“I was the shyest human ever invented,” Ingrid Bergman once said. “But I had a lion inside me that wouldn’t shut up.”

Perhaps no one saw the two sides of the iconic star more clearly than her daughters: Pia Lindström, 81, and twins Isabella and Ingrid Rossellini, 67. “She was one of those people who liked to put on the clothes and the makeup of another person,” says Pia exclusively to Closer Weekly in the magazine’s latest issue, on newsstands now. “When you become that person, you’re brave. But deep down, I think she was very frightened.”

That fear had deep roots in Ingrid’s childhood. Born and raised in Sweden, she lost her mother when she was only 2. Ten years later, her father died. “She moved in with aunts and uncles, and she was really very lonely,” says Pia. Her father had wanted her to become a singer and took her to the opera. Notes Pia, “She saw a stage and immediately said, ‘That’s what I want to do.’”

Ingrid Bergman in 'Casablanca'
Warner Bros/Kobal/Shutterstock

Perhaps seeking a father figure, she married an older man, Petter Lindström, when she was 21. Pia was born a year later, and Ingrid soon became world-famous after producer David O. Selznick brought her to America to star in 1939’s Intermezzo. Over the next decade, Ingrid did indelible work in classic films like Casablanca, Gaslight and Notorious. She played a nun in The Bells of St. Mary’s and the titular hero in Joan of Arc, and her public image was similarly holy. Says Pia, “My mother had always been presented to the American people as a loving wife and a devoted mother.”

That all changed when Ingrid committed adultery with Italian director Roberto Rossellini in 1949 and became pregnant by him with Ingrid and Isabella’s brother Renato. She was denounced on the floor of the U.S. Senate as “a horrible example of womanhood and a powerful influence of evil” and unofficially blacklisted in Hollywood. “She was wounded in a very deep way,” says Isabella. “She felt the public and the press had abused her and interfered and violated her privacy.”

Pia, who was 10 when her parents split, saw Ingrid only once in the next eight years. “I certainly didn’t like the fact that she left us,” she says. “But I was always close to her. I was crazy about her.”

Ingrid and Isabella felt the same way about her. “The three of us lived in Rome, and Mama lived in Paris,” says Ingrid of her sister and father. “But when she was with us, she was wonderful. I adored Mama and also our father. For me, they were the greatest people in the world.”

Ingrid Bergman's Children in 2015

Ingrid and Roberto “loved each other immensely,” says Isabella, but “the exterior pressure was enormous.” Adds Ingrid: “It practically destroyed them from a professional point of view.” They divorced in 1957, but, says Ingrid, “they remained wonderful friends.”

In 1956, Ingrid starred in the regal romance Anastasia. “The film was shot in Europe, so she was able to do it,” says Isabella. She won an Oscar for the role and eventually returned to America. “She was treated with tremendous affection, admiration and love,” says Ingrid. “That was so rewarding for her.”

Ingrid got married again in 1958, to Swedish theatrical entrepreneur Lars Schmidt, and stayed with him until they divorced in 1975. Two years earlier, she’d discovered a lump in her breast, and she valiantly battled cancer for nearly a decade. In 1982, she succumbed to the disease at 67, but her spirit lives in the memories of her fans and her family members. “She was a very funny, warm and open person,” says Pia. “Nobody ever disliked our mother.”

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