The wedding might be over, but that hasn’t stopped their fans from talking about the marriage of Nick Jonas and Priyanka Chopra — one of Hollywood’s most fascinating couples! We know we love them, but how did this unlikely pair even find each other? What’s their story?
These two A-listers had long and winding roads to stardom. Yet, somehow, even though they grew up worlds apart, their paths ultimately led them into each other’s arms. From barbershop musicals to amateur beauty pageants, this dream couple truly has a love story for the ages…
Priyanka Chopra was born in Jamshedpur, India, but as her parents were both army physicians, young Priyanka spent her early years traveling all over the country.
Though moving from place to place can be difficult for a child trying to make friends, Priyanka has nothing but positive things to say about her upbringing. Traveling around so often allowed her to get familiar with the entire country.
But things changed in a big way when the Chopras made their move to the United States. Priyanka was just a teenager, and, although this is when she began taking classes in theater and dance, she found being a young Indian girl in Massachusettes wasn’t easy.
Priyanka was relentlessly bullied throughout her high school years for being Indian. She recently said in an interview, “I was a gawky kid, had low self-esteem, and white marks on my legs… But I was damn hard-working.”
Because things were made difficult for her, Priyanka went back to India for her senior year of high school where she got her first taste of fame. She entered and won a local beauty pageant, which immediately earned her so much attention her parents put bars on her window to keep her safe!
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After all the attention she gained from her local beauty pageant victory, Priyanka entered into the Miss World Pageant in 2000. The young girl who was bullied just a year before was now competing in an international beauty competition!
And when the judges announced the winner? Well, wouldn’t you believe it, it was Priyanka Chopra! Priyanka was on the rise and couldn’t be stopped. So where was Nick during all of this?
Well, given their 10-year age difference, Nick was just 8-years-old when Priyanka was across the world getting crowned a beauty queen. But just because Nick was young, doesn’t mean he wasn’t already paving his own road for success.
Nick’s career kicked off when he was just 6-years-old. He was singing in a barbershop while his mom was getting her hair cut when a stranger noticed his talent and recommended him to a professional talent agency.
From there, it didn’t take long for the youngest Jonas to break out as a bright little star. By age 7 he was performing on Broadway and making quite a name for himself playing roles from Tiny Tim to Chip Potts and Gavroche. He even released an original Christmas Song on a Broadway Stars Album.
It turned out people really loved Nick’s music — his Christmas song was a major success. So much so, it caught the attention of Columbia Records, who signed him on for a full solo album. Unfortunately, when “Nicholas Jonas” came out in 2005 to a limited release, it was a mega flop.
Across the world, Miss World herself was finding her way into the ranks of the elite. Because of her striking beauty, Priyanka started to get several film offers in India. Like Nick’s first album, her first two films were total flops, but she soon struck gold with a super successful movie on her third try.
Priyanka had officially made it to Bollywood, and they loved her there! For the next 13 years, the actress appeared in dozens of Indian movies (and had a number of steamy romances with some of the biggest hunks in Indian cinema). Life was good for Priyanka, but she couldn’t ignore the feeling that there was still something else out there.
Back in the U.S., Nick, trying to regroup from his failed first album, got an idea from his record company to, well, group! Turns out Nick wasn’t the only talent in the family and The Jonas Brothers were born!
They had a slow start, performing as opening acts for Kelly Clarkson, The Backstreet Boys, and Jesse McCartney. The trio didn’t really have their breakout moment until Hollywood Records scooped them up. There, they actually got some proper promotion, and that was all they needed.
In 2015 Priyanka finally got the answer to that “something else” she was looking for: Hollywood. ABC Studios offered the actress a talent holding contract she couldn’t refuse, and after over a decade in Bollywood, Priyanka was ready to try Hollywood on for size.
Soon enough the star was portraying FBI Agent Alex Parrish on the TV series Quantico. Priyanka was an instant hit in Hollywood, scoring interviews with Vogue, but things turned sour when Quantico’s plotline took an unfavorable twist.
