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See "Love Story" Star Ali MacGraw Now at 82

The former actor has left Hollywood life behind.

Ali MacGraw will always be remembered for playing Jenny, the lead character in the classic romance Love Story. The 1970 film got seven Academy Award nominations , including a Best Actress nomination for MacGraw; is one of the highest-grossing movies of all time; and provided a quote for the ages: "Love means never having to say you're sorry." But, while MacGraw's film career started with a string of popular movies, she acted more sporadically in the years that followed, and her last onscreen role was in 1997.

These days, MacGraw lives a quieter life outside of the movie world, though she did come out of acting retirement recently for a special reunion with Love Story co-star Ryan O'Neal. Read on to find out what MacGraw is up to today and why she left fame behind.

RELATED: 16 Child Actors Who Quit Hollywood and Why.

She's no longer a working actor.

Ali MacGraw and Ryan O'Neal at the curtain call for "Love Letters" at the Wallis Annenberg Center for the Performing Arts in 2015
Tibrina Hobson/WireImage via Getty Images

In addition to Love Story, MacGraw starred in other hit movies, including The Getaway and Convoy. She also had a recurring role on Dynasty in the '80s. Her last on-screen role was in the 1997 movie Glam, which was written and directed by her son, Josh Evans.

MacGraw has acted on stage more recently. In 2006, she was in the Broadway play Festen. From 2015 to 2017, she reunited with O'Neal for a touring production of Love Letters.

"It was heaven to be reunited with Ryan, but I have no desire to make acting a part of my life again," MacGraw told AARP in 2017.

She's taken on other endeavors.

Ali MacGraw speaking during Animals Asia: Kindness in Action in 2020
Michael Kovac/Getty Images for Animals Asia

Since retiring from acting, MacGraw has pursued other passions. She's a big supporter of animal rights and has been involved with organizations that support them. "I have to restrain myself from bringing home any more strays," she told AARP. She also put out a yoga video in 1994 called Ali MacGraw: Yoga Mind & Body. Currently, she collaborates with an organization called Ibu Movement, which supports women artisans around the world by selling their clothing, accessories, and homeware items.

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She's happy being outside of the Hollywood bubble.

Ali MacGraw at a Chanel event in 2019
Marc Piasecki/GC Images via Getty Images

For nearly 30 years, MacGraw has lived in New Mexico. "I love it because there are grownup women—women who don't strut around in the latest fashion and aren't afraid to let their hair go gray," she told AARP.

MacGraw also spoke of her life outside Santa Fe with the Sarasota Herald-Tribune in 2019. "I created a life for myself with those kind of people and community service and animals, and it's been wonderful," she said. "I love as you go further up in New Mexico where there is no one, the landscape is completely jaw-dropping—the sky, the clean air, endless miles of vista."

She's a proud grandmother.

Ali MacGraw, Robert Evans, and Josh Evans at Robert's Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony in 2002
Vince Bucci/Getty Images

MacGraw has been married three times: to banker Robin Hoen, producer Robert Evans, and actor and The Getaway co-star Steve McQueen. She has one son, filmmaker and actor Josh Evans, with her second husband.

It was around the time of her marriage to McQueen that she stopped acting as much. "At the time he was the biggest movie star in the world and he didn't want me to work, so I essentially quit making movies and took care of my child," she told AARP.

Now, through Josh, MacGraw is a grandmother.

She's surprised by the legacy of Love Story.

Ali MacGraw at the Chanel Cruise 2020 show in May 2019
Julien M. Hekimian/Getty Images for Chanel

"I am probably more shocked than anyone at the [enduring] response," MacGraw told AARP of Love Story. "I have traveled to all corners of the world, and it is something of an American classic by now."

She's also made clear that she's not a fan of its most famous line: "Love means never having to say you're sorry." She told Town & Country in 2020, "It doesn't mean anything! I've learned that we can make terrible mistakes with people we love." She shared her own, updated, wise words, too: "Try not to do it again—and try to clean up the hurt. It's the truth."

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Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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