Audrey Hepburn is one of the most glamorous stars of all time, but to her kids, she was known as a devoted mother who loved to cook, garden and shuttle them to soccer games!
In the new issue of Closer Weekly, her sons open up about the real Audrey — the one only they knew — and her decision to raise her family far from the spotlight. “That’s the greatest gift she gave us,” her oldest son, Sean Ferrer, 55, tells Closer. “This normal upbringing.”
“We didn’t grow up in Hollywood,” shares Sean, whose father is Audrey’s first husband, actor Mel Ferrer. “We grew up in a farmhouse in Switzerland, and then went to public school in Italy with the normal kids: sons of ambassadors, but also the local butchers.”
Sean with the Audrey Hepburn stamp in 2003.
Her younger son, Luca Dotti, 45, says he first learned his mother was famous from other kids. “My friends were instructed [by their parents], ‘You want to go to Luca’s home. His mother is very special,’” Luca explains with a laugh. “But special is a synonym for strange. And after [the children] met her, they would say, ‘Your mother is very normal, no?’”
She certainly was. “Mom would take me out to buy books and socks, and get me ready to go to soccer practice,” reveals Sean, who recently wrote the book Audrey Hepburn, An Elegant Spirit: A Son Remembers. “When I had a judo competition, she would come, but always dressed in her jeans and her glasses, and certainly she didn’t arrive with limos or bodyguards,” Sean tells Closer. “She came by herself, in a cab, very discreet. She was trying to let us have a normal childhood without her fame hanging over us.”
“She was a terrific mother,” says Barry Paris, who wrote the 1996 biography Audrey Hepburn. “Motherhood was the thing Audrey cared most about, much more than her film career — more than even her husbands, to be honest, and she said so herself.”
Audrey and Mel with Sean in 1960.
Audrey also found her calling in humanitarian work. “She realized that she could use her fame to grab people’s attention,” Luca tells Closer. Now her legacy of love lives on in her sons. Luca runs the Audrey Hepburn Children’s Fund, while Sean is the honorary chair of The Audrey Hepburn Society at the U.S. Fund for UNICEF.
“I remember her smile,” says Sean. “I remember her sweetness and strength and innocence and wisdom — all that in one beautiful, perfect package.”
For the full interview with Sean and Luca, pick up the newest issue of Closer Weekly, on newsstands now!