Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg: a romance of a lifetime

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As famous romantic couples go, none have quite surpassed the great love affair that was Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg – the epitome of romance throughout the late ’60s and ’70s.

Having had what is regarded by many as one of the greatest romances of the 20th century, the couple quickly became the ultimate in ’70s chic, having first met on the set of the film ‘Slogan’ back in 1968. You may also recall the theme tune they recorded at the time, entitled ‘La chanson de slogan’, although their most famous recording without a doubt is ‘Je t’aime… moi non plus’.

As for first dates, the couple didn’t have the most romantic of beginnings, having gone on a crawl of Paris nightclubs before ending the night in a transvestite bar. When Serge could no longer handle his drink, he brought Jane back to the Hilton Hotel with him before swiftly passing out.

Despite this, the couple seemed to get on swimmingly, and they soon fell deeply in love and were inseparable. Serge was 20 years older than Jane, but their relationship managed to last a not-unimpressive 13 years – a period where the couple not only collaborated creatively, but also produced their only daughter, Charlotte Gainsbourg (now 43).

The now infamous ‘Je t’aime… moi non plus,’ was thought at the time to be so x-rated that it was actually denounced by the Vatican, as well as being entirely banned from airplay here in the United Kingdom. Still, it’s a song that most people will recognise almost instantly.

Despite having a long relationship full of intense love and creativity, the couple never married, although Jane later said she regretted her decision to turn Serge down. Finally she left Serge in 1980, mainly due to his drinking.

However, the romance never died in Serge, and he continued to love Jane and write songs for her long after they broke up. He even bought her a diamond just three days before he died of a heart attack in 1991.

Jane has claimed she couldn’t have had anyone who loved her more, and the romance of Jane Birkin and Serge Gainsbourg is still remembered fondly even today.