If you remember Ali MacGraw's short stint in Hollywood, it's probably for her role in the classic film Love Story.
In fact, Love Story was one of just six films MacGraw starred in, along with two miniseries.
The rising star left her career behind for her relationship with actor Steve McQueen.
And while it lasted just a few years, MacGraw still wishes she could have done things differently.
Her own Love Story
MacGraw had married and divorced her high sweetheart before settling down with movie producer Robert Evans.
They had a son named Joshua together, but their relationship was falling apart.
Right on cue, the irresistible and magnetic Steve McQueen walked into her life.
The pair were costars in The Getaway, and MacGraw can still remember the first time she laid eyes on McQueen.
"This was a man who could walk into any room and man, woman, and child all would go, ‘Whoa, what’s that?’" MacGraw told People.
"And I was no exception."
“He was incredibly attractive most of the time but there was also danger, there was bad boy there."
Soon, the pair were head over heels in love with each other. Marriage came next, and MacGraw and Joshua moved in with McQueen.
At the height of their romance, the film star even turned down a lead role in Sorcerer to stay close to his new wife, telling the director he would only star if MacGraw was made a producer.
"He was madly in love with her until the day he died."
McQueen and MacGraw were never a typical Hollywood power couple.
The actor insisted on keeping a "normal" home life, which meant he expected to come home to a cooked dinner every night.
"At the time he was the biggest movie star in the world and he didn’t want me to work," MacGraw remembered.
"So I essentially quit making movies and took care of my child."
While MacGraw insists she was never "a victim," life with McQueen was an emotional roller coaster.
While they were deeply in love, McQueen and MacGraw both struggled with addiction.
MacGraw says the actor had "his own stuff" to deal with while she battled her own insecurities.
“I don’t know what I thought," she said, "except that it wasn’t real.”
A miscarriage created even more turmoil, and the pair finally divorced in 1978.
McQueen died from cancer in 1980, and had remarried to model Barbara Minty less than a year earlier.
But the actor's close friends insist MacGraw was always the love of his life.
“He was madly in love with her until the day he died," said McQueen's friend Pat Johnston.
"I wish we had both grown old sober."
MacGraw is now 79, but still gets recognized for her role in Love Story.
"I am probably more shocked than anyone at the [enduring] response," she said.
While she still acts on stage, MacGraw never returned to the movie business, and has enjoyed a quiet life away from Hollywood.
But she admitted to Oprah Winfrey that she always wanted to "sit down and clean it all" with McQueen before he passed away.
"Something was there," she says.
In a new interview with People, MacGraw is even more wistful about her troubled romance with the star.
"I wish we had both grown old sober," she said. "There were wonderful days and dreadful days."
“There were many times that were just wonderful and there were many times that were just ghastly.”
But despite her regrets, MacGraw is not haunted by what could have been.
"I used to re-write the past, fantasize about the future,” she said.
“But now, I believe in living fully to the very best of my ability. I feel very blessed."
Here are more celebrity love stories:
- Sam Elliott's real life love story is like a Hollywood movie.
- How Barbra Streisand keeps here marriage strong after 20 years.
- Priscilla Presley talks openly about losing Elvis to his addiction.