"I Was Saving My Life": Brigitte Bardot On Why She Retired From Acting At The Height Of Her Fame

Date February 21, 2019 15:09

Brigitte Bardot was the biggest French movie star in the ’60s. A head-turning beauty, the actress was loved by many, but she suddenly quit the entertainment industry in 1973.


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Bardot found her true calling in animal rights activism, and that’s what she’s devoted most of her time to after she quit acting. Some may wonder how she felt about retiring from the big screen at the height of her fame, and she's recently revealed she has no regrets.


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“I was saving my life”

In her new book titled Tears of Battle: An Animal Rights Memoir, Bardot writes about her years of fighting for justice and fair treatment of animals.

She said:

Humans have hurt me. Deeply. And it is only with animals, with nature, that I found peace.


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In her mind, her decision to retire from the spotlight ultimately saved her life. With a reference to the sad fate of Marilyn Monroe, Marlene Dietrich, and other film stars, Bardot said:

The majority of great actresses met tragic ends. When I said goodbye to this job, to this life of opulence and glitter, images and adoration, the quest to be desired, I was saving my life.


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In her new book, she recalled how nerve-wracking the wild popularity was:

In the beginning, I enjoyed having people talking about me, but very quickly, it suffocated and destroyed me.


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Dreaming of peace and quiet

Decades after leaving her celebrity life behind, Bardot still gets recognized in the streets. Sometimes, she just wants to escape all the attention she’s getting.

In 2012, she told Vogue Hommes International how she feels about her popularity:

I was literally crushed by celebrity … nobody can imagine at what point it was appalling. A nightmare. I couldn't live like that.


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Her lasting fame may be unwanted, but there’s an upside to it: she uses it to promote the cause that is dear to her heart – animal welfare.


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Bardot’s opinions on other issues are controversial at times, but her work for the good of the animals has had a serious impact, and that’s what she wants to be remembered for.

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