Playwright and actor Sam Shepard, nominated for an Oscar for his role in The Right Stuff, , due to complications from ALS, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease. His life was, at times, as dramatic as the plays he wrote, and that includes his love life. And it turns out, the day he died, his former partner, Jessica Lange, reflected on his personality in a magazine interview.
Lange and Shepard never married, but first started dating in 1982, , when they were on the set of the film Frances. The couple had two children, Hannah and Walker, before splitting up in 2009, though they didn't announce their separation until 2011. And though they were extremely private with their relationship, Shepard later said their relationship had some dramatic ups and downs. "Yeah, well, we're definitely an incredible match. But, you know, not without fireworks," he told , "although at this point, you know, she's the only woman I could live with. Who could live with me! What other woman would put up with me?"
In that same interview, though, he gushed about Lange. "I've never known her, ever, to lie about anything," he said. "Jessica has this absolute honesty. I think it's a direct quality of the Midwest, of that background that she's from." He also said he wrote "Fool for Love," a story about a man and a woman who "both attract and repulse each other" — and who turn out to be half-siblings — about his relationship with Lange. And Lange ended up starring in his 1988 play "Far North."
In the latest issue of AARP the Magazine, Lange was asked to comment on various parts of her life, including Shepard. the day his death was announced. "I wouldn't call Sammy easygoing and funny, but everybody has their dark side, and he always does it with a sense of humor," Lange said.
And that wasn't the first time she opened up about her relationship. She told Vanity Fair , "He's a great man, a natural man, which is rare. I've been with a lot of men and I've known a lot of men. And you know I've had romances with what you'd call famous men, and none compare to Sam in terms of maleness."
Overall, Shepard funneled his tumultuous love life into his creative work. According to the , he called romantic love "terrible and impossible." "It's impossible the way people enter into it feeling they're going to be saved by the other one," he said. "And it seems like many, many times that quicksand happens in a relationship when you feel that somehow you can be saved."