Thu, Apr 5, 2012
Eric Cantona has revealed that meeting Rachida Brakni, 10 years his junior, on the set of the film L’Outremangeur (The Overeater) in 2002 changed his life.
“It was love at first sight,” he says. “It does happen – and it happened to me. I wanted nothing more in my life than to be with her. That was, suddenly, my goal.
“Falling in love changed my life. I played a monster in the film and she was a beautiful girl, helping me to accept myself. She played a character who helped me find my beauty inside. I had to accept that after all I could be a nice guy. It was an interesting story which made a good film.”
Cantona eventually moved in with Rachida and divorced his teacher wife Isabelle, 47, with whom he has son Raphael, 23, and 16-year-old daughter Josephine. He married Rachida five years ago.
“This was all the luck in the world and all my hopes rolled in to one,” he says. “It was… magnificent. She realised that I am not always this confident man who appears to be fearless.
“I have insecurities, fears, doubts – and know I have to work at them. Depression? Yes, a bit of that, too, in the early days after giving up football to start a new life.”
He and Rachida live and work together in Paris – she has even directed him in a play – and absorb themselves in acting, poetry and art . But again there is caution about his new-found life.
“I do not have actors as friends,” he says, flatly. “It is not a world I have friends in. Why not? I am not against it. I like the business of making a film together.
“I do not want to say that I do not like actors because that is not true. I like them when I work. I need their company. It is an exchange and sense of generosity when we are working together. But in my life I do not need them. I do not care to see them socially.” Was he aware, I ask, that he could be intimidating to meet on a film set? “Oh, yes,” he says. “It is all about confidence.
“I always feel insecure when I start working on something. I start weeks or even months before on a script. A man who is not confident will put up barriers. That is how things are but we dare not admit that because it shows weakness. I have learned about that since I started acting.”