Bardot in the doghouse for wishing her son was a puppy
John Lichfield has been The Independent's man in Paris since 1997, covering French news. Before that, he was the paper's Foreign Editor and he has also worked in Brussels and Washington. In 1999, he was the UK press Awards Foreign Reporter of the year.
Friday 07 March 1997
A French court rejected their demand that the offending chapters - including a reference to her unborn son as a "cancerous tumour" -- should be excised from future editions. Instead, the court ordered that the book should carry a kind of legal health warning, labelling certain passages as an invasion of personal privacy.
Jacques Charrier and his son, Nicolas, now 36, had claimed damages of more than pounds 1m for the 80-odd pages about them in the worldwide best-seller, Initials BB, published last year. Ms Bardot and her publisher, Grasset, have been ordered to pay pounds 17,000 to Mr Charrier, her second husband, and pounds 11,000 to her son.
The retired actress, 62, now best known for her support for animal causes and the far-right Front National, is estimated to have earned at least pounds 3m from the prize-winning book. In it, she describes her horror at finding herself pregnant in 1959: "I looked at my flat, slender belly in the mirror like a dear friend upon whom I was about to close a coffin lid."
She revealed that, in an attempt to abort the child, she had repeatedly punched herself in the stomach and asked her doctor for morphine
Lawyers acting for her son, now living in Oslo, also complained that he had been deeply wounded by her remarks at a press conference, when she said she would have "preferred to give birth to a little dog".
Mr Charrier senior complained of her balefully detailed account of their brief and disastrous marriage. Ms Bardot described him, inter alia, as a failed singer and actor who drowned his professional disappointments in drink and back-biting.
Despite her own initial rejection of her baby, she also complained that Mr Charrier had deprived her of access to her son for "trivial" (literally, in the French, "penis-nibbling") reasons.
Her lawyers had told the court that Ms Bardot's book had violated no one's privacy but her own. As "the most famous Frenchwoman in the world", Ms Bardot had the right to speak frankly of her own life. They also argued that the remarks about her son could not be an invasion of his private life because, at the time, he was only a foetus.
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