Ali MacGraw was one of Hollywood's most popular actresses. Her marriage to Steve McQueen was one of the biggest regrets of her life as it left her penniless and homeless.
Ali McGraw is one of Hollywood's greatest stars, and even in her old age, she continues to be loved by her fans, which recall some of her biggest works in movies like "Goodbye Columbus" and "Love Story."
Career-wise, MacGraw was exceptional, but she did not seem to have found similar luck in her personal life. After her first marriage ended, MacGraw thought her second was the way out. Unfortunately, she soon found out that she couldn't have been farther from the truth.
American actors Steve McQueen (1930 - 1980) (as Doc McCoy) and Ali MacGraw (as Carol McCoy) lie in bed covered by money in a scene from the film "The Getaway" [left]. Steve MacQueen and Ali MacGraw in the movie, "Guet-apens" [right]. | Photo: Getty Images
MACGRAW'S EARLY LIFE
MacGraw was born in Bedford Village, New York, to commercial artist parents. Her childhood was marked by tension and a lack of self-esteem, partly due to her father's alcoholism. Despite the struggles she faced, MacGraw was a stunning beauty difficult to ignore.
Her lovely look aided her career, and it did not take time for her to become a superstar in Hollywood. Although she rose to fame swiftly in the early years of her career, she faded from view as quickly as she came into it.
While many of her followers speculated why this happened, and sources claimed she left the spotlight to care for her son Josh, her many personal struggles proved to be the genuine cause.
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.| Photo: Getty Images
ALI MACGRAW'S CAREER
To get away from her problems at home with her abusive father, MacGraw accepted a modeling job with Diana Vreeland. A few years later, she landed her first little role in "A Lovely Way To Die," followed by a lead role in "Goodbye Columbus."
She met Robert Evans, a movie producer who later cast her as Jenny in "Love Story" while modeling in college. After visiting the movie director, the pair fell in love and tied the knot in 1969.
Actress Ali MacGraw, wearing a knitted jumper, as she supports her chin on her hand, 6th February 1985.| Photo: Getty Images
MEETING STEVE MCQUEEN
MacGraw moved fast through the ranks of her roles, and by 1971, she had established herself as Hollywood's top female actor. Her stardom began to draw attention, and soon, McQueen came to her house to ask if she would join him on the set of "Getaway" as a co-star.
MacGraw admits to being enamored by the actor's charms the first time she met him, and the two quickly began a romance that would turn her life around for the worst.
Their intense attraction led to an affair, and MacGraw moved out of her house into McQueen's Malibu home not long after. Their relationship was full of passion and a level of love she'd never experienced before.
Ali MacGraw, US actress, in a publicity still for the film 'Love Story', USA, circa 1970.| Photo: Getty Images
MCQUEEN'S RED FLAGS
The 82-year-old described McQueen as a conscientious and unique individual, but that was only on the surface level. Instead, he faced his demons from his upbringing, which she was unaware of.
When he was a child, McQueen's father abandoned him, which haunted him throughout his adult years. His mother also abandoned him and sent him to a troublesome children's school when he was 14. The incident left a scar in McQueen's heart, and he never trusted women again.
He made MacGraw sign a prenuptial agreement, which she quickly realized meant danger. According to reports, McQueen wanted MacGraw to sign the agreement, guaranteeing that she would not be entitled to a penny in the event of a divorce.
American actress, model, author, and animal rights activist Ali MacGraw, UK, 18th June 1979.| Photo: Getty Images
McQueen was later characterized as possessive and jealous as he could not stand his wife's success. Despite her being a celebrity, he despised her leaving the house for work. Their marriage quickly became a roadblock in her career.
QUITTING HER CAREER
McQueen wanted MacGraw to cease working as part of their marital agreement. Due to this, MacGraw, obedient to her husband's wishes, stayed at home to raise their sons.
Although MacGraw admits their marriage had its ups and downs, she claims she felt suffocated at some point. McQueen erupted in rage if he saw her staring at another man, but his gaze was always drawn elsewhere.
American actor Steve McQueen (1930 - 1980). circa 1960 | Photo: Getty Images
McQueen was reportedly unfaithful in their marriage, but that did not seem to matter to him. Instead, he focused on the infidelity he believed was going on with his wife. At some point, he traced her to a location she was having a photoshoot, believing it was an affair.
After staying in a marriage that was not working for five years, MacGraw's fame had fallen greatly with her finances. Consequently, she accepted a call from her manager to feature in "Convoy." When she told McQueen, he requested a divorce.
Their relationship swiftly fell apart, and they divorced in 1977. McQueen died of cancer three years later, and MacGraw claimed she was always frightened McQueen would leave her throughout their marriage. She blamed her naive heart for the disaster she suffered.
Actress Ali Macgraw arrives to the after party of "Festen" at the Tavern On The Green on April 9, 2006 | Photo: Getty Images
Due to the prenup she signed, MacGraw left the marriage with nothing and was broke and jobless. The split marked the beginning of a dark period in her life, realizing she had sacrificed her career and fame for nothing.
CRISIS AND HEALING
MacGraw hit rock bottom after many failed marriages and a lackluster acting career, and she turned to alcohol to mask her anguish. She sought refuge at a Betty Ford facility, where she confessed to being male dependent and an alcoholic.
She received intense counseling to help her overcome her addiction, and she left Hollywood in 1994 to start a tranquil life in Santa Fe.
Actress Ali MacGraw poses for a portrait in 1982 | Photo: Getty Images
She later turned to authorship, penning down her experiences and struggles in "Moving Pictures," an autobiography for which she was awarded the title of Best Selling Author.
MacGraw says she lived in the past for a long time, always speculating about what could have been. However, now she's more focused than ever on her future.