Britt Ekland is best known for her role as a Bond girl, but the blond beauty had a string of successful professional ventures. She made movies including The Man With The Golden Gun and The Wicker Man, and met everyone from Steve McQueen to Sofia Loren, Cary Grant to the Bay City Rollers.
She made a huge name for herself both in the UK and the USA.
And when comedian Peter Sellers saw her picture in a newspaper, he was determined to meet her.
They first met when he knocked on her door at the Dorchester Hotel and invited her to his VIP suite.
He once said about the encounter: “I was knocked over, absolutely stunned. I couldn’t believe it.
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Britt Eckland relationship: Britt and Peter Sellers married in 1964
“She was so great. She wore a simple dress and her hair was like sunlight. Unbelievable.”
Then the very next day he took her to Kensington Palace to meet Princess Margaret and Lord Snowdon.
Just ten days later and Sellers, 38, and Ekland, 22, were married at a Guildford Register Office, where more than 1,000 people lined the streets outside to catch a glimpse of the newlyweds.
Sadly for Britt, the marriage was doomed from the outset.
Unearthed rambling letters Peter sent to his bride, written only weeks after they wed in 1964, revealed the comedian was consumed by an intense jealousy of his beautiful young wife.
In a letter dated March 15, 1964, he wrote: “I have a dreadful fear at the back of my mind that you might leave me. I love you so desperately and think you are so absolutely wonderful in every way, that I find it very difficult to understand why you married me.
“You who are just the most lovely thing in the whole world. What do you see in me? I’m not handsome. I’m not tall. I’m not special in any way.”
The star also questioned why such a “dishy bird” would be with him, writing that he was not handsome or tall.
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He said: “You are very sexy. Very. I will get you in a super bikini next week. I bet you will look very dishy in it. You are a very very dishy bird.
“I want to make love to you again so much. Things in the front of my trousers are getting very hard when I talk to you like this. I could make violent love to you all night.”
But despite the whirlwind start to their marriage, the romance did not last.
After four years, Ekland divorced the man she dubbed ‘a monster’.
Years later, she revealed just why she fell for Sellers, saying: “I was very young and he swept me off my feet.”
But she explained their relationship deteriorated rapidly, not helped by her youth.
She said she “had never lived with a man” and “came straight from my parents” when she married Peter – and had no idea what to expect.
And she claims living with him was a nightmare as he subjected her to abuse.
Even when she revealed she was pregnant with his child, his friends had to step in to stop him from forcing her to have an abortion.
He is supposed to have said: “I’ve got Michael, I’ve got Sarah. I don’t want any more children.”
But it was during production of their film The Bobo in 1967 that the couple’s marriage really fell apart.
At one point, Sellers told director Robert Parrish to fire his wife, saying: ”I’m not coming back after lunch if that bitch is on the set”.
Ekland later said that the marriage was “an atrocious sham” and soon afterwards divorced him.
Sellers, who married twice more, died of a heart attack in 1980.
Now 77, Britt says she had cautioned her own children not to rush into marriage.
But when her son Nikolai, 37, tied the knot two years ago, she was delighted.
“He took his girlfriend to Paris to get engaged. She thought he was taking her to Aspen to see his father but they flew to Britain and then took the Eurostar to Paris,” she says.
“I said, ‘But how did you know what ring to buy?’ and he said, ‘From being around you’.
“She is the most beautiful daughter-in-law. She works with autistic children and is beautiful and natural.”