Uma Thurman: the loves and disappointments of an iconic actress who was born self-conscious and became strong

Uma Thurman, on the red carpet at the Oscars, this year (REUTERS / Eric Gaillard)

Before becoming a star, Uma Thurman was a very self-conscious girl. Hard to imagine. But it was. The protagonist of Kill Bill, of a cold beauty and associated with the divas of the forties, as a girl she was very tall and did not like her at all. To make matters worse, she hated the size of her feet (her size is 11, the equivalent of 42).

Uma Karuna Thurman was born in Boston exactly 52 years ago. Her name pays homage to the wife of the Hindu god Shiva and means “goddess of light and beauty”. Daughter of Robert Thurman, a renowned New York professor of Indo-Tibetan Buddhist studies at Columbia University, as a child she spent several seasons in India and her parents received the Dalai Lama for visits. He always kept the religion. His mother is former Mexican model and actress Nena von Schlebrügge, who was previously married to Timothy Leary, one of the LSD gurus. She had presented them Salvador Dalí.

Her father’s obligations led her to change houses and schools several times and her introverted character did not help her make new friends. At age 10, a friend of her mother had the bad idea of ​​suggesting a rhinoplasty, an episode that affected her for years and led her to suffer from dysmorphophobia, a disorder where there is a distortion of reality. Whoever suffers from it sees aesthetic defects everywhere.

Uma Thurman, pregnant with her second child, with her mother Nena von Schlebrügge, a former model and actress at an event in New York, mid-2001 (Photo: Evan Agostini/ImageDirect)
Uma Thurman, pregnant with her second child, with her mother Nena von Schlebrügge, a former model and actress at an event in New York, mid-2001 (Photo: Evan Agostini/ImageDirect)

In adolescence he began to get along better with his height of 1.80 meters, since it opened the doors for him to become a model, just like his mother and grandmother. The blonde is heir to a cocktail of German, Swedish, Scottish and Irish genes. She entered the world of modeling when she was only 15 years old. At 17, she already landed her first movie roles. She starred in the movie Kiss Daddy Goodnightcontinued with The Adventures of Baron Munchausen Y then continued with Dangerous friendships, by John Malkovich, who wholeheartedly praised her for her intelligence and composure. And not only that for that. “There is something else. He has something that is very fascinating”, she caught a glimpse before he became a mega star.

At the beginning of his career, an unfortunate event overshadows the end of his adolescence. “A much older man accidentally got me pregnant. He was living with a suitcase in Europe, away from my family, about to start a job. I had a really hard time thinking what to do. I wanted to keep the baby, but how? she wrote in an op-ed for The Washington Post.

This sad experience was shared last year as a complaint about a restrictive law against abortion that was approved in Texas (it is prohibited after the sixth week of gestation). This is how the actress decided to lock up, at the age of 51, her darkest secret. “I was just starting my career and didn’t have the means to provide a stable home, even for myself. As a family, we decided that she could not go through with the pregnancy and agreed that termination was the right decision.. Still, she was devastated,” she assured. She went through this situation with an older friend of hers, while she was in Germany, away from her parents.

A portrait from the mid-1980s, when Uma Thurman posed in magazines as a model; she was still a teenager (Photo by Andrea Blanch/Getty Images)
A portrait from the mid-1980s, when Uma Thurman posed in magazines as a model; she was still a teenager (Photo by Andrea Blanch/Getty Images)

About the abortion she said: “It hurt terribly, but I didn’t complain. She had internalized so much shame that I felt like she deserved the pain.” And she added: “My life has been extraordinary, sometimes with pain, challenges, fears and losses, like so many other women, but it has also been marked, as for so many, by strength and compassion. I have conceived my magical and beautiful children with men whom I have loved and trusted enough to bring a child into this world. I do not regret my path, ”she emphasized in the newspaper.

His loves and the launch of his career

Uma Thurman is the mother of three children: Maya Ray Thurman-Hawke (1998), Levon Roan Thurma-Hawke (2002), and Luna Thurman-Busson (2012). The first two of hers are from her marriage to actor Ethan Hawke, and the last one is the result of a relationship with a French financier, Arpad Busson, with whom she never married.

Uma Thurman in her twenties, when she was married to the talented English actor Gary Oldman, in 1990. (Photo by Robin Platzer/IMAGES/Getty Images)
Uma Thurman in her twenties, when she was married to the talented English actor Gary Oldman, in 1990. (Photo by Robin Platzer/IMAGES/Getty Images)

Neither of his marriages lasted. With her first husband, the English actor and producer Gary Oldman, she had no children. She met him at the age of 20, while working in London. They were together during 1990 and 1991, but the relationship did not prosper. They could barely see each other because of their work commitments.

