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In the years since the Cars frontman Ric Ocasek’s shocking death in 2019, supermodel Paulina Porizkova has become more and more frank about the reality of their over-30-year relationship. They met when she was 19 years old, married five years later in 1989, and announced their separation in 2017. The former couple continued to live together, and to Porizkova’s recollection, “remained best friends” — which made it all the more shocking when she discovered after his death that he had recently written her completely out of his will. In her new essay collection No Filter: The Good, The Bad, and the Beautifulout November 15, Porizkova dives deep into the dual trauma of Ocasek’s death and his betrayal, and also takes an unflinching eye to her and Ocasek’s “obsessive,” controlling relationship, a heady experience that she views with both longing and regret.
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One aspect of Porizkova and Ocasek’s relationship that has long been suspected but never confirmed is how exactly they overlapped with Ocasek’s second marriage to wife Suzanne. In September 2020, Porizkova clearly alluded to their relationship starting with Ocasek being unfaithful to Suzanne with an Instagram photo that shows her and her late husband on the 1984 music video set where they first met. Ric and Suzanne would go on to finalize their divorce in 1988.
‘No Filter’ by Paulina Porizkova
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“I now realize our love started with a betrayal (of his then-wife) and ended with betrayal,” Porizkova wrote under the photo. “But in the thirty-five years we spent together, most of the years were good. That is what I am trying to learn to remember.”
In No FilterPorizkova goes into much more detail about the timeline of their romance and what she knew about Ocasek’s home life at the time, confirming that she and the singer-songwriter carried on a years-long intense affair during his second marriage, and that she and Ocasek had been “living in secret for three years” by the time he left Suzanne in 1987.
As Porizkova showed on Instagram, she and Ocasek first met on the set of one of his music videos, for the Cars’ hit song “Drive” in 1984. But the young model knew of Ocasek before their paths crossed on that set — he’ d caught her eye on MTV months before they met in May.
“I couldn’t look away,” she wrote of first seeing him on TV. “My god, Him. He seemed so confident, and also awkwardly beautiful…I had a new celebrity crush.”
Meeting him in person was equally electric, and they started a relationship right away.
“Watching him walk across the room towards me, I knew this was the man I was going to marry,” she writes. “There was a crowded nightclub, a stolen kiss in the hallway, and two days of shooting the video at a soundstage in Brooklyn, where a lot more kissing happened in my dressing room. At some point between kisses, I asked him to tell me something secret about himself…And that’s when he told me he was married.”
“It was a glass of cold water thrown in my face,” she continued. “But quickly, with my nineteen-year-old reasoning, I figured it always took two to be unhappy in a relationship, so clearly his was not a good marriage. That was that. We resumed kissing.
A few months later, Porizkova learned that he was not only married, but had two young sons with his wife Suzanne: Eron, age 11 when Ocasek first met Porizkova, and Derek, age 3.
“It wasn’t until a few months of me pressing him to leave his wife that he told me there were children,” she writes. “I tried to break off the relationship, but I couldn’t. Instead, our love was made greater and more dramatic by the fact that it was illicit.”
Porizkova was hesitant to push for him to break up his family given her own childhood growing up with divorced parents, but she didn’t feel capable of leaving the relationship. She waited, becoming more and more entwined with Ocasek with every passing year.
“In 1987, he left his wife,” Porizkova recalls. His divorce was finalized in 1988, and she and Ocasek married in 1989. Decades later, this betrayal of his ex-wife Suzanne seemed to come more clearly into view for Porizkova as she considered her own betrayal by Ocasek — both his cutting her out of his will before his passing, claiming she “abandoned” him, and how he neglected and ignored her in the later years of their marriage. Through Instagram and through these essays, Porizkova is putting a new lens on her love story with Ocasek — and her candor about the beginning of their relationship is one more way for her to share the unfiltered truth.
No Filter: The Good, the Bad, and the Beautiful by Paulina Porizkova
‘No Filter’ by Paulina Porizkova
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