'Love Story' Star Ali MacGraw Sacrificed Her Career for Steve McQueen – Inside Their Tumultuous Romance

Ali MacGraw thought she'd found the love of her life when she married her second husband, Robert Evans. But the sight of Steve McQueen turned both her love and career life upside down. 

Ali MacGraw, 79, graced our screens when she appeared in leading roles of "Goodbye Columbus" and "Love Story." She seemed to be making all the right moves career-wise, but her personal life was in shambles.

Ali MacGraw was born to commercial artist parents in Bedford Village, New York. She grew up surrounded by tension and a lack of self-esteem, which stemmed partly from her father being an alcoholic.

Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw in a scene from the 1972 movie "The Getaway." | Source: Getty Images

Steve McQueen and Ali McGraw in a scene from the 1972 movie "The Getaway." | Source: Getty Images

FIRST MODELING AND ACTING GIG

To escape her frustrations at home, MacGraw took on a modeling gig under Diana Vreeland and, a few years later, got her first small role in "A Lovely Way To Die," then starred in "Goodbye Columbus" soon after.

While modeling in college, she'd met one Robert Evans, who would later cast her in "Love Story" as Jenny. MacGraw visited Evans' house in Beverly Hills to discuss her role, and she never left. In 1969, they got married.

US actress Ali MacGraw poses during the photocall prior to the 2020 Chanel Croisiere (Cruise) fashion show at the Grand Palais in Paris on May 3, 2019.| Source: Getty Images

US actress Ali MacGraw poses during the photocall prior to the 2020 Chanel Croisiere (Cruise) fashion show at the Grand Palais in Paris on May 3, 2019.| Source: Getty Images

MacGraw quickly rose in her roles, and by 1971, she was already Hollywood's top female actress. That same year, McQueen came to her home to ask her if she'd work with him on "Getaway" as his costar. She says of their first meeting:

“I looked in those blue eyes, and my knees started knocking. I became obsessed."

Actress Ali MacGraw, wearing a knitted jumper, as she supports her chin on her hand, 6th February 1985.| Source: Getty Images

Actress Ali MacGraw, wearing a knitted jumper, as she supports her chin on her hand, 6th February 1985.| Source: Getty Images

MACGRAW AND MCQUEEN'S AFFAIR

Their instant connection saw them start an affair, and not long after, MacGraw left her matrimonial home and moved in with McQueen in his home in Malibu. Their life was filled with romance and a kind of love she'd never known. 

She describes McQueen to have been a principled and original person. What she did not know, however, was that he was also battling his own demons stemming from his childhood. His father had abandoned them when he was a baby.

Ali MacGraw, US actress, in a publicity still for the film 'Love Story', USA, circa 1970. The 1970 romance, directed bby Arthur Hiller, starred MacGraw as 'Jenny Cavalleri'.| Source: Getty Images

Ali MacGraw, US actress, in a publicity still for the film 'Love Story', USA, circa 1970. The 1970 romance, directed bby Arthur Hiller, starred MacGraw as 'Jenny Cavalleri'.| Source: Getty Images

At 14, his mother sent him parking and off to school for troubled kids. And since then, he'd never trusted women. She would soon realize this as he made her sign a prenup.

She soon sought solace in a Betty Ford clinic, where she admitted to being male and alcohol dependent.

American actress, model, author, and animal rights activist Ali MacGraw, UK, 18th June 1979.| Source: Getty Images

American actress, model, author, and animal rights activist Ali MacGraw, UK, 18th June 1979.| Source: Getty Images

QUITTING HER CAREER FOR LOVE

Among his demands of their marriage, McQueen also wanted MacGraw to stop working. MacGraw, being in love as she was, complied and stayed home to raise their sons. 

Even though MacGraw admits that their marriage had its good moments, she says she started feeling stifled. McQueen would explode from anger if he saw her looking at another man, yet his eyes always wandered.

Actress Ali Macgraw arrives to the after party of "Festen" at the Tavern On The Green on April 9, 2006 in New York City. ( Source: Getty Images

Actress Ali Macgraw arrives to the after party of "Festen" at the Tavern On The Green on April 9, 2006 in New York City. ( Source: Getty Images

Their marriage quickly took a nosedive, and in 1977, they split. Three years later, McQueen succumbed to cancer. MacGraw says throughout her marriage, she was always afraid that McQueen would leave her. She, however, admits to her faults, saying

“I made choices. I fell in love too easily and I didn’t do any homework.”

SUFFERING ADDICTION AND EVENTUALLY FINDING HER WAY

With several failed marriages and a non-existent acting career, MacGraw reached her lowest, and she started using alcohol to numb her pain. She soon sought solace in a Betty Ford clinic, where she admitted to being male and alcohol dependent.

Actress Ali MacGraw poses for a portrait in 1982 in Los Angeles, California.| Source: Getty Images

Actress Ali MacGraw poses for a portrait in 1982 in Los Angeles, California.| Source: Getty Images

While there, she underwent intensive therapy to curb her addiction, and in 1994, she exited Hollywood and began a quiet life in Santa Fe. She is the proud author of  "Moving Pictures," an autobiography that has seen her win the Best Selling Author title.

MacGraw says for a long time, she lived in her past, always fantasizing about what should have been, but she's now, more than anything, focused on her future. 

Related posts
‘Dynasty’ Star Linda Evans Opens Up About Starring in Her First Film in Decades After Health Struggles
Getty Images
Hollywood Aug 14, 2021
‘Dynasty’ Star Linda Evans Opens Up About Starring in Her First Film in Decades After Health Struggles
My Mother Made Me Run Away from Her Funeral – Story of the Day
shutterstock.com
Inspirational Stories Aug 11, 2021
My Mother Made Me Run Away from Her Funeral – Story of the Day
Woman Humiliates Her Husband's Daughter from First Marriage, Gets Taught a Lesson — Story of the Day
Shutterstock.com
Inspirational Stories Jul 06, 2021
Woman Humiliates Her Husband's Daughter from First Marriage, Gets Taught a Lesson — Story of the Day
Story of the Day: Man Sends His Daughter to an Orphanage Because His New Wife Does Not Like Her
pexels.com
Inspirational Stories May 06, 2021
Story of the Day: Man Sends His Daughter to an Orphanage Because His New Wife Does Not Like Her