She fell in love with Ethan Hawke while shooting the science fiction film Gattaca (1997). He was also a star. He had been critically acclaimed for his film Before Dawn (1995). They were married in May 1998. He had asked her to marry him twice and she made him wait. She got married seven months pregnant with her first child, Maya.

During the nineties, Uma was already one of the most celebrated actresses. She had embodied with a memorable wig Mia Wallace, the carefree wife of a gangster in Pulp Fiction (1994), one of the most celebrated and blockbuster films of all time. She was nominated for an Oscar for best supporting actress. And she would become Quentin Tarantino’s great muse. The dance scene with John Travolta is part of cinema history.

Uma Thurman, in the skin of Mía Wallace, the wife of a gangster, and John Travolta, in the role of the criminal Vincent Vega, star in an unforgettable scene from one of the most representative films by Quentin Tarantino, released in 1994.

Until that moment, Uma Thurman was still not among the best paid. For his participation in Pulp Fiction he received 300 thousand dollars. In 1997 her cachet skyrocketed. For playing Poison Ivy in Batman and Robin she received 5 million dollars. For Gattaca, which was released the same year, she received the same amount again and hits another jump when she re-signs with Tarantino with Kill Bill volume 1 (2004): 12 million dollars. From then on, she became one of the highest paid actresses in Hollywood.

Kill Bill’s avenging girlfriend is perhaps one of his most famous characters. Tarantino had already written it for her. In 2003 he said about the actress: “Thurman is on a par with Garbo and Dietrich in the field of goddesses.” They waited for her for her role. She was pregnant with her second child with Ethan Hawke. In the installment of volume 2 of this series, by 2004, they were already divorced. He married his nanny, with whom he had two other children. The end of the relationship was associated with Hawke’s infidelity, which he later denied.

In 2000, during her marriage to Ethan Hawke, they both already had successful careers (Brenda Chase Online USA Inc.)
In 2000, during her marriage to Ethan Hawke, they both already had successful careers (Brenda Chase Online USA Inc.)

The iconic actress’ greatest successes were these two films directed by Quentin Tarantino and produced by Harvey Weinstein, CEO of the Miramax studio, a very powerful duo. In a New York Times interview, Thurman accused Weinstein of sexually assaulting her and threatening her career 25 years after the events. She hadn’t been the only one.

Dozens of actresses who raised their voices had suffered worse luck, from harassment to rape. Thurman recounted after a business meeting in Paris, Weinstein invited her to his hotel room and to a sauna. And that he later found the producer again in his suite at the Savoy hotel in London, where she would have suffered a first attack. ”He pushed me down. She tried to throw herself at me. She tried to show off. She did all kinds of nasty things,” the actress revealed. The producer is currently serving a 23-year prison sentence in the Rickers Island prison in New York.

In the same interview, he also accused Tarantino but for a different reason. For almost killing her during the filming of Kill Bill. The director had asked him to accelerate a car at full speed so that the hair would blow in the wind. The road was unpaved. She had asked him to use a double, but Tarantino did not accept and forced her to do the scene. Since the car was in poor condition, she ends up crashing into a tree. She ended up with a bad head, a neck brace and a lot of anger. Video evidence of the scene surfaced fifteen years later.

Uma Thurman and Quentin Tarantino at the recordings of Kill Bill Volume I in 2003
Uma Thurman and Quentin Tarantino at the recordings of Kill Bill Volume I in 2003

When her third great love comes into her life, her sentimental life finds no stability or even less calm. From 2007 to 2014 she had a complicated relationship with a Swiss millionaire Arpad Busson. An entrepreneur specializing in hedge funds. In the happy times they came to raise 18 million euros in London for the benefit of children of an organization that he sponsored. They summoned big London businessmen, bankers and rich people who paid 11,300 euros for the cover for the good cause.

At that time Uma was engaged. The marriage never took place. They did have a daughter, Luna. And the relationship ended very badly, in a legal battle for custody of the girl. The hostilities did not stop, they could not be together in a room. Busson accused Thurman of mixing pills with alcohol and she of being addicted to prostitution. Finally, the actress got custody.

At 52, Uma Thurman has a great journey in the cinema. And many experiences of a life that she has so far given her happiness and disappointments in large proportions.

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Uma Thurman: the loves and disappointments of an iconic actress who was born self-conscious and became strong


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