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Ali MacGraw, 1970 | Sources: Getty Images
Ali MacGraw, 1970 | Sources: Getty Images

Ali MacGraw Left Hollywood to Live In 'Tiny' Village Cottage in Mountains: Actress Is Volunteer Now

Junie Sihlangu
Oct 12, 2023
10:20 A.M.
  • "Love Story" and "The Getaway" star Ali MacGraw is a timeless beauty at age 84 after revealing her fears of turning 80.
  • MacGraw opened up about her life and now lives in a "tiny" cottage in the mountains.
  • She is also a doting mom of one son and a loving grandmother after experiencing three heartbreaks in her lifetime.
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Ali MacGraw is mainly known for her stunning roles in the 1970s classics "Love Story" and "The Getaway." However, on the evening of June 15, 2023, the 84-year-old tried to be an ordinary citizen by stepping out to dinner with a few companions.

The beloved Hollywood actress visited a Mexican restaurant called Casa Chimayo. The establishment was more than thrilled to host her and her group of friends a photo of them was taken and posted on its Facebook account.

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A fully silver-haired MacGraw was seen cheesing as she posed for the picture amongst her friends. The "Just Tell Me What You Want" actress rocked a comfy-looking navy long-sleeved shirt with beige pants and eccentric metallic earrings that framed her beautiful make-up-free face.

Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw in "Love Story" in 1970 | Source: Getty Images

Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw in "Love Story" in 1970 | Source: Getty Images

Though the ageless beauty has taken to embracing her looks as they naturally progress with age, she did not always have an affinity for the carefree spirit that some women garner when it comes to aging. In a 2019 interview, MacGraw spoke about her faltering at the end of the previous year while thinking about growing older and said this to express her fears about turning 80:

"In November, I started to wake up in the middle of the night thinking, 'Oh my God, the rest of the trip is so short compared to the one behind me. I'm going to be 80.' I'd never felt like that before."

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Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw posing for their movie "Love Story" in 1970 | Source: Getty Images

Ryan O'Neal and Ali MacGraw posing for their movie "Love Story" in 1970 | Source: Getty Images

Luckily, her therapist was on hand when the star confessed to being sad and scared, unlike before, like it was a "doomsday fear." The professional advised her to remember that she is alive today and that whatever she felt about the future is a story made up in her head.

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For three months, the actress - who once dated Ryan O'Neal and went on tours with him - felt the dread of turning 80. She recalled the words she loved by Gloria Steinem - a friend her age - who once said, "This is what 40 looks like" when someone praised her for how great she looked for that age, and MacGraw's revised take was:

"This is what 80 looks like.”

MacGraw felt as though she reached an age where she started to take more notice of the timeline of her mortality. She described being more consciously aware of her past, dating back to her childhood, which set the grounds for who she is today.

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The actress said there comes a point in one's life where one must confront past mistakes and regrets head-on and walk through the fire (so to speak) to get to the other side. She no longer wanted to sit in anger and pretend that she had not been affected by negative experiences.

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Ali MacGraw in a close-up picture for "Love Story" in 1971 | Source: Getty Images

Ali MacGraw in a close-up picture for "Love Story" in 1971 | Source: Getty Images

While speaking about how different her journey of self-discovery looks in her elder years vs. where she was in her youth, MacGraw credits the amount of work and concentration she put in to gain clarity. By putting a concentrated amount of focus into changing her perspective, she reports being happier in her senior years:

"I don't want to sit in anger anymore, pretending everything's wonderful because I want people to like me, but seething underneath. But that takes work and concentration to change, [and] I couldn't have done it [alone]. So the years go by, [and] I'm lucky, I am blessed and happy, and doing the best I can."

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Where Does Ali Live Now?

The "Goodbye, Columbus" talent now resides in a quaint village north of Santa Fe in New Mexico. The charming spot is called Tesuque, and the reason why MacGraw moved there was primarily based on global warming environmental concerns.

Ali MacGraw at the CHANEL J12 cocktail party in Paris, 2019 | Source: Getty Images

Ali MacGraw at the CHANEL J12 cocktail party in Paris, 2019 | Source: Getty Images

She revealed how her decision came after her house in Malibu tragically burned down as a result of the annual forest fires in California. Having been afraid of the frequency of natural disasters, including the massive drought in the region, she packed up and moved on.