When Quantico suddenly portrayed the terrorists in the show as Indians, Priyanka received some major backlash from her fans back in India. They felt betrayed, and Priyanka was devastated. She took to social media to write a formal apology and remind her fans she is a proud Indian.
Meanwhile, being a Jonas Brother had been great for Nick. It catapulted him and his brothers into fame won him the hearts of nearly every teenage girl in America and set him up to take his next big musical step, which was exactly what he felt he needed to do.
Nick wanted to be taken more seriously as an artist, so he and The Brothers parted ways — amicably, of course. They are still family after all. Nick released his first two solo albums and suffice it say, he had a bright solo future!
With a blissful marriage and hot solo career, this Jo Bro is on cloud nine. But things haven’t always been so life-affirming for the musical heartthrob.
Nick has confidently, and publicly, admitted his past downfalls, and there ain’t nothin’ wrong with that. During his roughest moments, he knew he just had to hold on.
It was 2005 when the three New Jerseyan brothers — 17-year-old Kevin, 15-year-old Joe, and 12-year-old Nick — were signed to Columbia Records after Nick was overheard singing like an angel in a barbershop.
Originally, only Nick was offered a record deal, but when executives heard a demo track entitled “Please Be Mine,” which featured the talented trio, the Jonas Brothers (almost named “Sons of Jonas”) were a done deal. Nick wouldn’t let anyone separate his pack.
The brotherly boy band impressively started touring with the likes of Kelly Clarkson, The Cheetah Girls, and the Backstreet Boys. For a bunch of kids from “Joi-zee,” their career as pop-rock hunks was burnin’ up in the best possible way.
The band got its first dose of wide recognition on none other than the tween-pop-career-producing network, Disney Channel. Although Disney opened plenty o’ doors for the brothers, not every door led to triumph.
Nick and his brothers conceived their partnership with Disney in 2006, which is when they also released their first album, It’s About Time. The Jo Bros were slowly climbing the ladder to fame — but they were sure to slip soon.
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During this era they recorded a cover of the Disney tune “Poor Unfortunate Souls” and wrote the theme song to Disney Channel’s animated series American Dragon: Jake Long. Disney’s hold on the boys however, was just getting started.
Nick and his siblings were crushed when It’s About Time didn’t slay record sales, which led to a turning point that changed the course of their career. When you’re stuck at a fork in the road, a choice must be made.
Columbia Records dropped the brothers when their debut album barely made any noise in terms of sales, which caused Disney to take the boys under its wing even further, luring them into signing with Disney Hollywood Records in 2007.
Things started booming for the boys, as they had Disney covers and original music videos air on Disney Channel. They gained a mind-blowing fan base of mostly tween girls in the process, with Nick being one of the standout flames. But this was only 2008; Nick’s whirlwind of a journey hadn’t met its match just yet.
At this point, the blood oath of sorts the Jo Bros made with Disney was working in their favor. They embarked on their first official tour, which was filmed for the Disney Channel docuseries Jonas Brothers: Living the Dream. But as their success grew, so did Disney’s influence on them.
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They pumped out more albums, graced the cover of Rolling Stone, and released The Jonas Brothers: The 3D Concert Experience feature film. Despite all of these ambitious operatic endeavors, 2009 became the year that Disney would change the boys’ path, sucking Nick’s sense of freedom dry.
Lo and behold, Nick and the boys began their acting career, having memorable roles in Disney Channel’s TV movie musical, Camp Rock, which went on to have a sequel, alongside singer Demi Lovato.
Nick started feeling as though he was losing himself as an artist, but that didn’t stop Disney Channel from coming out with the scripted, somewhat-autobiographical comedy series JONAS in 2009.
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JONAS was canceled after its second season, which was a relief, because life with Disney was taking a toll on the brothers, Nick especially. As time went on, he could no longer hide how he felt about the direction their career was headed in…
In 2019’s Amazon Prime Video Jonas Brothers documentary, Chasing Happiness, Nick revealed that JONAS, specifically season 2, was the band’s biggest regret to date. Ouch.
