How Audrey Hepburn maintained her famously slim figure


Nearly 25 years after her death, details of Audrey Hepburn's life are still coming to light.

In an interview withPeople, the legendary actress' family opens up about her life behind closed doors -- including how she maintained her famously slim figure.

RELATED: Audrey Hepburn Resurrected For New Commercial

"People think because she was skinny that she had an eating disorder, but it's not true," Hepburn's son, Luca Dotti, says. "She loved Italian food and pasta. She ate a lot of grains, not a lot of meat, and a little bit of everything."

At 5' 7", Hepburn weighed 110 pounds her entire adult life, but according to her family, she never dieted. Instead, Robert Wolders, her partner from 1980 until her 1993 death, says the actress enjoyed exercise, chocolate and even Scotch.

38 PHOTOS
Audrey Hepburn's Style Transformation
See Gallery
Audrey Hepburn's Style Transformation
January 1950

The stunning Audrey Hepburn, with a classic swept hair style.

(Photo via Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

January 1950

Nautical style for Audrey involves a fun hat and some seriously stylish shades.

(Photo via Pictorial Parade/Getty Images)

May 1950

A young Audrey takes a stroll through Kew Gardens, in a large-print plaid dress.

(Photo via Bert Hardy, Picture Post/Getty Images)

September 1952

Audrey with her fiancee, industrialist James Hanson, wearing a pretty shirt with a high collar.

(Photo via Douglas Miller, Keystone/Getty Images)

January 1953

Audrey poses on a bridge, wearing striped crops and a dark sweater with a peter pan collar.

(Photo via Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

May 1953

Audrey cut into a 'Welcome Home' cake, wearing an impeccable belted dress. She had just arrived back in London after the filming of 'Roman Holiday.'

(Photo via Ben Birkett, Keystone/Getty Images)

October 1953

Audrey signed an autograph book for two young girls on the set of director Billy Wilder's film, 'Sabrina'. Hepburn was wearing a skirt suit designed by Hubert de Givenchy with a hat and hoop earrings.

(Photo via Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

January 1954

Audrey Hepburn touches up her make-up off the set of 'Sabrina.'

(Photo via John Kobal Foundation/Getty Images)

September 1954

Audrey married Mel Ferrer in a beautiful Balmain dress.  The dress had a tea-length skirt and tiny waist, with wide chiffon shoulders to complement her perfectly.

(Photo via Ernst Haas, Getty Images)

November 1954

Audrey modeled this gorgeous patterned dress at an Amsterdam fashion show.

(Photo via Keystone/Getty Images)

January 1955

Audrey literally couldn't look more charming in this photo, playing golf barefoot in a summer dress.

(Photo via Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

May 1966

This looks like a perfect day... Audrey was classically chic in this sweet dress, writing a letter in a palm grove.

(Photo via Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

January 1955

Audrey knew how to rock a robe, too -- we love the fun pattern.

(Photo via Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

January 1955

Audrey browsing through the wardrobe at a photographer's studio, but we're more interested in what she was wearing!  You probably remember this look: a full length red coat dress with a white poodle motif. 

(Photo via Archive Photos, Getty Images)

January 1955

Audrey in a floral-print day dress and sun hat.

(Photo via Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)

January 1956

Even when she's casual, Audrey looks chic.  Sitting below the Eiffel Tower in Paris, she's wearing a coat we just need to have... stat.

(Photo via Paramount Pictures/Getty Images)

January 1957

Audrey stands in a park with a poodle and her director Billy Wilder, wearing a shawl with a plaid shirt and shorts. 

(Photo via Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

January 1959

Audrey looking happy with her pet Yorkie, Mr. Famous.

(Photo via Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

June 1961

Possibly the most iconic look of Audrey's, she takes a lunch break while wearing a black dress, gloves and pearls.

(Photo via Keystone Features/Getty Images)

March 1964

Audrey looked impeccable stepping out of a car in this tweed skirt suit.

(Photo via Keystone-France/Getty Images)

August 1965

Audrey looked lovely on stage at the Cinema Festival. 

(Photo via Keystone-France/Getty Images)

January 1969

Audrey chose a shorter, simply sweet dress and head scarf for her second wedding, to psychiatrist Andrea Dotti.