Ali MacGraw sitting with a dog while talking to Assistance Dogs of the West's Linda on March 31, 2021 | Source: YouTube/Assistance Dogs of the West

Ali MacGraw sitting with a dog while talking to Assistance Dogs of the West's Linda on March 31, 2021 | Source: YouTube/Assistance Dogs of the West

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Though she eventually found her home in Tesuque, MacGraw did attempt to first look at acquiring a smaller property near Malibu that would be fit and safe for herself and her animals in terms of air pollution. After she failed to find a suitable home in California while helping a friend design her home in New Mexico, MacGraw rented out a small cottage where she still lives currently:

"I live in a little village north of Santa Fe, New Mexico, called Tesuque. I had helped a friend design her house [there]. I bought a tiny cottage there which is where I still live in the mountains... I love my life."

Ali MacGraw at the PhotoCall for the Chanel Cruise 2020 Collection in Paris, 2019 | Source: Getty Images

Ali MacGraw at the PhotoCall for the Chanel Cruise 2020 Collection in Paris, 2019 | Source: Getty Images

The actress travels a lot and initially wanted a private cottage close to the beach in Malibu. The celebrity had a change of heart when someone mentioned that she already has a cottage in Santa Fe and asked her why she wasn't living there.

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The “Gunsmoke: The Long Ride" star decorated her house on her own with the help of Santa Fe architect/builder Rod Gesten. The pair added 400 square feet to the already 1,000-square-foot house and included a dining room and a master suite.

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The original house was built around 1981, and MacGraw added a new deck with a hot tub and a bell tower. Gesten included a framed stucco garage that looked like a rock wall extension, and some of the old stables were taken down. The pueblo-style home sits on five acres, and a studio was added to become a workshop for different functions.

Since moving to New Mexico, MacGraw has reported how much she has been loving her life and spoke about how she was talked into moving there despite not knowing anyone from the region. Once she moved there, the star divulged how she immediately got involved with a very artistic and cultural community, a melting pot of intricate Native American and Spanish cultures.

Ali MacGraw sitting down for an AP Archive interview in her Tesuque, Santa Fe house on February 12, 2021 | Source: YouTube/AP Archive

Ali MacGraw sitting down for an AP Archive interview in her Tesuque, Santa Fe house on February 12, 2021 | Source: YouTube/AP Archive

During her Zoom interview with Rappler, in which the actress spoke about everything, she was adorned in beautifully designed Native American-inspired jewelry, of which she reports being an avid collector. Currently, she has halted her acting career to enjoy her privacy and spend time working as a designer with an organization called Ibu, which she also enjoys immensely.

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Despite her marriages not working out, MacGraw was blessed to become a mother to her son, Josh.

A screenshot of Ali MacGraw showing her home to Susan Walker posted on YouTube on June 5, 2017 | Source: YouTube.com/Quintessence

A screenshot of Ali MacGraw showing her home to Susan Walker posted on YouTube on June 5, 2017 | Source: YouTube.com/Quintessence

The actress left Hollywood in 1994 for Santa Fe and works with female artisans on a clothing line under Ibu. MacGraw recalled re-writing the past while fantasizing about the future, but now she is living a full life and feels blessed.

Ali MacGraw advocating for animals and Animal Protection New Mexico on October 1, 2020, in her Tesuque, Santa Fe home | Source: YouTube/Animal Protection New Mexico

Ali MacGraw advocating for animals and Animal Protection New Mexico on October 1, 2020, in her Tesuque, Santa Fe home | Source: YouTube/Animal Protection New Mexico

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At one point during the interview, MacGraw briefly touched on her past. The celebrity disclosed how, as mentioned earlier, by doing the groundwork of uncovering the experiences she may not have enjoyed, she discovered new avenues to self-awareness and fostering the kind of life she wants to lead.

Ali MacGraw volunteering at the annual International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, 2014 | Source: Getty Images

Ali MacGraw volunteering at the annual International Folk Art Market in Santa Fe, 2014 | Source: Getty Images

MacGraw spoke about how recognizing her contributions to why her past three marriages may not have worked out helped her journey of self-discovery during her 40s. Now blessed with a wonderful life, she wakes up grateful every day:

"I start my day in gratitude, [and]...I guess it's many decades of work, but I'm grateful for it because I'm happy, and I feel very grounded. I don't feel frightened. I am certainly one of the luckiest people I've ever heard of."