“We shouldn’t have done that. It really stunted our growth, you know? I feel like it was just a bad move,” Nick said, and that the boys “couldn’t evolve.” So what would become of Nick’s legacy?
Thankfully, nothing could hold Nick’s talent and ruthless appetite back, not even a lousy kid’s sitcom. After the Jonas Brothers officially split in 2013, Nick released two successful solo studio albums!
But the brothers weren’t done either. In 2019, the Jo Bros formally rekindled the band on their own terms, partially due to the emotional influence of filming the Amazon documentary. Oh, and Nick specifically? Well, he’s got us in chains for his love and we’re not the only ones…
In 2017, Nick’s and Priyanka’s paths collided at the Vanity Fair Oscar Party. When he first spotted her, he dropped down on one knee and said, “You’re real. Where have you been all my life?” Talk about a memorable first impression!
Though their first meeting was brief the couple started talking over texts. Weeks later, as they were both separately invited to the Met Gala by Ralph Lauren, it only made sense that they would go together. And it was unanimously acknowledged, they looked great together!
The couple that all of Hollywood was Twitterpated over were officially dating by May of 2018, and just a couple months later in June, Nick popped the question! It was undeniable; these two just couldn’t get enough of each other.
The wedding was held in Mumbai, India, in December of 2018, in what was widely noted as a beautiful merging of two cultures. The wedding even included a Mehendi ceremony, a traditional Indian ritual where the bride gets elaborate henna applied to her hands and feet.
As the world watches these newlyweds, everyone is wondering: will Nick break into the Bollywood film scene? Will Priyanka, or Mrs. Jonas, rather, star in a music video? We’ll just have to wait and see. For now, they’re joining the ranks of Hollywood’s most glamorous couples, some of whom you might not even know are together!
Jason Momoa and Lisa Bonet: Living everyone’s dream, Jason married his biggest childhood crush, Denise Huxtable. Previously, Lisa was half of an equally dreamy couple with Lenny Kravitz, but she and Jason had the undeniable connection to make their family work.
Clark Gable and Carole Lombard: In 1938, Gable was crazy for Lombard, shelling out half a million dollars to meet his estranged wife’s divorce terms. Moving forward, they purchased a ranch to build their lives together, but Lombard died tragically in a plane crash four years later.
George and Amal Alamuddin Clooney: Everyone pegged George Clooney as a lifelong bachelor. That is until he met international law and human rights lawyer Amal Alamuddin. He always boasts in interviews how she’s the brains of their operation.
Vogue / Sam Jones / Courtesy of Amal Clooney
Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh: These lookers spotted each other at a studio publicity party and that was that. The attraction was instant. Their acting careers were boosted by their high-profile connection. Plus, they gave the world Jamie Lee Curtis!
Orlando Bloom and Katy Perry: It seems like Orlando and Katy were designed in an attractive people lab to be aesthetically pleasing partners. They speak the same love language — mushy social media posts — and announced in 2020 that they’re expecting.
Instagram / Orlando Bloom
David Bowie and Iman: Rockstars and models are a classic combination. Usually, those pairings don’t result in deep love and mutual respect. All Bowie’s bravado fell away on meeting Iman, his wife of 23 years; he was overcome with nerves.
Instagram / David Bowie
Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams: Prior to his death at age 28, Heath fell for Michelle while filming Brokeback Mountain. They split months before he died, but Michelle was quoted as saying their future is one of her “favorite things to imagine.”
IMDB / Brokeback Mountain / Focus Features
Matthew McConaughey and Camila Alves: It’s no secret how Matthew feels about his wife; he’s given many McConaughey-style interviews full of adjectives and fugazi detailing his fire for her. Everyone got a peek into their relationship during his Oscar acceptance when they held each other crying.
