Actress Sophie Loren has had a career spanning decades. She has achieved immeasurable success and has also been in the spotlight for her eventful marriage with Carlo Ponti.
Before Sophie Lauren made her Hollywood debut, she was an aspiring model, and she met her husband, Carlo Ponti, at a pageant. In her memoir, "Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My Life," she recalls meeting and getting to know Ponti.
Ponti initially sent a note to Loren asking her to join the pageant. She initially wasn't interested, but after her friends' insistence and a second invitation, she partook with the realization that she had attracted the producer's attention.
Hollywood actress, Sophia Loren stars in "Arabesque" in 1965, Italian producer Carlo Ponti fondly hugging his wife, Italian actress Sophia Loren on the set of the film "The Condemned of Altona," Germany, 1962. | Source: Getty Images
Ponti and Loren had their first conversation at his invitation and contradicted her expectations by remaining businesslike. She recalled that that's how he won over her trust. The pair found common ground in that they both came from Signorina, Italy.
A DRAMATIC MARRIAGE STORY
Loren and Ponti married in 1957, there was a 22 year age gap between them, and before they even tied the knot, they had to overcome challenges. When he met Loren, Ponti was married to his first wife, Giuliana. Loren and Ponti tried to keep their relationship a secret while Ponti's lawyers tried to get a divorce from Guiliana.
The couple married by proxy, and two lawyers took their place in Mexico. But the news broke to the public soon after that, and due to strict Italian divorce laws, Ponti was quickly charged with Bigamy.
Actress Sophia Loren wearing a red dress in 1934. | Source: Getty Images
Loren was threatened with ex-communication from the Catholic Church due to her marriage to Ponti, and they had to live in exile. Loren said:
“I wanted to be his wife and have his children. We had done the best the law would allow to make it official, but they were calling us public sinners, we should have been taking a honeymoon, but all I remember is weeping for hours.”
The Italian government forced their Mexican wedding to be annulled, and in 1966, they became French citizens, which allowed them to marry there. Loren said that her biggest regret was not being able to get married in a white dress.
DIFFICULT PREGNANCY JOURNEYS
Loren detailed the difficult journey of two of her pregnancies. Three days before Loren was meant to end shooting a film, she realized that she was pregnant and excitedly called Ponti to let him know.
Sophia Loren with Carlo Ponti in 1934. | Source: Getty Images
She experienced a minor car bump on set and had a miscarriage, but the miscarriage was not due to the car bump but to her hormones. She later suffered another miscarriage, and doctors promised that they would closely monitor her next time to ensure that she stood the best chance of carrying her pregnancy full term.
THE BEAUTY OF MOTHERHOOD FOR LOREN
After two miscarriages, Loren managed to carry two complicated pregnancies to term. Her first son, Carlo Ponti Jr., was born on December 29, 1968. Carlo worked as a choir conductor at the Conductor's Institute in Connecticut from 1994 to 1996. He relocated to Australia in 1999 to further his musical studies.
Carlo worked as the associate conductor of the Russian National Orchestra from 2000 to 2018. In 2013, Carlo founded the Los Angeles Virtuosi Orchestra, where he currently works as an artist and music director. He married Andrea Meszaros Ponti in 2004, and they have two children together.
Carlo Ponti Jr., Edoardo Ponti, Sophia Loren, and Carlo Ponti. | Source: Ron Galella/Getty Images
Loren's youngest son, Edoardo Ponti, was born on January 6, 1973. He followed in his mother's footsteps and worked as a director and writer. He is best known for the films "Between Strangers" released in 2004, "The Nightshift Belonged to the Stars" in 2012, and "Human Voice" in 2014.
Edoardo has also appeared in front of the camera and featured in films such as "Qualcosa di Biondo" in 1984 and "The Girl from Nagasaki" in 2013. In 2007 he married actress Sasha Alexander, and they share two children together.
Edoardo directed Loren's 2020 film "The Life Ahead," released in 2020. He also praised his mother for always being present in their lives growing up:
“She was always with us. Even if she might’ve felt inside, you know, ‘I’m not spending enough time with you because I’m working, I’m off to a set, but the truth is, when she came back home from that set, she was extremely present with us.”
Sophia Loren and her husband Carlo Ponti as Sophia Loren received the Legion of Honor - 1991. | Source: Bertrand Rindoff Petroff/Getty Images
Loren said that she chose to slow her acting career down for motherhood. She added that she decided to listen to what her body wanted to do and focus on raising her children.
Loren added that nothing competed with the sense of accomplishment that motherhood brought her. She believed that motherhood was the most significant role in her life. "For me, nothing could substitute for motherhood," she said.
THE PASSING OF CARLO PONTI
In 2007 Ponti, Loren's husband died at 94. His career lasted over 60 years, and he produced over 100 films, including "La Ciociara" in 1960, for which Loren won an Oscar award for best actress, and "Doctor Zhivago" in 1965.
Actress Sophia Loren and husband producer Carlo Ponti at the NBC Television Affiliates Party on January 5, 1988 in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images
In 1956, Ponti co-produced "La Strada" which won an Oscar for best foreign film. His marriage to Loren captured public attention, and shortly before his death in 2002, Ponti said in an interview, "I have done everything for [the] love of Sophia."
Ponti's family released a statement saying that he was surrounded by the love of his family at the time of his death and passed away serenely at a hospital in Geneva. "His was a life dedicated to cinema," the statement read.