For just over 50 years, an imposing estate in the tiny community of Douchy-Montcorbon, a couple of hours’ drive south of Paris, has been home to one of the best known, most dashing and wealthiest figures in French cinema.
Alain Delon, 87, who appeared in more than 90 films on both sides of the Atlantic, bought the property when he was in a relationship with the actress Mireille Darc. In the years since, several other women took up residence alongside the former heartthrob whose good looks turned him into an international sex symbol in the 1960s.
But now the star of classics such as The Leopard, The Swimming Pool and Borsalino finds himself embroiled in a real-life drama centered on the latest woman in his life: Hiromi Rollin, a Japanese former makeup artist two decades his junior, who was once the actor’s carer but appears to have morphed into something more — much to the alarm of Delon’s three adult children.
Last week Rollin was unceremoniously ejected from the property after the trio — Anthony, Anouchka and Alain-Fabien — filed a legal complaint against her for acts including moral harassment and misappropriation of correspondence, which Delon himself joined in a statement attached to the document. A separate complaint was filed by Anthony alone.
One of the allegations against Rollin is “cruelty to animals” — apparently Delon’s beloved Belgian shepherd, Loubo, one of 50 or so dogs he is thought to keep behind the high walls of the 30-acre estate. To make the point, Anouchka last week posted a poignant picture of the animal on her Instagram account.
Alain Delon finds himself embroiled in a real-life drama centered on the latest woman in his life: Hiromi Rollin, a Japanese former makeup artist two decades his junior.
There is also the matter of Delon’s fortune, which could amount to as much as $269 million, according to French media reports, thanks to a large property portfolio, judicious stock market investments and lucrative ventures into fashion and cosmetics. The veteran actor also owns several restaurants and a football club in Sceaux, the wealthy Parisian suburb where he was born in 1935.
As French media descended on Douchy-Montcorbon (population just over 1,000) the Delon children’s allegations were taken up by the local prosecutor’s office in nearby Montargis, which opened a formal investigation.
Rollin’s lawyer said that she “contests all the facts alleged against her”. She is also planning to file a complaint against members of the Delon family and the actor’s bodyguards over the “aggravated deliberate violence” she claims she suffered during her ejection from the property, which the lawyer said was “confirmed by a medical certificate”.
An assistant director, Rollin met Delon on the set of The Return of Casanova, which was released in 1992, and he then hired her to work on Frank Riva, a detective series that ran on French television in 2003-04.
More recently she appears to have become his carer and until a few years ago was being paid a salary by the actor. Her role became even more crucial after he suffered a stroke in 2019.
There is also the matter of Delon’s fortune, which could amount to as much as $269 million, thanks to a large property portfolio, judicious stock market investments and lucrative ventures into fashion and cosmetics.
During an appearance in a French television documentary in 2021, Delon presented her as his “companion” and praised the way she had been at his side during his recovery. That September she accompanied him to the funeral in Paris of Jean-Paul Belmondo, a fellow film legend and occasional co-star.
Delon’s children — all of whom have followed him into acting — became concerned at the growing closeness of their father’s relationship with Rollin and what they saw as her hold over him.
In a television interview, Anthony, 58, who was once the boyfriend of Princess Stéphanie of Monaco, said a turning point came when his father fell in an accident at home. “He had eight or nine stitches and was taken to hospital by ambulance,” he said. “It wasn’t until noon the next day, when my sister called him, that he told her he was in the hospital. I understood that there was something wrong.”
Friends including Jean-Pierre Lécluse, who for 20 years was Delon’s private film projectionist at his home, were also worried. Lécluse has claimed Rollin refused to let him enter the estate in Douchy-Montcorbon, but said he managed to meet the actor in May when he visited a cinema in Châteaurenard, near Avignon.
Lécluse said he wrote his telephone number on a piece of paper and gave it to Delon but Rollin took it from him.
In a statement, the Delon children’s lawyer claims that Rollin “systematically controls [Delon’s] telephone conversations and private messages. She answers in his place, pretending to be him, she tries to intercept his postal mail. She prevents his children from coming to see him regularly, as they have nevertheless always done. She is authoritarian, threatening, even going so far as to mistreat Mr Delon’s dog in an unacceptable way.”
To the children’s despair, Delon, weakened after his stroke, initially appeared to accept such behavior. Anthony said his father “seemed to be resigned to a life that did not suit him, but which he considered a price to pay, not for his tranquillity, but so as not to be alone at home with a medical assistant he did not know”.
For reasons that are unclear, the children were finally able to convince their father to acquiesce in his companion’s removal from his property, Château de la Brûlerie.
Where and with whom the actor will see out his remaining years is not clear. Either way, his beloved Loubo is expected to remain by his side.