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Sunday, August 09, 2009

The Saucy Sex Life of Julia Child

Bon appetite, indeed:

Image from Vanity Fair
There's a famous saying attributed to Jerry Hall that says in order to keep a man, a woman must be three things: a maid in the living room, a cook in the kitchen, and a whore in the bedroom.

I'm not sure on the first one, but after watching the new movie Julie & Julia it seems that Julia Child had the last two down pat. In the new film, the kitchen was not the only place in the Childs' French residence where things got hot and steamy. Speaking about the movie on The View last week, writer and director Nora Ephron compared Julia and her husband, Paul, to a "couple of rabbits." She said love letters written between the two reveal a very active sex life.

Image from Vanity Fair
None of this is surprising, and it actually makes Julia's larger than life but still approachable persona all that more real to me. Julia could be the new personal icon to legions of never-married ladies in their 30s and 40s. She was in her 30s (and, according to Ephron, a virgin. She had pretty much resigned her life to being a spinster) when she met her husband Paul, who was ten years older, during WW2. That means they had the good fortune of behaving like newlyweds later in life.

Julia: "We were based at a lovely old tea plantation, and I could look out my office window into Paul's office. I was still unformed. He was ten years older than me and worldly; he courted various other women there, but we slowly warmed up to each other."
Source: Julia Child with Alex Prud'homme. My Life in France. 2006. pg. 118.

Image from Vanity Fair
I've heard snippets here and there that the devoted couple were very much in love, and Paul is certainly portrayed as a supportive, adoring husband. For Valentine's Day, they would make their own postcards of themselves - one bizarre shot, which I've tracked down up above, showed the couple sitting together in a bubble bath, which were then mailed out to friends.

There is a very somber scene in the movie where Julia learns that her newly married (and even taller sister) is pregnant, and she breaks down into tears in Paul's arms, revealing that she wanted children of her own. It's very sad, but at the risk of offending mothers everywhere I have to say I don't think she would've had the career she had if she had children, and I also think being childless gave her a less stressful marriage.

Julia and Paul Child enjoyed a marriage that lasted nearly 50 years until Paul's death in 1994.

By the way, the movie is nothing short of fantastic - funny, hearty, and a fun ride. I thoroughly recommend it - and not just for the women.


  1. Gosh I never knew that about her, my favourite cooking episode about her is when she makes omelets.

  2. yes! i love her even more now ^_~

  3. You're absolutely right about "Julie & Julia" being a fantastic movie - I truly enjoyed the story line of Julia Child & her husband and I had no idea how spicy their love life was! I now want to read Julia's biography.

  4. I absolutely loved the Movie. She gave so much inspiration as a cook. She had a zest for life. The love she had with her husband. Makes a difference in how she made her fan adore her.

  5. Awesome movie - everyone should see it!

    Love her so much!

    Thanks for the blog, was very engaging :)

  6. I have to say, the movie was fun but the focus there was on the blogger writing about her experience cooking recipes from Julia Child's first cookbook and snippets from the Child's life. Thanks for that or I never would have thought to read Julia's book "My Life In France" which is F-A-R more rewarding. I never realized what an amazing person both Julia and her husband were and the life they lived. I have been on the hunt for other books Julia wrote and am searching for the works of Paul Child's paintings and photography. In my opinion, the blogger Powell fell flat in missing some of the more fascinating elements of the lives of these two people. Sure, it was cute when Powell had trouble with the lobster but the story behind the Child's is much richer than the wonderful recipes that Julia transformed for the American public.

  7. I enjoyed the movie, I believe she would have done well even if she had children, I feel sorry for people who blames not succeeding, because of their children. And also how can having children make ur marriage stressful. If that is true for some, than I will pray for them! Julia had a very supported husband! LOVE THE MOVIE! Now I'm going to read Julia's book!

  8. @Sandy - something tells me you don't watch Supernanny.


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