Robert Redford is inarguably one the most celebrated names in Hollywood, having established a successful career that has spanned multiple decades. But before the director of “The Legend of Bagger Vance” and the actor in “Jeremiah Johnson” succeeded in Hollywood, he was a troubled kid living in Los Angeles.
According to Fox News, Redford was part of a gang in high school. He also stole beer for all-night drinking parties. But he attributes his mother, Martha Hart, for helping him realign himself and come back to center.
“[I] had a lot of criticism, but I didn’t have a lot of support,” Redford told audiences at the Sundance Film Festival Utah Women’s Leadership Celebration. “Why do I feel this connection to women?” he asked.
“I think it probably has to do with my mom… The one person who stood behind me was my mother. She believed that all things considered, she just had faith that I had something in me that was going to turn out OK,” the 81-year-old told the audience.
“She came from Texas,” he said in describing Hart. “And she carried that kind of robust, jocular goodwill. She saw things in a positive light.” He added that she was considered “the strongest member of the family” who loved to smile and “was very, very adventurous.”
But tragedy struck Redford’s home when Hart passed away in 1955 at the age of 40. Redford was only 18. She never lived to see any of his success in Hollywood.
“She had a hemorrhage tied to a blood disorder she got after losing twin girls at birth 10 years after I was born,” said Redford. “She wanted a family so badly, she got pregnant again.”
“My regret is that she passed away before I could thank her,” he said.
Redford later married a Mormon girl at the age of 22. That marriage lasted for 27 years until Redford’s burgeoning success in Hollywood placed undue pressures and strains on their marriage.
“I never wanted to be one of those divorced showbusiness casualties—so predictable! I wanted to prove that a marriage could last and prove the business wrong. But I couldn’t.”
In 2009, Redford remarried to artist Sibylle Szaggars.
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