focused on spending time with her loved ones.
25. Her Worst Ever Movie
Whilst she had many successful roles, Hepburn’s worst ever movie was Bloodline – she filmed it during her divorce with Dotti, so she wasn’t in the right frame of mind to perform to her best.
26. Mothers Know Best
During Audrey’s marriage to Ferrer, her mother wrote her a series of letters expressing her feelings towards her husband. She even called him a ‘frog faced delinquent with the spindly legs’ and knew her daughter wasn’t happy.
Audrey and Wolders met at a dinner party in the ’80s and had a strong connection from the off-set. Robert Wolders was going through a hard time after his wife died and Hepburn was really unhappy in her marriage with Dotti. Hepburn claims the years she spent with Wolders were the happiest of her life.
28. Chocolate Lover
Even though she was slim, Audrey’s son admitted his mother had a strong love of food. Chocolate was always in arms reach in her house.