There are a few happy love stories. One of these somewhat unhappy love stories was that of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg. Utterly devoted to one another, for the most part, the two epitomised cool for decades and they continue to set hearts aflutter til this day.
The pair met on the set of the 1968 French film L’amour et l’amour (aka Slogan) and at first, Birkin was clearly bemused by Gainsbourg and referred to her co-star as “horrible,” “arrogant,” and “snobbish.” She even went on to somewhat deliberately mispronounce his name as “Serge Bourginon”. However, this did not last long as the pair became infatuated with one another.
They celebrated their love wildly, passionately displaying for everybody who cared to gaze at the personification of desire. During their decade long relationship, they were heralded as everybody’s favourite couple. Sadly, passion often belies a difficult maturation of the relationship and the couple were as famous for their fights as they were their love.
One of the more infamous tales sees Birkin throwing a custard tart in Gainsbourg’s face after she discovered him digging through her handbag. The fracas continued with Birkin chasing Gainsbourg down the Boulevard Saint-Germain screaming before she jumped into Seine river.
However, when he passed away at the age of 62 from a heart attack in 1991, which was likely brought on by his hedonistic lifestyle. Birkin, though she and Gainsbourg had long since separated, was devastated and she and her daughter Charlotte Gainsbourg mourned his death by staying with Serge’s body for three days.
But during their loving moments, the pair were not only inseparable, not only desirable but entirely encapsulating the mood of a generation. They made us fall in love, with or without them.