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What Does Ali’s Family Life Look Like Now?

MacGraw has married a total of three times but is currently single. Being such a hot commodity and influencer back in her heyday, which Calvin Klein called an exemplification of the great American style, the beauty was hugely sought-after. After her first marriage to Robin Hoen, which lasted for two years, she married then-Paramount Pictures CEO Robert Evans.

Robert Evans and Ali MacGraw arriving at an airport in Rome, 1971 | Source: Getty Images

Robert Evans and Ali MacGraw arriving at an airport in Rome, 1971 | Source: Getty Images

The ex-couple was married for three years and welcomed their son, Josh Evans, in 1971. However, once MacGraw started filming "The Getaway," she engaged in an affair with her co-star, Steve McQueen.

Their affair started on the first day of filming, and eventually, MacGraw decided to divorce Robert to pursue a relationship with McQueen instead. However, after marrying, their relationship took a turn for the worse.

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Apparently, McQueen was a jealous man who forced the actress to give up her career because he couldn't handle her leaving to go on set for three months and have to kiss other men. They eventually divorced after five years of marriage because she got bored, and MacGraw was left with nothing due to the prenuptial agreement she had signed.

Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw in "The Getaway" in 1972 | Source: Getty Images

Steve McQueen and Ali MacGraw in "The Getaway" in 1972 | Source: Getty Images

In her sit-down interview with Rappler, the actress candidly addressed her relationship with McQueen. She explained what a complicated man McQueen had been, stemming from what she described as a harrowing childhood. Bearing no ill will toward her ex, she went on to say:

"We had a very strong relationship in our hearts - I think forever... When he was good, he was very, very good, and when he was bad, he was horrid...but it didn't diminish for me how much I loved him."

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Josh Evans and Ali MacGraw at the Malibu Adobe opening in Malibu, 1987 | Source: Getty Images

Josh Evans and Ali MacGraw at the Malibu Adobe opening in Malibu, 1987 | Source: Getty Images

Despite her marriages not working out, MacGraw was blessed to become a mother to her son. The proud mama bear never misses an opportunity to boast about and gush over Josh, who has followed in his mother's footsteps, pursuing a career in acting, even though he divulged that he had not always had an affinity for the entertainment industry:

"I think the first job I ever wanted to do was not in the film business. I was not one of these kids who wanted to be an actor; it just came about."

Ali MacGraw, Robert Evans, and Josh Evans at Robert's Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in Hollywood, 2002 | Source: Getty Images

Ali MacGraw, Robert Evans, and Josh Evans at Robert's Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in Hollywood, 2002 | Source: Getty Images

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However, having found a greater passion for being behind the camera instead of in front of it, he turned to directing instead of acting. After his first marriage, he welcomed his son Jackson Evans with his current wife, Roxy Saint, making MacGraw a delighted, doting grandmother.

The star did community work and worked with animals, sometimes taking in those in need. Her time making a documentary about conservationist George Adamson in Kenya, Africa, led her to become the honorary chair of the Fitzjohn/Adamson African Wildlife Preservation Trust.

Ali MacGraw holding a dog in a commercial for PETA while in her Tesuque, Santa Fe home on August 22, 2008 | Source: YouTube/AAnimalsStreetTeam

Ali MacGraw holding a dog in a commercial for PETA while in her Tesuque, Santa Fe home on August 22, 2008 | Source: YouTube/AAnimalsStreetTeam

Whenever she's at home, the actress doesn't wear a watch because the town doesn't need it. She also keeps her look simple in either skinny pants or jeans or a simple top and shawls, scarfs, and ballet slippers, lots of Mexican, Afghan, or tribal jewelry.

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Ali MacGraw talking about relationships with Oprah Winfrey on September 24, 2014 | Source: YouTube/Guideposts

Ali MacGraw talking about relationships with Oprah Winfrey on September 24, 2014 | Source: YouTube/Guideposts

MacGraw had been sober for 32 years in August 2019 and felt much better. However, the best thing about her journey is that she learned how to live a simple lifestyle, which she described as the most incredible "spiritual movement of our century.”

MacGraw has found sanctuary and peace in her quaint little village of Tesuque. With no plans to return to acting any time soon, the Hollywood icon is happily focused on embracing her life to the fullest with her cultural and designer pursuits.

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