US Magazine / Twitter / Camila Alves
Sarah Paulson and Holland Taylor: Age is but a number for these two; their 32 year age gap works just fine. In fact, Paulson and Taylor, who started dating in 2015, credit their differences to giving them perspective on what matters most in their relationship.
Instagram / Sarah Paulson
Sofia Vergara and Joe Manganiello: In an interview with People magazine, Joe described his ideal woman as curvy, feisty, gorgeous, and he specifically mentioned Sofia Vergara. Turns out he was secretly dating her for two months at that point.
Instagram / Sofia Vergara
Barbra Streisand and James Brolin: It takes a real man to cater to a fabulous diva — which is why Babs knew James Brolin was the one. As she said of her husband, “My fella likes to hear the truth, which is unusual.”
Jack Nicholson and Anjelica Huston: Marred by cheating and disrespect, Jack and Anjelica weren’t soulmates. Still, the bad boy actor and hauntingly beautiful model were intertwined for nearly two decades, and Nicholson considers her his greatest love.
Vanity Fair / Harry Benson
Emily Blunt and John Krasinski: These lovebirds are often thought of as a package deal. It’s in their wheelhouse to charm interviewers with playful banter and their obvious admiration for each other’s talents. Sorry to the Jim and Pam fans, John only has eyes for Emily.
Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem: Maintaining privacy is a top priority for these married actors who moved from the friend zone while filming Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Javier explained their marriage methodology simply: “Penélope and I, we have to protect the ‘us.'”
The Sun / Vicky Cristina Barcelona / Mediapro
Angela Bassett and Courtney B. Vance: It all began at Yale, where Bassett and Vance met studying drama, just as friends. Fourteen years later, they both were single and rekindled the chemistry they had back in school.
Instagram / Angela Bassett
Ava Gardner and Frank Sinatra: When Frank fixed those trademark blue eyes on Ava, nothing else mattered, not even their spouses. While their romance wasn’t lasting, these two had a passionate few years that cemented their beautiful couple status.
Flickr / IISG
Sarah Michelle and Gellar Freddie Prinze Jr: Eat your heart out, Fred and Daphne! After 18 years of marriage, these two are still just as smitten as they were in the early 2000s, and Sarah says it’s because they just genuinely like each other.
Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed / Mosaic Media Group
Richard Burton and Elizabeth Taylor: Their union was dubbed the “marriage of the century.” The first real tabloid couple, Elizabeth and Richard shared the screen on 11 films, so everyone had a good window into their chemistry.
Neil Patrick Harris and David Burtka: “We are, in a way, very codependent. He’s my lifeline, in an amazing way. Without him, I can’t breathe.” That’s how David explained their relationship dynamic. You can tell they’re attached at the hip.
Instagram / Neil Patrick Harris
Ryan Gosling and Eva Mendes: There’s not much to know about these two, since they keep a notoriously low profile, only adding to their mystique. Eva locked down debatably one of the most fawned over men in history, and she’s equally as breathtaking in her own right.
IMDB / The Place Beyond The Pines / Sidney Kimmel Entertainment
Blake Lively and Ryan Reynolds: Apart from their above-average appearances, Blake and Ryan make a beautiful couple mostly because of their best friendship. People relate to their down to earth habit of poking fun at each other on social media and at every other opportunity.
Instagram / Blake Lively
Gabrielle Union and Dwyane Wade: Besides their common approach and understanding as parents, the actress and NBA great really seem to have the hots for one another. Anytime they’re out in the public eye, they can’t help but grin and show their chemistry.
Twitter / Gabrielle Union
Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher: On That ’70s Show, their characters were stereotypically lusty teens. It took six more years for their sparks to fly in real life. They slipped seamlessly from friends with benefits to married with children.
MTV / That ’70s Show / The Carsey-Werner Company
Bruce Willis and Demi Moore: Now a shining example of an amicable divorce, Bruce and Demi were once the “It” couple of the ’90s. Demi went on to marry another notable hunk, Ashton Kutcher, but it was with Bruce that she seemed more perfectly matched.
John Legend and Chrissy Teigen: People’s Sexiest of 2019, John Legend tried to break up with his then-girlfriend Chrissy due to busy schedules. She absolutely refused. Turns out, Chrissy knew best, and they’ve become the most transparent down to earth couple in showbusiness.
All Recipes / Clarkson Potter Publishers / Aubrey Pick
Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart: During the four years they were an item, the Twilight stars inspired a heartthrob pop culture shift. They were the Beatles of young movie stars in the modern age, complete with sobbing fans. Today, they are firm friends.
Jennifer Aniston and Justin Theroux: At last, Jen found the love she deserved. Actor Justin Theroux seemed like the right one. They had all the same famous friends, and he adored her, so their coupling provided a decent breezy pallet cleanser to her previous drama.
Popsugar / Terry Richardson
Ellen Degeneres and Portia De Rossi: On the heels of a messy public breakup with Anne Heche, Ellen found her soulmate in Portia. Nowadays, they’re the most famous lesbian couple in history and make everyone teary with their touching tributes to one other.
Instagram / Portia de Rossi
Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn: Their 35-year relationship is still going strong, setting an example for unmarried couples everywhere. They’ve cracked the code on aging gracefully and maintaining the magic of keeping each other interested.
David and Victoria Beckham: Posh and Becks are one of the only couples to grow and thrive through the changing millennium. Together they’ve strolled elegantly through career changes and four children while managing to somehow look more attractive.
Instagram / Victoria Beckham
Will Smith and Jada Pinkett: Speculation about their relationship has bubbled for years over whether they’re open or not. They both acknowledge their marriage as “unconventional,” leaving that interpretation ambiguous. Whatever their agreement is, it works. They are very much obsessed 20 years running!
Instagram / Will Smith
Prince William and Kate Middleton: It’s the classic fairytale of a handsome young prince falling for a fair authentic “commoner” during his taste of college freedom. Kate came from a wealthy and respectable family, so there was no scandal. The people rooted for their easy courtship.
Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall: Setting the standard for glamour and sensuality, Bogie and Bacall were a pairing unlike any other. The master actor was in it for the long haul, fully confident he’d found his soulmate in his fourth wife — “the look,” as she was commonly known.
Flickr / The Comedy Store
Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez: It’s hard to remember life before Bennifer. Their images papered every grocery store checkout between 2002 and 2004. No, they weren’t meant to last, but they were the kind of young fun beautiful couple that everybody couldn’t get enough of.
GQ / Gigli / Columbia Pictures
Beyonce and Jay-Z: No couple on the planet has the power or influence of Hova and Queen Bey. While they endured a public dissection of Jay’s infidelity, they stuck together, reaching new levels of wealth, glamour, and harmony.
Rolling Stone / Robin Harper
Prince Harry and Meghan Markle: Any royal romance is tied with a knot of scrutiny, that’s just part of the deal. What sets Harry and Meghan apart is how they chose their relationship over the crown, and nothing is more attractive than a bold declaration of love.
Flickr / Tone’o
Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie: This is what happens when the two hottest people alive costar in romantic action comedy — scandalousness. Their union busted up the most popular couple in the world. No one could blame them though, looking like that.
US Weekly / Mr. and Mrs.Smith / 20th Century Fox
Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt: It was the break up heard round the world. We grieved, questioned, and ultimately doubted love entirely. Brad Pitt left his wife for his costar Angelina Jolie and the supreme romantic rivalry was born. In the end, Jen emerged beloved.
Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward: “I have steak at home. Why should I go out for hamburger?” That famous line was uttered by Paul Newman about his bride of over 50 years Joanne Woodward. Their classic passionate romance went the distance.
20th Century Fox
While Hollywood relationships are often short-lived, Paul Newman and Joanne Woodward beat the odds with a 50-year marriage that’s served as a blueprint for beautiful relationships. In fact, their love story could be a Hollywood movie itself.
