Steve McQueen Was Tormented by Daughter after He Left Her Mom — She Still Took Care of Him until His Death
Hollywood veteran Steve McQueen experienced a toxic relationship with his mother, a pattern which continued later in his life as his daughter suffered from his doings.
Actor Steve McQueen was married to his first wife, Neile Adams, for 14 years. In May 2015, Adams got candid about their marriage in an interview with the Daily Mail.
The couple met in 1956 and walked down the aisle the same year. However, the pair divorced in 1972. Adams revealed their union ended because he physically abused her after she confessed to having had an affair.
Steve McQueen and Neile Adams in Los Angeles, California on February 2, 1970 | Source: Getty Images
She disclosed that one night, as they laid in bed, he demanded to know whether she had been unfaithful in their marriage. McQueen gave his spouse drugs, and she confessed to one fling that happened years ago.
Angered as he was, he pointed at her with a gun while their children were fast asleep in the room next door, unaware of what was happening. Adams recalled that she knew the weapon was not loaded:
“I knew that the gun wasn’t loaded. But I was terrified because he terrorized me. He kept questioning me and jabbing me in the face and slapping me.”
Steve McQueen and Neile Adams attending the premiere of "Doctor Dolittle" at the Paramount Theater on December 21, 1967 in Los Angeles, California┃Source: Getty Images
She said her husband had never laid a hand on her before during the marriage, “but he couldn’t handle the fact that I’d had a fling.” When she finally revealed who her lover was – Austrian actor Maximilian Schell – he lost it:
“Why couldn’t it have been an electrician or a plumber at least? Why did it have to be a movie star?”
Adams said she knew in that instant that she could no longer stay married to him. The couple divorced two years later. They welcomed two children within their marriage, daughter Terry and son Chad.
Steve McQueen and Neile Adams pictured smiling in matching outfits in 1965┃Source: Getty Images
A year after the separation, McQueen tied the knot for the second time to actress Ali McGraw in 1973 in Wyoming. The pair fell head over heels with each other quickly after meeting on the set of “The Getaway.”
It was during a period when his marriage with Adams had hit rock bottom. While he was overly in love with his new wife, the father of two left behind a seething girl, and it was his only daughter, Terry.
MCQUEEN'S VOLATILE RELATIONSHIP WITH TERRY
McQueen’s daughter was "the apple of his eye," said Adams but it did not go both ways after he wed McGraw. In her memoir, “My Husband, My Friend,” the actress revealed that her divorce from McQueen took a toll on their daughter:
“She loved her father, yet was unable to control her rage toward him. She blamed him and Ali for having wrecked our home life. I think Terry harbored the feeling that if Ali hadn’t come along Mom and Dad would still be together.”
The mother of two said Terry tortured her father the best way she knew. “She would be rude and uncooperative and deliberately upset him whenever she could, especially when she was not within his reach,” Adams explained.
Steve McQueen pictured with his young daughter Terry McQueen on the sidewalk┃Source: Getty Images
She noted that the father and daughter duo were “soulmates,” hence Terry knew just what to do to get under her dad’s skin. Adams revealed that McQueen had not forgiven women for what his mother had done to him.
His daughter was just as hard-headed and brave as she was and was growing up to be a woman. McGraw was caught in between their fights. Adams stated the pair made a good team.
Despite how he treated his wives, McQueen was a great father to his children, said Adams. “I knew he loved me and the kids. He was a good dad too because he saw the world through the eyes of a child,” she stated.
HIS DAUGHTER STAYED BY HIS SIDE UNTIL HIS DEATH
When McQueen learned he had cancer, Adams said he lied to the kids to spare them the pain. She revealed he lost recollection of having Terry in the recovery room once. After he was brought back to the hospital room, he told them that he would recover:
“Guess what? It isn’t cancer. I’m going to be fine.”
Steve McQueen photographed with his daughter Terry and his son Chad on June 24, 1971 in Le Mans, France┃Source: Getty Images
Terry, who has the same temperament as her father, lied to him as expertly as he had lied to her. ‘That’s great, Dad. Let’s go skiing as soon as you recover from whatever it is you have, OK?’” Adams recalled.
Meanwhile, Chad was merely in denial about his father’s health and got comfort in knowing that he would eventually recover. At the same time, his sister witnessed their dad’s health deteriorating.
Terry was always by her father’s side and traveled to Mexico with him and his third wife, Barbara Minty in search of a cure. The disease was inoperable, according to Adams, and “he refused to give up," she wrote.
Steve McQueen and Neile Adams attending a Broadway play in 1965 in New York City┃Source: Getty Images
Sadly, McQueen died on November 7, 1980, at age 50, in Mexico, where he had been undergoing experimental cancer treatment. The “Bullitt” star was diagnosed with mesothelioma, a type of cancer related to asbestos exposure.
McQueen had a passion for fast cars and motorcycles; hence it was believed that he became exposed to asbestos by wearing racing suits.
MCQUEEN’S DEATH WAS HIS "ONLY SAVING GRACE"
After everything he did to break up his family with all his womanizing and never-ending cheating, his first wife said that death was his “only saving grace” because then he did not have to deal with the passing of his daughter:
“She was the apple of his eye. I was catatonic for a couple of years after her death, but I don’t think Steve would have survived it.”
Steve McQueen with his daughter Terry on June 24, 1971 in Le Mans, France┃Source: Getty Images
Terry died in 1998 due to complications following a liver transplant. She was 38. The California native underwent an emergency liver transplant and was expected to recover, said her beloved mother.
The cause of her liver failure was the effect of prescription painkillers on her damaged liver that had been damaged for a long period. However, a year after the surgery, Terry died from respiratory failure.
Her mother said at the time that she and her new husband, Alvin Toffel, would raise her only child, daughter Molly who was ten years old. Notably, when Terry’s father died, she was 19. She and her dad were survived by Adams and Chad.
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