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Sophia Loren's wedding regret with late husband she met aged 16

The Woman Of The River actress married the Italian film director in 1957 and 1965

Sophia Loren wearing a white dress with her hair up next to her husband Carol Ponti
Nichola Murphy
Nichola MurphyWeddings Editor
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Sophia Loren's love story with her late husband Carlo Ponti was nothing if not dramatic, from starting the relationship when she was a teenager to facing charges of bigamy and having two weddings. But even after all of the drama had passed, she still regrets one crucial part of her second wedding day.

The Hollywood star, then known as Sophia Lazzaro, was just 16 years old when she met her husband Carlo Ponti, who was 20 years her senior, in 1950. "It was love at first sight for both of us. We met at a beauty contest in Rome when I was 16, and he was on the jury. He saw me sitting at a table with friends and sent me a note asking me to join the contest," the 88-year-old explained in the book, The Northeastern Dictionary of Women’s Biography.

Sophia Loren walking with her husband Carlo in a black and white photo© Getty
The couple got married by proxy in 1957, but it was later annulled

"This is how we started to see each other, at first in a friendly way, then it became serious when I was 19."

Despite their age gap, and the fact that the Italian film director was married to his first wife Giuliana Fiastri, their relationship developed and they fell in love while filming the 1954 film Woman Of The River.

"There was something fatherly about his presence, too, and I'd never had a real father," she wrote in her book Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My Life.

It is reported that Carlo secretly proposed around the time the movie ended, but they kept their engagement secret for several years until he was granted a divorce, which was a difficult feat due to the strict rules in religious Italy.

During that time, Sophia grew close to her The Pride and the Passion co-star Cary Grant, stating to the Sydney Morning Herald: "Cary was in love with me and wanted me to marry him but that would have meant my leaving Carlo and creating a huge scandal."

However, she chose Carlo and the couple were married by proxy in 1957 after obtaining annulment documents in Mexico. Their first marriage lasted just five years as they were forced to get an annulment after facing charges of bigamy.

Sophia Loren in a white wide-circle dress surrounded by men © Getty
Sophia admitted she wishes she wore a white wedding dress when she married Carlo

After taking refuge in France, Carlo obtained a legal divorce and the couple married for the second time in 1965 – but it wasn't the fairytale ending you might expect.

Speaking of her wedding regrets, Sophia admitted to the Radio Times: "It’s very hard to say you have no regrets.

Sophia's 6 invaluable life lessons

Sophia Loren wearing a white suit, sunglasses and a necklace, blows a kiss.© Mondadori Portfolio

1. Self life

Sophia constantly cheers herself on and finds security in her authentic self. This self-assuredness has been a cornerstone of her remarkable career and life.

2. Familial bonds

Sophia underscores the value of communication and staying in touch with loved ones, which brings a sense of grounding and happiness.

3.  Mindfulness

Sophia savours every precious moment, even the simplest pleasures like indulging in a piece of chocolate. This philosophy speaks to her ability to find joy in the present and live life to the fullest.

4. Accentuate the positive

Sophia steers clear of negative thinking. By cultivating a positive mindset, Sophia demonstrates that embracing optimism can be transformative.

5. Be natural

Sophia  advocates natural ageing. She rejects the pressure to alter one's body or appearance and extols the virtue of being content with oneself.

6. Acceptance

Sophia accepts life's inevitable changes, though acknowledges some emotions can never be entirely overcome. 

"The only thing I regret a little is that I never got married in a white dress. That was the dream of my life, which is still inside me," said the actress, who welcomed two sons, Carlo Jr. and Edoardo in 1968 and 1973 respectively, after suffering miscarriages.

WATCH: More celebrity brides with unconventional wedding dresses

The happy couple were married for 42 years before Carlo died aged 94 in 2007. Sophia has since opened up about her heartbreak, telling AARP: "I was very sad when my husband died, because you can never get over this kind of feeling.

"Never. Each time you think about it, there's a moment of the loneliness, which is very strong, but that's life."

sophia loren and sons© Getty
Sophia shares two sons with her late husband

She added to Vanity Fair: "It doesn’t get any easier. I miss Carlo very much, my husband."

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