Sophia Loren’s marriage lasted 57 years, and she found a lover and a protector in one person – her beloved husband and father of their two sons, Carlo Ponti. Here are the details of their more than 70 years love story.

Sophia Loren is an Italian actress named by the American Film Institute as one of the greatest female stars of Classical Hollywood cinema.

The movie veteran has only been married to the late Italian film producer Carlo Ponti. Together, the couple welcomed two children, sons Edoardo and Carlo Jr.

In the book titled “The Northeastern Dictionary of Women’s Biography,” Loren recalled how she and Ponti met, sharing it was love at first sight:

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.”

“I did, and I finished second, but the most important thing was that this is how we started to see each other, at first in a friendly way, then it became serious when I was 19… We genuinely loved each other,” she continued to explain.

Later, when Ponti (22 years older) saw her at another beauty contest, he arranged small parts in low-budget Italian productions. That was when Loren rose to stardom in “The Gold of Naples.”

Italian film producer Carlo Ponti kisses his wife, actress Sophia Loren after she received the first Alexander Korda award, naming her 'International Star of the Year', at the world premiere of her new film "Lady L" at The Empire, Leicester square. | Source: Getty Images

During that time, she began to have an affair with Ponti, who was married to his first wife Giuliana Fiastri and was already a father of two.

In 1956, she was cast by an American studio to star in “The Pride and the Passion” and found herself deeply attracted to fellow co-star Cary Grant.

Loren was 22 and already romantically linked to Ponti, who later became her future husband. On the other hand, Grant was 52 years old and already in his third marriage when he became infatuated with her.

In an interview with The Sidney Morning Herald, Loren described that period in her life as “strange” because she found it difficult to leave for the US:

“Cary was in love with me and wanted me to marry him, but that would have meant leaving Carlo and creating a huge scandal. I was terribly afraid of what the reaction would have been if I had left Italy.”

Still, she managed to fly down to Hollywood for the first time, accompanied by Ponti, and although he was still a married man, Loren was glad that leaving her home country gave her and the “River Girl” producer a chance to cohabit. They had been secretly engaged for three years.

Over the next few months, Ponti traveled back and forth between Los Angeles and Rome on business, leaving room for his lover to start seeing Grant again.

According to the starlet, she could not resist Grant – who was 30 years her senior – as he sent her a bouquet of roses daily, wrote intimate letters to her, and even phoned frequently.

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