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Rather than settling for being one of the most beautiful women in the world and being married to one of the most successful recording artists of all time, Johnny Hallyday’s wife dedicated her life to helping orphans from the world’s poorest regions. It was Laeticia Hallyday, 42, who broke the news to the world that her husband of 21 years had died of lung cancer on December 6 at the age of 74. The French President Emmanuel Macron paid tribute to Johnny saying the singer “transcended generations and is etched in the memory of every Frenchman.” The singer had announced in March 2017 that he was being treated for the disease.
Johnny married Laeticia in March 1996. The couple had two daughters together, both adopted from Vietnam, Jade Odette Desiree, 13, and Joy, 9. In announcing his passing, Laeticia told the AFP, “Johnny Hallyday has left us. I write these words without believing them. But yet, it’s true. My man is no longer with us. He left us tonight as he lived his whole life, with courage and dignity.”
Laeticia added, “My man is no more. The father of our two little girls, Jade and Joy, is gone. Laura’s dad and David closed his eyes. His blue eyes will illuminate our home and our souls again and again. Today, out of respect and love for this extraordinary man who was mine for more than 22 years, to perpetuate his passion for life, thrills, emotions without half measure, we unite all our prayers, and our hearts. Johnny was a man out of the ordinary. It will remain so thanks to you. Above all, do not forget it. He is and will remain with us forever. My love, I love you so much.”
Here’s what you need to know:
1. The Couple Met Through Her Father, Who Was a Friend of Johnny’s
According to her Gala profile, Laeticia met Johnny through her father, French businessman Andre Boudou. Her father had relocated from France to Miami following his divorce from Laeticia’s mother, Francoise Thibaut. Boudou was joined in Florida by his daughter while he ran the Amnesia nightclub. Laeticia was trying to make it as a model when she met Johnny in France.
2. Laeticia Has Confessed in the Past to Suffering ‘Many Miscarriages’ as Well as Battling Depression & Anorexia
In a January 2013 interview with Pure People, Laeticia talked about suffering from anorexia and depression. Laeticia told the website that she lurched into anorexia because she had “no more self-esteem.” Laeticia believed that her anorexia contributed to her “many miscarriages.” She said, “Anorexia is probably responsible for my infertility. I have been pregnant many times. I lost my last child at 4 and a half months of pregnancy.”
3. Laeticia Said in 2015, ‘Johnny’s Infidelity Helped Me A Lot’
Laeticia told Paris Match in November 2015 interview that “Johnny’s infidelity helped me a lot.” She explained that Johnny’s cheating occurred before 2009, when the singer was diagnosed with colon cancer and was put in a medically induced coma. Laeticia told the magazine:
I was so restrained during the first years of our marriage … I was young, in love, guided by people who were not necessarily good … I was not free. His unfaithfulness finally helped me a lot. I would even today tend to say thank you. [She laughs.] It made me question myself, to be much more feminine, again seducing with him.
4. Johnny’s ‘Tempestuous Love Life Made Him a Permanent Headline in the French Popular Press’
The New York Times wrote in their obituary to Johnny that his, “His hard drinking, car crashes, wild partying and tempestuous love life made him a permanent headline in the French popular press.” The tribute hits particularly on his long-term marriage to actress Sylvie Vartan. A relationship so vexed, it caused Johnny to attempt to suicide on two separate occasions, the Times says.
In addition to his daughters with Laeticia, Johnny is also survived by his son, David, from his marriage to Sylvie Vartan. As well as a daughter, Laura, from a four-year relationship with actress Nathalie Baye.
5. Some of the World’s Most Famous Musicians & Celebrities Have Been Mourning Johnny Hallyday
In the wake of Johnny’s death, some of the world’s most famous musicians have taken to their respective social media’s to pay tribute the “French Elvis.” Here are some of the most poignant messages: