Sean Connery was a legendary actor whose many stellar performances earned him a host of awards and millions of fans around the world. Born in 1930 in Scotland, Connery perhaps best known, at least in his early career, for his work at James Bond in seven Bond films. But his acting success extended far beyond just James Bond. He was in myriad films, including Marnie, A Bridge Too Far, The Untouchables, The Rock, and Finding Forrester.
Throughout Connery’s career, the actor won an Oscar, two BAFTA awards, and three Golden Globes. But there was nothing golden about Connery’s attitude and behavior towards women. In interviews and accounts that have surfaced more and more after his death. Connery has shown to have a strong chauvinist streak that has done a great deal to tarnish an otherwise legendary career.
In this video, we’ll dive into some of his more troubling comments and actions. Ones that had negative repercussions when he was alive. And continue to stain his legacy as an actor and a man. So join Facts Verse, as we talk about how Sean Connery’s foul comments confirm why his wife left him.
Connery’s Controversial Comments in 1965
Sean Connery gave an interview to Playboy Magazine in 1965. And in it, he had some fairly shocking things to say about how women should treated. Of course, in that era, women’s rights was still a fairly new concept. There were a lot of old-world attitudes and misogyny that considered not only acceptable, but often encouraged. However things had already begun to shift in the direction of women’s equality by 1965. So while it’s not especially surprising that a man might have an outdated and sexist take, it doesn’t mean they get a free pass either.
In his Playboy interview, Connery asked about slapping women. Why this particular topic broached is anyone’s guess. But hopefully it was relevant to the conversation at hand. Regardless, Connery told the publication that he felt that the open-handed slap was perfectly fine for a man to give to a woman. He labeled the act as “justified,” saying that he didn’t think that there was anything particularly wrong about it. Sean even doubled down on his views by saying that it was especially justified if the man has tried “other alternatives” and they haven’t worked. He made it personal by telling her interviewer that if a woman is a bitch. Or if she’s hysterical, then he’d have no issue with slapping her.
Connery Is Called Out
While those comments to Playboy in the mid 1960’s might not have caused much of a controversy back then, they later unearthed in the late ‘80s. TV Journalist Barbara Walters made aware of the comments and decided to give Connery a chance to either clarify or reverse his stance. Her thinking was that since it had been such a long time, and that so much had changed in society since 1965. Connery might have had a chance to rethink his stance on hitting women. So she asked him about it 1987 when she had a sit-down interview with Connery.
Sadly, it appeared that Connery had not learned anything new in the preceding 20 odd years. He stood firm on his belief that slapping women was justified. Sean Connery claimed that women often are unable to “leave it alone” when in an argument. He added that in his experience, women want to have the last word. He claimed that men often give them the last work. But that women then want to keep saying it over and over. So his take that, at that point, the man is allowed to slap the woman.
Connery Tries to Justify His Comments
Sean Connery must have been getting more and more heat about his controversial statements about hitting women into the early 1990’s. Because in 1993, he gave an interview to Vanity Fair, where he tried to make a clarification about his stance. He claimed that what he really meant was that there were far more ‘crude’ things a man could do to a woman. He pointed out that in his book, he talked about how it’s more damaging to mess with someone psychologically. His point was that slapping a women wasn’t the worst thing a man could do to her. Which is not exactly an opinion anyone should be shouting form the rooftops. But hey, when you’re a famous actor, you somehow get away with it. He even intimated that women who escalate arguments are actually hoping to smacked. He referred to it as “the ultimate confrontation.”
When the interviewer asked it Connery preferred women to act with old-fashioned ideals of femininity. Connery said that he expected women to always be more gentle and quiet than him.
Connery Tries to Fully Walk Back His Comments
In 2006, more than 50 years after his original comments about hitting women. Connery finally decided that he needed a different tactic. He talked to the Times of London and tried to claim that his comments taken out of context. Of course, it’s hard to say what context would now make it okay for justifying hitting women, but Connery certainly gave it a try. He followed that up by saying that he now didn’t feel that any level of abuse was acceptable against women.
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Diane Cilento’s Revealing Book
You might wonder why Connery chose 2006 as the year to suddenly come out and reverse his take on hitting women. Well, it likely had a lot to do with the fact that his first wife, Diane Cilento, released a tell all book that year. Connery and Cilento married from 1962 to 1973. The book, which revealed intimate details about their marriage, called “My Nine Lives.” Cilento shocked the entertainment world when she claimed that Connery have physically and mentally abused her over the course of their marriage.
For starters, she said that their differing backgrounds made it so their relationship was very tumultuous. Cilento was born to wealthy doctors in Australia, whereas Connery had had a rough and tumble young life on the streets of Scotland. She also said that Connery had a difficult time dealing with her career successes. And that he also didn’t know how to handle the sudden fame he experienced from the James Bond Films.
All of that led him to be an abusive husband, claimed Cilento. In an interview promoting the book, Cilento pointed out that Connery was twice her weight. And that physical contact would therefore have a greater effect on her. Connery denied every being physically abusive towards Cilento, though his many on-the-record comments in favor of violence towards women make it so that’s hard to believe. When the book released, the editor commented that it would likely a difficult read for Connery because of all the allegations. He also added that Connery was a bully.
Connery’s More Successful Second Marriage
Connery’s first marriage may have filled with tumult and abuse, but his second marriage seems to have been a lot more successful. He met Micheline Roquebrune in 1970 at a Moroccan golf tournament. Reportedly Connery was immediately in love, and he referred to her at the tournament as “Ma Cherie.” She found this endearing, even with his thick Scottish accent. Roquebrune, a Moroccan and French painter, was not interested in taking things any further than their brief introduction at the time. But Connery was persistent. Two years later he invited her to travel with him to Spain, revealing that he had not stopped thinking about her in the time since their meeting in Morocco. She reluctantly agreed, and their relationship sprang from there. They got married in 1975, and remained so until Connery’s death in 2020.
Though they didn’t actually speak each other’s language (Connery didn’t know French, and Roquebrune’s English was lacking) the two had a reportedly solid and loving relationship for the 45 years of their marriage. In the 1990’s they retired to the Bahamas, to get away from the craziness of Hollywood. While there, they lived in a big villa and enjoyed each others’ company as they grew older.
And there were no subsequent reports of Connery being physically or mentally abusive towards Roquebrune. So either those things were kept between them, or Connery indeed turn over a new leaf when it came to his relationships and his views towards hitting women.
It appears as if Sean Connery will be considered an acting legend, regardless of the details of his personal life. His contributions to the world of cinema are beyond doubt. And yet his legacy as a man has been tarnished a bit with the unearthing of these less than desirable quotes and views towards women. And when you add in allegations of actual abuse by his hands, it doesn’t make for a great story.
Now it’s time to hear from you. Does your opinion of Sean Connery as an actor change when you take into account his public statements about hitting women, and his alleged abuse of his first wife? Or should someone’s artistic side stay separate from their personal lives when it comes to their legacy? Let us know in the comments section below. And before you go, be sure give this video a like, and subscribe to Facts Verse if you haven’t already. Click the bell icon to stay updated on all our latest content!