It seems that the most beautiful girl in the world can only give what she has. In 1959, the most beautiful girl in the world was called Brigitte Bardot and she could only give what she had: her 25 years, her provocative beauty, her dancer’s body possessed by the mambo in “And God … created woman”, her very own way of being free and of enchaining lovers which prefigures, in this heavy post-war period, a new era of female and sexual emancipation. Which is already a lot.
A baby for BB? What could a fragile infant get from a frivolous woman-child caught up in glory? For this young girl from a good family who dreamed of becoming a prima ballerina, the cinema was only a second choice, coming to her by chance. On the other hand, the sudden, immense, international celebrity that accompanies it gives the feline lolita the feeling – necessarily illusory – of finally being loved, looked at, recognized. The ex-granddaughter who was so ugly – she is amblyopic from birth, that is to say almost blind in the left eye, decked out in glasses and braces – disappears in favor of a creature dream. Like Marilyn Monroe, Bardot hides under a solar and triumphant sex appeal abysses of despair: distant parents, self-hatred, an anxious and solitary childhood which she tries to end, at 15, with a first suicide attempt. Compared to the injured narcissism of the actress, a child does not weigh much. And the transformation of the body caused by the pregnancy could forever damage the radiant image of herself that she has built on the ashes, and which allows her to survive, somehow. “All his life, Bardot was, and remained a child herself,” explains Marie-Dominique Lelièvre, author of a biography on the myth (“Brigitte Bardot. Full view”, ed. Flammarion). Moreover, with an unfailing instinct, in 1959, the beautiful animal, ambitious and programmed to seduce, does not want one, or not yet. Pregnant at 17 with her first husband, Roger Vadim, the young woman has already had a clandestine abortion in Switzerland, defying the French State which will only authorize abortion in 1975, with the Veil law. Again pregnant with Vadim, she aborts a second time. Urgently sent to the hospital for a haemorrhage, she had a heart attack during the anesthesia, badly dosed, and owed her salvation only to cardiac massage. However, when she learns that she is pregnant with Jacques Charrier, the young leader of “Cheaters” (1958), her partner in “Babette s’en va-t-en guerre” (1959) – in these antediluvian times, women do not have access to the pill, and use the very random Ogino method – Brigitte Bardot does not hesitate. Despite the trauma of her second termination of pregnancy, in secret from her man, she seeks an abortion. But no doctor contacted by her care accepts, she says, to run the risk of endangering the life of a star, even in distress. So Bardot resolves to keep the child. Which also means to fall into line. The sex symbol of a primitive Saint-Tropez, not yet colonized by tourists or the rich, drove the crowds crazy with his ultra-short shorts and his flying mane. She marries bourgeoisly with Charrier at the town hall of Louveciennes (78), in front of a pack of photographers. The only departures from tradition: her dress, cut in a gingham fabric, which hides her “baby bump”, and “the final, passionate and almost indecent kiss” of the spouses, as “Paris Match” will note at the time.
“It was like a tumor that had fed on me, that I had carried in my swollen flesh, waiting only for the blessed moment when it would finally be rid of me. The nightmare reached its climax, I had to assume for life the object of my misfortune.