Photographer Sid Avery
See, in 1953, before Paul was the hunky Hollywood legend that made ladies swoon, he struggled to find work. He had just three acting credits to his name, one of which was the ever-prestigious “occasional cast member” on The Aldrich Family.
But soon, his luck changed, as the World War II veteran and Yale School of Drama student landed a role on a Broadway play called Picnic. Though he lobbied for the lead part, the director ultimately cast him as a secondary character.
Unbeknownst to Paul, casting directors selected 23-year-old Joanne Woodward as an understudy for that very same play. By this point, the two had never encountered each other, but that was about to change.
On a muggy Manhattan afternoon in August of ’53, Joanne was drenched in sweat while walking the streets. Hoping to beat the heat, she stepped into her manager’s air-conditioned office — and saw the man who’d change her life.
Ever the romantic, Joanne’s first thought upon seeing Paul’s chiseled face and baby blue eyes was “that’s disgusting.” She described him as a guy from “an ice cream soda ad.” Fake. Engineered to be perfect.
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On the other hand, Paul, like most men in the presence of a pretty girl, felt his heart beat just a little bit faster and heard a choir of angels sing. Compared to her, he felt “dull,” and after their meeting, he couldn’t shake her from his mind.
This was a pretty big problem, considering Paul was married to Jackie Witte, and they had, at the time, one daughter together. He remained committed to her while developing a working relationship with Joanne, his Picnic castmate.
Soon, he and Joanne went their separate ways, keeping their eyes on the other as their careers grew. Both earned more roles in theater, as well as more consistent roles in television. In 1957, though, they could no longer keep their distance.
It was then both were cast in Martin Ritt’s The Long, Hot Summer, the story of a conman charming a wealthy Mississippi family. Paul Newman earned the lead role as Ben Quick, while Joanne snagged the part of his romantic interest, Clara Varner.
While their on-screen chemistry wowed audiences, their off-screen chemistry was legendary. As the two became romantically linked, it became clear they were meant to be with one another — but a problem remained.
By now, Paul and Jackie Witte had three kids together; his connection with Joanne, however, was too strong. Taking a risk in the name of love, he asked his wife for a divorce. She granted the request.
On January 28, 1958, Paul Newman and Joanna Woodward wed in a Las Vegas Hotel. While incredibly happy, Paul never overcame the guilt he felt for ditching Jackie. Still, the next few years proved he made the right decision.
In 1961, the now-married couple starred together in Paris Blues; in 1968, Paul directed Joanne in Rachel, Rachel, her performance in which earned her Academy Award number two (of four). Paul especially hit his stride.
He starred in classic after classic: Cool Hand Luke in 1967. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid in 1969. And while their careers took off, behind the scenes, they worked hard to create a family.
By 1965, the couple had three daughters of their own, giving Paul a total of six kids. But most impressive of all was that anyone who spotted them together in public saw two people who genuinely loved each other.
At a wedding, for instance, one attendee recalled seeing Joanne sitting against a tree trunk, with Paul’s head resting in her lap. Occasionally, Paul reached up and touched her face “as he savored the music.” Romantic moments like this had a profound effect.
Their marriage lasted fifty years — an incredible feat for anyone, let alone those in the Hollywood spotlight. How had they made it happen? Well, the two answered with different, but equally poignant answers.
When asked why he stuck by Joanne’s side for so long when he could’ve easily had any woman, Paul — in classic Paul Newman fashion — said, “I have steak at home. Why should I go out for a hamburger?” Joanne was a bit more eloquent.
“Sexiness wears thin after a while and beauty fades,” she said, “but to be married to a man who makes you laugh every day? Ah, now that’s a real treat.” Each appreciative of the other, they nurtured their affection in youthful ways.
When they craved alone time, for instance, the couple retreated to their home in Connecticut, often visiting a treehouse they’d built together. Their love could withstand anything. Well, almost anything.
On September 28th, 2009, Paul Newman passed away in the bed he’d shared for so long with Joanne. With his wife at his side, moments before his final breath, he said his final words: “It’s been a privilege to be here.”
