The Sorrowful Journey of Jessica Lange, Who Opted Never to Marry Again

3 months ago

Renowned for her performances in iconic films such as Tootsie, King Kong, and her contributions to American Horror Story, Jessica Lange has faced her fair share of personal challenges. At the tender age of 21, she exchanged vows with a photographer, but their marriage ended in divorce just a few years later. Following this experience, the talented actress opted not to pursue matrimony once more.

Her life before fame

Jessica Phyllis Lange, born on April 20, 1949, in Minnesota, hails from a richly diverse heritage, with German, Dutch, and Finnish roots. She grew up in a family of six, which included two elder sisters, Jane and Ann, as well as a younger brother named George. Her father juggled roles as both an educator and a traveling salesman, while her mother devoted her time to homemaking. Because of her father’s profession, the Lange family experienced a nomadic lifestyle, frequently uprooting and relocating from one city to another.

In 1967, Jessica was awarded a scholarship to pursue her studies in art and photography at the University of Minnesota. It was during this period that she encountered Spanish photographer Paco Grande, with whom she would later tie the knot in 1970. Following this union, Lange made the decision to leave her college education behind in favor of a more unconventional and Bohemian way of life. Alongside Paco, she embarked on an adventurous voyage, traversing the landscapes of both the United States and Mexico in a microbus, fully embracing a nomadic lifestyle.

The beginning of her career in films.

Their adventurous journey eventually brought them to Paris, but as they settled in the City of Light, their relationship began to fray. It was during this time in Paris that Lange unearthed her fervor for mime theater and dipped her toes into the world of modeling. However, her career took a remarkable turn when she caught the eye of Hollywood producer Dino De Laurentiis. This pivotal moment led to her silver screen debut in the 1976 reimagining of King Kong, where she assumed the role of the quintessential damsel-in-distress. Despite the film’s commercial success, her portrayal garnered criticism from reviewers, and she faced a two-year struggle to secure her next acting opportunity.

However, this setback proved to be just a temporary roadblock in her career. In 1982, Jessica Lange etched her name into the annals of history by earning dual Academy Award nominations, one for Best Actress in Frances and another for Best Supporting Actress in Tootsie. Such a remarkable feat hadn’t been witnessed in over four decades. Throughout her illustrious career, she has accumulated an impressive collection of accolades, including two Oscars, three Emmys, a Tony Award, and five Golden Globes.

Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP/East News

Her relationships never worked out.

Jessica Lange’s personal life has been characterized by a series of significant relationships. Her first marriage was to photographer Francisco “Paco” Grande, which lasted from 1970 to 1982, although they had separated prior to the official divorce, which was finalized in the early 1980s, involving undisclosed alimony arrangements.

During the late 1970s and early 1980s, Lange was romantically involved with the renowned Latvian ballet dancer Mikhail Baryshnikov. Their union led to the birth of their first child, Aleksandra Lange “Shura” Baryshnikov, in 1981.

In 1982, Lange entered into a relationship with playwright Sam Shepard, with whom she shared a life together and became parents to two children: Hannah Jane Shepard and Samuel Walker Shepard. Their journey took them to various places, including Virginia, New Mexico, Minnesota, and New York City, before they eventually separated in 2009.

She never married after her divorce.

Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard shared a remarkable 27-year-long partnership, although they never took the step of formalizing their relationship through marriage. According to Lange, Sam was not particularly easygoing, and their relationship was marked by challenges related to fidelity. Both Jessica and Sam had been unfaithful to their previous partners. Sam Shepard admitted to regretting leaving his wife and child for his relationship with Jessica.

Furthermore, Jessica Lange has been open about her battles with severe depression. She has described these struggles as a crucial source of her creativity, where feelings of anguish, rage, and sadness have played a significant role in her artistic expression.

She has chosen to not let the adversities in her life to weigh her down.

Following the birth of her children, they became the focal point of her existence, providing her with a fresh outlook on life. She has expressed that motherhood was her greatest joy, stating, “Every move you make is with someone else in mind. I loved being a mother more than anything else in the world.”

Despite grappling with her personal difficulties, Jessica Lange has actively dedicated herself to various social causes. She holds the role of Goodwill Ambassador for the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF) and has shown her dedication to humanitarian endeavors by fostering a child with disabilities from Romania during the early 1990s. This commitment underscores her deep involvement in the service of noble causes.

Jessica Lange continues to play an active role in the entertainment industry, and she has been outspoken about the systemic biases that favor men in Hollywood. Her most recent prominent role was in the movie Marlowe.

Meanwhile, in our other article, we discussed Priscilla Presley, who faced significant challenges during her marriage to Elvis Presley.


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