the effect of their separation on Charlotte Gainsbourg

(Photo by Bernard Allemane / INA via Getty Images)

Serge Gainsbourg was honored on France 3 in the documentary “Gainsbourg, a Whole Life” on Thursday 31 March, and both inspired and shocked the general public, and this on many levels. But in addition to his talent, it is also his relationship with Jane Birkin that made an impression. Especially their daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg during the separation of her parents.

In 1968 and after a passionate idyll with Brigitte Bardot, Serge Gainsbourg met Jane Birkin. She is 18 years younger than him, but love at first sight will be instantaneous and their love story will transcend their respective careers. In the cinema as in the world of music, their collaborations evoke a sensation, perhaps because they are inhabited by this sensuality and this provocation that characterizes them. Three years after their meeting, they gave birth to Charlotte Gainsbourg, born July 21, 1971 in London. But 9 years later, their separation is sensational.

Video. “It’s very painful”: when Charlotte Gainsbourg talks about her memories with her father Serge Gainsbourg

Why did Jane Birkin leave Serge Gainsbourg?

In September 1980, the singer’s decision was made: she had to move away from this relationship, which was becoming toxic in many ways. Several reasons have been put forward for this separation, starting with the excesses of the artist, who never hid his addiction to alcohol, or the fact of smoking cigarette after cigarette. Gainsbourg is no more: Gainsbarre, his evil and tortured twin has replaced him forever. And Gainsbarre is not the man Jane Birkin fell in love with 12 years ago.

That day, she slams the door of their home on 5bis rue de Verneuil in Paris. Jane Birkin packs her bags and sets off hand in hand with Kate Barry, her eldest daughter, and her youngest Charlotte Gainsbourg at just 9 years old. This story, Serge Gainsbourg’s cinema tells in his book “Gainsbourg”, published by Albin Michel, with particular testimony from the photographer who disappeared a few years ago: “It is true that it eventually went around in circles, it was the Elysée “Matignon every night with the same spectators. Jane could no longer, she felt she was being strangled.”

Serge Gainsbourg’s ex-wife confides in her turn to the cinema: “I’m dizzy when things go wrong, because it’s very hard not to make them go even worse, she confided. lose even more. ” But at the time, on the advice of her lawyers, she refused to publicly discuss their breach and the reasons for it. Gainsbourg, he cracks, and ends up confiding in the press: “I thought I had touched the bottom of the pool, and I realized there was a double bottom. I’m all alone in this billionaire’s bachelor. […] What I need: a platinum girl. I had a gold girl, but she got away with it. Jane went because of me, I was too violent. I came home completely freaked out, I beat him. “

Reminiscent of Charlotte Gainsbourg

In an interview with Télérama, Charlotte Gainsbourg agreed to remember the quarrels between her two parents, the violence that could break out at any time in the heart of their home. “With my mother, they put a lot in her face, I have fond memories of it, and she was not left out.” A violence that continued even after the breakup: “Even after their separation, when he came to see us at her home, the plates flew. They drank a lot.”

As a child at the time, she forgot nothing about the hell her father went through: “I felt like he was hurting himself, she remembers. He clung to me to put me in taxis, I did not know, I understood not where he wanted to go, what he was looking for. It was painful to accept that he was burning himself. ” In the columns in L’Illustré, however, she confided that her father had understood how much their separation had hurt him: “I think he saw me suffer, but that he was helpless. We were really very, very close without should talk to each other. ” Serge Gainsbourg covered it with rather special little attention: “With my father, about 18 years old, if he did not encourage me to smoke, he made a pack of cigarettes for me, a box of Lexomil (anti-anxiety, editor’s note) and a ashtray. That was the norm. “

His father’s death changed everything

The year of her 19th birthday, and while her parents have taken the road to reconciliation and working together again, Charlotte Gainsbourg must face the tragedy of her life: the death of her father. Saying goodbye to this man she admired so much was not easy, especially because of the reactions of the public. “I felt in a corner, I could not control my emotions in the midst of such a tension. I had to reject everything completely. I did not want to share. I now understand this need to get people to talk to me about him and the love it springs from it, but when I was 19, there was only my pain and I felt attacked: “How can they not see that they are hitting me when they tell me their memories?” “

It took him many years to be able to read and listen to his father again without suffering. Forever marked by this very special childhood.

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