Joanna was devastated, and so were all Paul’s fans and close friends. After his death, his co-star on Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, Robert Redford, said: “I have lost a real friend.” He knew he owed his career to Paul.
See, though he comes across as the quintessential movie star, Robert Redford’s life has been anything but a leisurely stroll down the red carpet — and it wouldn’t have been the same without Paul Newman.
Looking back on his experiences, Robert admitted, “People think it’s been easy for me. That’s hard to live with. It’s so untrue.” His troubles started when he contracted polio as a child. He fortunately recovered but still suffered from a more sinister condition.
Robert was a lonely child. He had a stepbrother named William, but no other siblings, and his dad spent many hours away from home as a milkman. The boy did have a father figure, however — for a time.
His Uncle David mentored Robert and taught him how to throw a football, but then he was viciously snatched away by a U.S. Army draft. While serving during the tail end of World War II, David died in an ambush.
From then on, Robert became a young man without any clear direction. He barely skated by in school, though he showed talent in sports and the arts. But his family worried that he lacked any discipline and ambition. In college, he didn’t exactly prove them wrong.
He enrolled at the University of Colorado Boulder, where he gained a reputation as a heavy drinker. It was all fun and games until the university kicked him out. Realizing he needed to find himself, Robert traveled through Europe in search of a purpose.
Soon, he followed his passions for art and took acting classes in New York. Producers recognized him as a young talent, and Robert found work on Broadway and in small screen roles in the late 1950s. But that wasn’t all he found.
The performer discovered love in the form of Lola Van Wagenen. Though she was in college at the time, Lola dropped out to marry Robert. Both were over the moon when they had a son named Scott in 1959. Then a freak accident dashed their hopes.
Just two months after Scott’s birth, Robert awoke to find the infant had passed away in a rare case of crib death. It devastated Robert and Lola. Nevertheless, the aspiring star had to keep on a happy face if he ever wanted to make it.
As the ’60s came around, Robert put his all into becoming a serious film actor. He appeared alongside Natalie Wood in Inside Daisy Clover, and in spite of positive reviews, he felt the role was a lightweight one. Robert needed a real breakout part.
That moment arrived in the 1969 smash Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, for which Paul Newman personally went to bat to get Robert cast as his co-star. The Western established Redford as a leading man with endless opportunities ahead of him.
Although Robert enjoyed his newfound movie star status, his real pleasure in life was still his family. He and Lola welcomed three more children — Shauna, Jamie, and Amy — into the world. And they were his whole world.
In fact, many of Robert’s favorite memories on set were showing his kids the secrets of show business. They got to take in the lights and cameras, not to mention hang out with many of the biggest stars on the planet.
Meanwhile, Robert’s professional success kept growing by leaps and bounds. He evolved into an Oscar-winning director, founded the Sundance Film Festival, and campaigned for environmental causes. But his bright smile was still covering up personal strife.
For years, Robert feared another son would be taken away from him. Jamie endured a barrage of gastrointestinal conditions throughout his childhood. Only a grueling series of operations, including two liver transplants, saved the boy.
Even so, the most shocking blow of Robert’s life concerned his beloved daughter Shauna. She followed in her father’s footsteps and attended the University of Boulder, though she hid the fact that she was related to a film legend.
Of course, her good looks alone earned her plenty of male admirers, but none matched up to Sid Wells. He stole Shauna’s heart and many expected them to get married someday. Tragically, that day never came around.
In 1983, Sid was shot to death in his dorm room. Police never solved the case, making it even harder for Robert to comfort Shauna. “The hardest thing is when your children have problems,” he reflected. “There have been so many hits on our family no one knows about.”
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In spite of the hardships and tragedies, the proud papa kept the Redfords together. And he continued making films all the while, showing off impressive energy for a man past 80. After debuting 2018’s The Old Man & The Gun, however, he made a big decision.
The iconic artist announced that he would step away from acting for good. With so many children and grandchildren looking to him for support, Robert wanted to prioritize what was most important.