(Photo via Getty Images)

April 1975

Audrey attended the 47th Annual Academy Awards in a sleeveless gown, embellished on top.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

December 1981

Audrey in a butterfly-patterned dress, standing with Rob Wolders during the 4th Annual Kennedy Center Honors.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

March 1986

Audrey was stunning in this patterned silk dress and coat with matching earrings.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

October 1986

Audrey looked stunning during the LIFE 50th Anniversary Gala at Radio City Music Hall.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

April 1988

If anyone can rock stripes and polka dots to the Academy Awards, it's Audrey.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

November 1988

We love the pop of pink in the shrug Audrey chose to pair with this sleek strapless gown.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

January 1989

Holy feathers! Audrey wore this vibrant ensemble to the 8th Annual CDFA Awards.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

March 1989

Audrey definitely fell in love with volume in her later years, wearing this material-heavy gown in attendance of the American Film Institute honoring Gregory Peck.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

November 1989

Audrey looked positively lovely in polka dots at the International Emmy Awards.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

November 1989

Audrey wore this sleek long-sleeved silk gown to the 47th Annual Golden Globe Awards.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

October 1990

As a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, Audrey walks down a village pathway with Vietnamese "Dao" hill tribe children.  She is wearing an ethnic minority traditional costume given to her by the women of this village in northern Vietnam.

(Photo via Peter Charlesworth, Getty Images)

October 1990

Audrey attended the International Women's Forum in a chic white suit.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

April 1991

The Film Society of Lincoln Center honored Audrey Hepburn in 1991, and she absolutely popped in this brightly patterned coat.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

November 1991

Audrey Hepburn during the 8th Annual Night of Stars Fashion Festival, wearing bright fuchsia and looking stunning.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

October 1992

Audrey wore a similar dress to the Casita Maria Fiesta Benefit, but this one paired bright green with a black and gold embellished top.

(Photo via Ron Galella, WireImage/Getty Images)

HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"We'd walk for miles. She could outwalk me," he reveals. "She had a healthy metabolism, but she was not excessive. She never said, 'I have to do five miles today.'"

RELATED: Bella Hadid Rocks Short Bangs, Has Audrey Hepburn Moment on Spanish Steps in Rome

"She didn't diet. We had brown bread with jam for breakfast, lunch would be chicken or veal or pasta, often with vegetables from the garden, and for dinner we often had soup with chicken and vegetables," he continued. "She had chocolate after dinner, baking chocolate. She had a finger or two of Scotch at night."

While Hepburn lived an active lifestyle, her family also says that her slim physique might have been a result of her surviving starvation during World War II. The Breakfast at Tiffany's star's British father left her family when she was six. Her mother was a Dutch baroness, and Hepburn barely survived the German occupation of Holland, which began when she was just 11.

RELATED: See inside Audrey Hepburn's former home:

23 PHOTOS
Audrey Hepburn's former home listed for $14 million
See Gallery
Audrey Hepburn's former home listed for $14 million
Photos: Zillow
Photos: Zillow
Photos: Zillow
Photos: Zillow
Photos: Zillow
Photos: Zillow
Photos: Zillow
Photos: Zillow
Photos: Zillow
Photos: Zillow
Photos: Zillow
Photos: Zillow
Photos: Zillow
Photos: Zillow
Photos: Zillow
Photos: Zillow
Photos: Zillow
Photos: Zillow
Photos: Zillow
Photos: Zillow
Photos: Zillow
Photos: Zillow
HIDE CAPTION
SHOW CAPTION
of
SEE ALL
BACK TO SLIDE

"By the end of the war, she was very close to death," Dotti explains. "She survived by eating nettles and tulip bulbs and drinking water to fill her stomach. She was almost 5' 6" and weighed 88 pounds. She had jaundice and edema. She suffered from anemia the rest of her life, possibly as a consequence."

"She was the same age as Anne Frank and [later] said: "That was the girl who didn't make it and I did." Her voice would crack, and her eyes would fill with tears," Dotti adds.

Hepburn's family is working with Christie's to auction some of the actress' personal collection of dresses, memorabilia and more for the first time in London on Sept. 27. The auction house is hosting a preview in Los Angeles from Sept. 12-14 and an online auction runs Sept. 19-Oct. 3.

Exclusive 'Trumbo' Sneak Peek: How Audrey Hepburn Classic 'Roman Holiday' Got Its Name


Read Full Story

Sign up for the Best Bites by AOL newsletter to get the most delicious recipes and hottest food trends delivered straight to your inbox every day.

Subscribe to our other newsletters

Emails may offer personalized content or ads. Learn more. You may unsubscribe any time.