Audrey Hepburn’s sons recall their upbringing outside of Hollywood: 'The most valuable thing was family'

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It was 1967 when Audrey Hepburn, one of the highest-paid women in Hollywood, walked away from her successful acting career to take on a completely different role – that of full-time mom.

The beloved screen star-turned-humanitarian welcomed a son named Sean Hepburn Ferrer in 1960, followed by Luca Dotti in 1970.

“My mother was very present – picking me up at school, worrying about education, things like that,” Dotti, 51, recently recalled to Closer Weekly.

Hepburn Ferrer, 60, told the outlet that it wouldn’t be until his teenage years that the now-film producer discovered his mother’s movies.

Sean Ferrer Hepburn and Luca Dotti continue to keep their mother’s legacy alive.
(Photo by Ernesto Ruscio/Getty Images)

“I was back home in Switzerland,” he said. “[I found that] my mother kept all her awards, film memorabilia, costumes and photographs in the attic. That’s how I first discovered her films.”

Hepburn Ferrer said that despite her success in Hollywood, family always came first for his mother.

“When I had to go to school and could no longer travel to be with her on the set, she gave up her career,” he said. “She felt the most valuable thing was family.”

Hepburn Ferrer told the outlet that his mother happily settled “vert contentedly” into domestic life in a Swiss farmhouse.

“I think she was very happy at home with her dogs and her cooking,” he explained. “Her secret to happiness was simple and unpretentious. She had a beautiful house, would pick fruit and make jams, run the dogs in the fields, have a whiskey at five o’clock and cook a great plate of pasta. It wasn’t complicated.”

Audrey Hepburn is still celebrated for her iconic films including ‘Breakfast at Tiffany’s,’ ‘Funny Face,’ ‘Roman Holiday,’ ‘Sabrina,’ and ‘My Fair Lady,’ among others.

“She loved having conversations as she walked,” chimed Dotti, who added that Hepburn spent much of her free time tending to her garden.

“The joy of things blooming after a strong winter – in Switzerland we have hard winters – that was something she liked to share with us a lot,” he said.

Hepburn passed away in 1993 at age 63 from cancer. Her last screen role was that of an angel in Steven Spielberg’s 1989 film “Always.”

Back in December, Hepburn Ferrer described his normal upbringing to Fox News.

“You know, we weren’t a Hollywood family,” he said at the time. “I didn’t grow up in a home with screening rooms and my mother didn’t behave like a movie star. I later realized she was different when there would be paparazzi while she was picking me up from school… But when we were living in Switzerland, I remember there were two black and white TV channels. Once in a while, people would say, ‘Look, your mom’s on TV.’ But as a young kid, you don’t really worry about those things so much.”

Audrey Hepburn was also a celebrated humanitarian.
(Photo by Derek Hudson/Getty Images)

However, there was no denying how great of an impact Hepburn had as a film icon. And today, her legacy continues to influence new stars.

“I remember in the months [before her death] we received thousands of letters — enough to fill 25 lawn and leaf trash bags — just filled with get-well notes, books — you name it,” said Hepburn Ferrer. “And on the day of her funeral, it was estimated that there were over 25,000 people lining the streets of this little village in Switzerland.”

“As far as you could see, there were cars parked everywhere filled with people wanting to pay their respects,” he continued. “It was like a rock concert. We all grew [up] thinking it was nice to have a mom who also happened to be an actress. But the realization of how much she impacted the world came much later.”

“I remember [after she died] I opened up the old projector and hung a sheet in the attic and watched her films at night,” he shared. “That full realization came after she passed away. Not only did she represent inner and outer beauty and elegance, but all the work she did at the end of her life touched so many people. She created this extraordinary legacy.”

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