The Sad Truth of Audrey Hepurn’s Thin Figure
Son of Audrey Hepburn reveals the sad truth of her thin figure.
There are two timeless icons when it comes to cinema. One is the vivacious Marilyn Monroe and the other is America’s sweetheart Audrey Hepburn. While many may know the sad tale and hardships of Marilyn Monroe, not many know that Audrey Hepburn had a past that haunted her as well. Many praised Hepburn for her beauty and still try to emulate her today, but what they don’t know is that her petite figure was the result of hardships that she endured during the World War II era. Her son Luca Dotti recently had an interview with People about his book “Audrey at Home” that revealed Hepburn’s struggles with malnourishment.
For those that don’t know, Audrey Hepburn was not born in America. She was born in Brussels, Belgium and moved all around Europe from a private school in London to another private school in the Netherlands. During World War II, Audrey Hepburn (known as Audrey Kathleen Ruston at the time) and her mother were vacationing in Arnhem, Netherlands. It was during this stay that their vacation became permanent as Hitler’s army took over the town.
“from the time she was 9 to 16, during World War II, she was extremely malnourished. The time she most needed nourishment, she didn’t have enough food.”
Luca Dotti on Audrey’s hardships due to Nazi lockdown.
“When the Nazis locked down Holland in 1944, they called it the Winter of Hunger and my mom didn’t have enough to eat. Almost to the point of her body failing.”
“She would spend entire days in bed with a book, thus hoping to expel from her mind obsessive thoughts about food…
In addition to depression, Audrey Hepburn also suffered from other ailments that stemmed from her malnutrition.
“She suffered from asthma, jaundice, and other illnesses caused by malnutrition,” Dotti notes, “including acute anemia and a serious form of edema which Mum explained like this: ‘It begins with your feet and when it reaches your heart, you die. With me, it was above the ankles when I was liberated.'”
As World War II came to a close, Audrey was freed but permanently suffered from the hardships that she endured. At the time of her liberation she weighed just 88 pounds at the age of 16 being 5-foot-6-inches tall.
“The liberation forces came in with all sorts of things, cigarettes and chocolate, and my mother hadn’t eaten for months,” Dotti tells People. “She ate it up but her stomach wasn’t prepared. It was too small. She couldn’t keep it down. Her stomach had been empty for too long.”
“Still, the taste of chocolate for her was connected with liberation,” he added. “It was the real taste of freedom.”
While many respect Audrey Hepburn for her films and classically elegant appearance, her perseverance to survive through such a dark time just adds to her character. As a child, enduring the hardships of war can make someone grow up quickly. As an actress, I’m sure that this experience is part of what shaped Audrey Hepburn into the icon that so many respected. Her humbled outlook on her apparent beauty and her appreciation for her gifts in life were present in many of her encounters. She is clearly a strong role model for either gender to look up to.