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When we think about the late Audrey Hepburn’s legacy, we often think of her style, elegance, and classic girl next door look, Hepburn was a gifted actor and dancer who was extremely intelligent, even speaking five different languages. However, it’s also now clear that Hollywood crafted an image of her.

Hepburn was a self-proclaimed introvert who loved being alone and out of the spotlight. She also had a very challenging childhood, which left a mark on her for the rest of her life. In fact, her real name wasn’t even Audrey Hepburn.

Audrey Hepburn
Audrey Hepburn | Graphic House/Archive Photos/Getty Images

Audrey Hepburn had a rough childhood

Though she was the picture of elegance, Hepburn’s childhood was far from glamorous. The How to Steal a Million actor was born in Belgium and spent her childhood in England and the Netherlands.

Hepburn’s parents were Nazi sympathizers and members of the British Union of Fascists. However, her father abandoned the family when Hepburn was just a girl, and the actor often went hungry. The actor began dancing as a way to make money.

When she was a teen dancing in Amsterdam, Hepburn was discovered by French novelist Colette who hand-picked her for the titular role in Broadway’s Gigi. Audiences were immediately mesmerized by Hepburn, and she was immediately thrust into the limelight in the 1950s.

Audrey Hepburn wasn’t always confident in her appearance

Though the world knew Hepburn for her glamorous roles in films like My Fair Lady and Breakfast at Tiffany’s Hepburn didn’t always have the highest self-esteem. In fact, she often picked apart her appearance.

“I’d like to be not so flat-chested,” she once said. “I’d like not to have such angular shoulders, such big feet, and such a big nose.” The actor was particularly conscious about her feet, she wore a size 10 despite her petite frame. She also idolized Marilyn Monroe’s curvy figure and bombshell blonde hair.

Hepburn was so self-conscious about the size of her feet that she would order her signature ballet slippers one-half size up so that they did not look like she had squeezed her feet into them.

However, there was one thing that always gave Hepburn a boost — fashion. “Clothes always give me a great deal of self-confidence,” Hepburn says in director Helena Coan’s new documentary, Audrey.

This was Audrey Hepburn’s real name

The actor will go down as one of the most legendary performers of all time. However, Hepburn wasn’t even her real last name. The Roman Holiday actor was born  Audrey Kathleen Ruston; her family called her Adriaantje. Her mother Ella was a Dutch noblewoman, and her father was a British commoner.

The Funny Face star didn’t begin calling herself Audrey Hepburn until 1948. It actually worked out in her favor. Had anyone connected the dots that her parents were Nazi sympathizers while she was rising its fame, it would have absolutely crushed her career.