In her autobiography published in 1996, “Initiales BB” (ed. Grasset) which caused a scandal, the star used taboo, disturbing and violent words to describe her pregnancy. “It was like a tumor that had fed on me, that I had carried in my swollen flesh, waiting only for the blessed moment when it would finally be rid of me. The nightmare reached its climax, I had to assume for life the object of my misfortune, ”she writes. Seriously bruised by these sentences, his son, Nicolas sued him in October 1996 for breach of intrauterine intimacy. These words, other women have used them before her and will use them again, however, explains the psychoanalyst Marie-Magdeleine Lessana, author of “Following the sea” (ed. Paulsen). “Because even if the term shocks, it is a biological reality, the fetus is indeed a tumor, that is to say an accumulation of implanted cells which disturbs the normal functioning of the body and which will individuate, indicates- she. Thanks to our abstract knowledge, we know that it is a life. To help the process, we graft on it expectation, hope, an imaginary. But in all cultures, there is an adjustment that must be made between the fetus in the womb, the imaginary baby, and the one coming out of the womb for the mother to adopt her child. For some women, it’s hard, complicated, they feel overwhelmed, they need nannies, grandmothers to help them. »
To make matters worse, the delivery of Bardot, according to the main interested party, is in no way a deliverance. The actress is barely recovering from the absence of the future father who attempted suicide to escape the statutory three years of national service and has just been released from the psychiatric hospital. The hundreds of photographers and journalists from all over the world dispatched to cover the birth forced BB to take refuge in his room on avenue Paul-Doumer (Paris 16th), transformed into an obstetrical clinic. She saw the curtains drawn since some of them rented, at exorbitant prices, maids’ rooms with a view of her apartment. On January 11, 1960, she gave birth without painkillers, a common practice at the time, and the pain was so intense that she rolled into a ball on the floor. “An animal mortally wounded, I howled without any restraint,” she wrote. “When the child is placed on her stomach, she is so exhausted that she pushes him away,” says Marie-Dominique Lelièvre. An injured animal rejects its young. The young woman has only one desire, tranquility. They tell him it’s a boy. “I don’t care, I don’t want to see him anymore,” she gets irritated. She names him Nicolas. Literally, “the victorious people” or “the one who brings victory”. What victory?
Broadcast five days later on TV, an exclusive report from the news magazine “Cinq Columns à la Une” depicts the young woman giving birth at home, in bed, plaited and creped, and dressed in an immaculate nightgown. Jacques Charrier carefully brings the baby to her, wrapped in his diapers. Circled eyes made up in black, BB seizes them awkwardly, multiplies the artificial smiles at the camera, magnifies each affectionate or supposedly “maternal” gesture that she has towards the child. If the scene were not sinister, worthy of the outdated moralism of the time, we would find it almost comical. “I became a mother exactly when it wasn’t necessary, confided Brigitte Bardot raw in a television interview dating from 1982. I experienced it as a tragedy. It made two unhappy people: my son and me. »
Because the damage seems done. Something is not tied between Nicolas and his mother. Entrusted to a nanny, Moussia, monopolized by his paternal grandmother, the baby cries as soon as he is put in the hands of Bardot, convinced that he does not love him. A serious fault for certain stars, whose survival and psychic balance depend entirely on the love of others. Irritable, angry, Bardot prances about regaining his independence, his job, his audience, and… his lovers. The actress begins an affair with Sami Frey, her partner in “La Vérité” (1960), by Henri-Georges Clouzot, and breaks up with Jacques Charrier. The divorce between the two actors is inevitable. And Nicolas’ fate is sealed on the day of the conciliation between the spouses at the courthouse, as Jacques Charrier recounts in “My response to Brigitte Bardot” (ed. Michel Lafon), published in 1997. According to him, the star n would have had no trouble giving up his rights of custody, arguing that his main concern was to ensure his son “a balanced education in a healthy environment”.
Bad mother, unworthy mother, Bardot? Who justifies himself by claiming not to have the maternal instinct? “That doesn’t mean anything,” says Marie-Magdeleine Lessana. The maternal instinct does not exist; one is not born a mother, one becomes one. And it is a cultural construction that differs according to the societies. Why didn’t Brigitte Bardot feel like a mother? Perhaps because she was the symbol of a certain feminine eroticism and at the same time an object-victim snatched up by the curiosity of the crowds and the paparazzi. Unfortunately for her, she did not have the chance to find partners who could have helped her to protect herself from this capture, and to build a real relationship with her child while maintaining her independence. Which forced her to give up on him. Even today, many mothers do not have someone around them who can tell them that it is okay to entrust your child to a third party. Nor to take a lover, if they so desire…” For Brigitte Bardot and her loved ones, motherhood has become a touchy, taboo subject. Recluse in her La Madrague property, the 82-year-old animal rights activist takes care of her Foundation and, since the publication of her sulphurous Memoirs, no longer sees Nicolas, settled in Norway with his two daughters. , Anna-Camilla and Théa-Joséphine, one of whom became a mother. At the start of the school year, Brigitte Bardot will publish a book on her career as a singer, “Moi I play” (October 25 at Arthaud / Flammarion), keeping for herself the ultimate mystery of this missed meeting with her son and perhaps with herself.