In 1957, Claudia Cardinale made her acting career debut after she was crowned Most Beautiful Italian Girl in Tunisia. The prize for her victory was a trip to the Venice Film Festival, where she received many offers from producers including Italian film producer, Franco Cristaldi who would later become her husband in 1966.
Meanwhile, Claudia never acknowledged her marriage to Franco, who while opening doors for her entertainment career also robbed her of her personal freedom and independence, resulting in their split in 1975.
After her relationship with Franco hit the rocks, Claudia found love again in the arms of Italian film director, Pasquale Squitieri with whom she shares a daughter.
Claudia Cardinale’s Career Served as a Springboard For Her Relationships
Cardinale never set out to be an actor. However, her career kicked off after she won a beauty contest she never registered for. At the ground of the contest, she was plucked out of the crowd and crowned Most Beautiful Italian Girl in Tunisia. The prize for anyone who would win the contest was a trip to the Venice Film Festival, where she received many offers from producers.
Although Cardinale turned down several producers who came after her, she eventually accepted the approach of Franco Cristaldi, who put her under contract and also married her as reported by some sources. However, Claudia never acknowledged this marriage but only admitted that they had a marriage party but did not officially tie the knot.
Meanwhile, under Franco’s management, Cardinale was molded into one of Italy’s finest actresses of all time. She made her debut in a minor role with the Egyptian star Omar Sharif in Goha (1958).
She later became one of the best-known actresses in Italy with roles in films such as Rocco and His Brothers (1960), Girl with a Suitcase (1961), Cartouche (1962), The Leopard (1963), and Fellini’s 8½ (1963).
Sadly, by 1975, she and Franco had grown distant from each other, and this caused their romance to terminate. Franco eventually married Zeudi Araya in 1983.
Cardinale moved on with Pasquale Squitieri
After calling it quits with Franco in 1975, Claudia met another Italian film director and screenwriter, Pasquale Squitieri the same year. According to her, Pasquale was a handsome man who had a string of affairs with Italian, French, and American actors, and she vowed to do all she could to get her hands on him.
Claudia said she found out one day that Pasquale was in New York, and decided to arrange through his friend to meet with him. From there, they began a relationship that will span over 4 decades.
Meanwhile, Claudia said at first, Franco Cristaldi was furious and tried to block them, professionally because he was powerful and controlled the entire Italian film industry but Pasquale and her remained wonderfully complicit. Their relationship saw the birth of their daughter in 1979, whom they deliberately named Claudia.
Squitieri died on 18 February 2017, aged 78 and it appears that Claudia had remained in close contact with him till his passing.
Meanwhile, it is not exactly known when Squitieri and Claudia decided to go separate ways but his profile indicates that he married Ottavia Fusco in February 2017 and she remained his partner till he died of complications from emphysema.
Similarly, Pasquale was previously married to Silvana Filotico from 1964 to 1978. The estranged couple had 3 kids before settling for a divorce.
Did She Have Other Partners Besides Franco and Squitieri?
The Italian actress is said to have had romantic connections with colleagues and other actors such as Steve McQueen, Belmondo, Mastroianni, and Delon in addition to Franco Cristaldi and Pasquale Squitieri. Since she is renowned for keeping her personal life private, not much is known about these relationships. Moreover, The only suitor she’ll admit to is the one who got away, and that is Marlon Brando.
According to guardian.com, the actress said she blames herself, for turning Marlon down the night he came knocking and saying something about how they were both Aries.
Other Fascinating Facts About the 85-year-old Italian Actress
1. At first, She Aspired to Become a Teacher
Claudia was born on 15 April 1938 and raised in La Goulette, a neighborhood of Tunis. Despite being born in Tunisia, she prefers to be addressed as Italian.
When she was still a kid the actress said she saw herself more as a teacher in the desert or an explorer discovering the world and not an actress. She also said that it was her sister Blanche who dreamed of working in the cinema.
2. She used to be a Tomboy
Cardinale has said that she was a real tomboy, always ready to fight to demonstrate that girls were at least as strong as boys. She also said that she was a real daredevil who always jumped on the bandwagon to go to school in Carthage and the drivers actually ended up telling her father, but nothing scared her.
3. She has an Impressive Career Record
Cardinale has continued to be the epitome of a real movie star for more than five decades. As stated earlier, she made her career debut in 1957, and by 1958 to the mid-60s, she became one of the best-known actresses in Italy with roles in films such as Rocco and His Brothers (1960), Girl with a Suitcase (1961), Cartouche (1962), The Leopard (1963), and Fellini’s 8½ (1963)
But in 1990, Claudia’s film roles gradually dwindled but she did not stop. She appeared in several films but she also made the crucial choice to take on the demanding role of stage acting.
She made her stage debut in 2000 with La Venexiana; she was 62 at the time. Moreover, Claudia currently has scores of projects under her belt that span documentaries, TV, film, and voice-dubbing. The two movies with Claudia’s most recent appearances are Ennio (2021) and Rogue City (2020).
4. A rape Incident led to the birth of her First Child, Patrick
Born in 1958, Patrick is Claudia’s first child with a mysterious Frenchman who was said to be 10 years her senior. According to the actress, the birth of her little boy was following a rape and it pushed her to get involved in cinema to earn a living and be independent.
Claudia also said she was determined to keep Patrick despite the circumstances and the enormous scandal that a birth outside of marriage could cause. She also added that at the time she had her first child, she was very young, fierce, modest, and without the slightest desire to show off on movie sets.
Meanwhile, the actress kept Patrick’s identity a secret and lied for several years about him being her little brother in order to avoid scandal as advised by her ex-partner, Franco. However, when Patrich was about 7, she called a journalist and publicly admitted that he was her son.
5. She is an Activist
Cardinale has liberal political views and has been a strong feminist. In March 2000, she became and remained a UNESCO ambassador of Women’s rights.