May 10, 2020
Swedish actress Britt Ekland opened up about her four-year marriage to the late British actor and comedian, Peter Sellers, in a new documentary.
"He obviously suffered from or was bipolar, severely bipolar. He was a very tormented soul who should have had more help."
Sellers was a widely adored comic genius who created some of the most admired characters of the 20th-century comic industry. Despite his international stardom and fan base, he was a distraught man in private ― often difficult, domineering and jealous.
Britt recalled that Peter would pick the outfits she wore and make sure that they suited his taste. She added that he often threatened her with divorce "every Friday night," which would be followed with an apology lunch or present, by the next Monday.
According to the actress, Peter could have used help and medical treatment to combat his mental instability, but he did not, because he was so valuable to the studios.
Britt arrived in California, and her husband ordered that she was thoroughly examined by a doctor.
Three weeks after the pair met at The Dorchester in London, Sellers called her two days after their first date and informed her that they would be getting married amid their whirlwind romance.
Their first meeting had been equally astonishing. Sellers saw a photograph of Britt in a newspaper and decided that he was interested in her. When he realized they were staying at the same hotel, he sent his valet. Ekland said:
"I wrapped a towel round me and rushed to open the door… This very tall gentleman said, 'I'm Mr Sellers's valet.' Would I like to come to his suite?"
Britt, who had only been in London to be launched as 20th Century Fox's new star, quickly found herself in a rather tricky situation with a man whom she had first admired but slowly started to see differently.
Sellers and Ekland married in a whirlwind romance and just as their marriage happened, their honeymoon was quick. On returning, Ekland was photographed in a fur coat, which she said her new husband had decided she was going to wear as he always did.
The relationship became so toxic that Sellers even caused her to start losing jobs. After their marriage, she went on to star in "Guns at Batasi." One day, she narrated, Sellers called her to ask if she could take a day off from work, and when she could not, he had her fetched from the set.
Britt arrived in California, and her husband ordered that she was thoroughly examined by a doctor claiming that she was ill. She was not. The actress was eventually fired from her role in the movie, and her career started to suffer.
Peter lived a life built around his prosperous career. Although he was a comedian, his grandson, Will, confessed that happiness eluded the man who died in 1980 at the age of 54, due to a heart attack.