A Mother First: The Goodness of Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn Radiates Goodness, Visits Japan, Helps Out Givenchy, Puts Motherhood First, and Continues to Inspire Us.
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Audrey Hepburn was even more beautiful on the inside than out, if you can believe it.

More Than a Film Star, More Than a Fashion Legend

Even now, over two decades since her passing, Audrey’s influence on film, fashion, and humanitarian work runs deep.

Audrey Hepburn

But today I want to celebrate this fair lady by sharing a lesser-known anecdote; one that exemplifies the amazing mother that was. 

Audrey Hepburn

Audrey Hepburn, Givenchy, Japan, & Motherhood

In his recent book about his mother, Audrey at Home: Memories of My Mother’s Kitchen [aff. link], Audrey’s younger son Luca shares a sweet story about Audrey’s first trip to Japan.  

The reason for the trip: a haute couture show celebrating the renown designer, Hubert de Givenchy. 

Audrey with friend and renown designer, Hubert de Givenchy.

Audrey and Givenchy first met near the beginning of their respective careers.  It was Audrey who really made Givenchy a name in the fashion world when she wore his designs in Sabrina (1954).  From that time onward, the two remained close friends, with Audrey continuing to wear Givenchy, which of course inspired the rest of the world to wear his designs as well.

Audrey Hepburn
Audrey wears one of Givenchy's most iconic designs, the white dress from Sabrina (1954).

So back to Luca’s story.

Audrey, ever the loyal friend, traveled to Japan to support Givenchy, by this time her friend of almost 30 years.  And she brought Luca with her to enjoy the sights.

There were a whole lot of ritzy, fancy-pants events planned, and Audrey was expected to attend them. 

But not long after arriving in Japan, thirteen-year-old Luca caught the flu.

Obviously, this complicated Audrey’s schedule.

Audrey Hepburn
Audrey in Japan, 1983.

Audrey Hepburn: Always a Mother First

Audrey had also invited the family housekeeper, Giovanna, on the trip, in part to help out, but also because it was Giovanna’s life-long dream to see Japan.

With Giovanna there to assist, the sensical thing for Audrey to do–or rather the ‘movie star’ thing for Audrey to do–would have been for Giovanna to stay at the hotel with Luca, freeing Audrey up to attend the galas and events.

Audrey Hepburn
Audrey with her two sons, Sean (left) and Luca (right). Luca said he never really knew that his mom was a world renown film star until after her death because "she always put her family first."

But if you’re even slightly familiar with the life of Audrey Hepburn, you know there wasn’t a chance that she’d make the ‘movie star’ decision here. 

And you know exactly what she chose to do.

Yes, Audrey stayed at the hotel to comfort and nurse her son through his illness.  And she sent Giovanna to all the galas and events in her place. 

Audrey Hepburn
Audrey was always gracious at galas and events. But she put her son first, and didn't attend any during her first trip to Japan.

In Luca’s own words,

“My mother stayed behind to take care of me, appointing Giovanna as her representative at social events, to the amazement of our hosts.”

For Audrey, it was an easy decision: her sons always came first. 

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So Luca benefited from the love of his mother, and Giovanna got to see Japan in style.

Why We Still Love Audrey

Seemingly small acts like this speak volumes of Audrey Hepburn’s character. 

Audrey was always doing kind things like this.  It’s why this amazing woman literally radiated goodness, and it’s why we love her.

So Audrey, thank you for making the world a more beautiful place, and for continuing to inspire us with your goodness.


(And for a decadent taste of chocolate, which Audrey just loved, be sure to make my Audrey Hepburn Chocolate Mini Cakes.)

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