Ali MacGraw on Losing Steve McQueen: 'I Wish We Could Have Grown Old Together Sober'
As an actress, Ali MacGraw is most famous for her leading role in Love Story, which made her a 1970s icon. But her own love stories have been equally epic—she was married first to her college sweetheart Robin Hoen, then Hollywood producer Robert Evans (with whom she had a son, Joshua), before leaving him for Steve McQueen, her costar in The Getaway, in 1971.
In this week’s of PEOPLE, MacGraw, 79, describes her chemistry with McQueen as “chemical.”
“This was a man who could walk into any room and man, woman, and child all would go, ‘Whoa, what’s that?’ And I was no exception,” she says.
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“He was incredibly attractive most of the time but there was also danger, there was bad boy there,” she adds.
The couple split up in 1977 after five tumultuous years — three years before McQueen died of cancer.
“I wish we had both grown old sober,” she reflects. “There were wonderful days and dreadful days.”
“I’m not a victim in any way,” she stresses. “There were many times that were just wonderful and there were many times that were just ghastly.”
Sober for 31 years after a struggle with alcoholism, she left Hollywood in 1994 for a quieter life in Santa Fe, N.M.
MacGraw is now collaborating on a clothing line with Ibu, a fashion collective that works with female artisans.
“I used to re-write the past, fantasize about the future,” she says. “But now, I believe in living fully to the very best of my ability. I feel very blessed.”