Charlotte Rampling: ‘I am prickly. People who are prickly can’t be hurt any more’
She’s best known for her dark, difficult roles, and doesn’t suffer fools gladly. The actor talks about swinging in the 60s, family tragedy – and why she’s still got It
by Simon Hattenstone
Sat 27 Mar 2021 08.00 GMT
‘That photoshoot was such fun,” Charlotte Rampling says. “I was pinging.”
“You were pinging?”
“Yes, I really was pinging,” she says, with that imperious cut-glass accent. “Pinging is when you’re at the right place at the right time, and you know you can just make magic happen everywhere.” We don’t ping often in life, she says, but when we do, it’s wonderful.
It’s a cold, sunny day in Paris when we Zoom. Rampling is in her apartment in Saint-Germain-des-Prés, “which is just like the old Chelsea that I loved”. She is wearing shades, but takes them off to reveal those famous hooded blue-green eyes.
Does she feel more French than English these days? “I was thinking about this last week. I don’t feel I belong to one specific place. It doesn’t fit with who I am. I like to think I can spread further somehow. It’s a good feeling, actually. Quite often I have felt uncomfortable about it.” Why? “Because I thought it was one of the sources of feeling very alone. But I don’t think it is now.”
She says it is empowering when you accept that there is always a positive side to a negative, and vice versa. “When you think you’re riding on a good wave, you’re pretty sure the next one is going to be shite. We function through contrast.” What would life be like without the shite? “Really dull.”
The 75-year-old actor takes me back to the first time she knowingly pinged. She was 14, shy and withdrawn. The family was living in Harrow, Greater London, having recently returned from Fontainebleau where her army officer father had been stationed. She and her sister Sarah performed before an audience for the first time at the annual cabaret in suburban Stanmore. Anybody who was anybody turned up to The Smoking Concert and did a little turn. To her astonishment, she loved it. “I felt so great on stage. We wore fishnet tights, macs and berets, and sang a series of sweet French songs. I knew I was good, because I was absolutely in tune with myself at that moment.”
It was such a contrast to how she felt in real life. “I was deeply awkward inside myself. Things were incredibly difficult, but there, I felt just great.” She didn’t go on to study drama, or perform in school plays. She simply waited another year for an opportunity to ping in front of the good people of Stanmore.
Rampling’s background is unusual: her mother, Anne, was a painter and heiress to the Gurteen clothing company. “My mum had a lovely life. She was very cherished and loved by her family.” Meanwhile her father, Godfrey, himself the son of an officer, won a gold medal with the British 4x400m relay team at Hitler’s infamous 1936 Berlin Olympics, and later became a lieutenant colonel in the Royal Artillery.
“I was always a bit in love with my dad. He was tough and very good-looking, and I was rather besotted.” He was also extremely unhappy for much of his life. “Mum was the happy one. He was a troubled man, a haunted man. A lot of men were, of that generation, coming through war.” He never mentioned the gold medal, and she only discovered he had won it when she came across newspaper cuttings her mother had kept. When she asked to see it, he told her he had lost it on his travels. Was he proud of his achievements? “No, he wasn’t. That was his tragedy. But he lived till he was 100 and he was much better when he was very old.”
I tell her that I read he had described the young Charlotte as “prickly”. She hoots. “You picked up on that word! That makes me laugh.” Why? “Because I so picked up on that word, too. It’s a key word for me. Because I am prickly. Dad so got it.” What did he mean? “Well, what do you think? If you say prickly, what do you think of?” Not somebody you would want to cuddle? “Exactly. Somebody who kept you away – keeps you away. You can approach, but you really need to know how.” Somebody who could hurt you? “Yes, of course. You have to be very wary with them. People who are prickly can’t be hurt any more. They’ve had it. So we just have to be prickly to make sure nobody’s going to come in and grab us.” Has she been hurt badly? “Hmmm! I can’t tell you all that. What kind of conversation is this?” She laughs, but this time it sounds like a warning. “I give you a few clues and then you go wanting more!”
Hollywood wasn’t my cup of tea. I wanted to go into the auteur world of semi-darkness
Rampling went to prestigious private girls’ schools in France and in England, and at the age of 16 left for a secretarial college in London. At 17, she was spotted by a casting agent, and made her proper film debut (she was uncredited for a nightclub scene in A Hard Day’s Night) in the Boulting brothers’ comedy Rotten To The Core in 1965. A year later she struck gold with the 60s classic Georgy Girl, an upbeat comedy with a dark underbelly in which she played posh mean-girl Meredith. I remind Rampling of the trailer, which describes her as a “sexy little dish” and “a doll never out of trouble”.
It’s funny how people conflated you with your character, I say. “They did from the beginning because that’s what I was doing, really. I never considered myself as an actress in the grand sense of so many women of my generation, who had been to all the schools and done all the Shakespeare. I felt like a renegade, coming in and grabbing my place, which I hadn’t really deserved. So I said to myself early on: I play roles as if they were me.”
What about that description of her in the trailer? “No! I didn’t feel like a sexy little dish. But what I felt was power inside me, and sexuality is a power. I knew that I had sex appeal. You could feel you had this attraction. I didn’t have to wait for the boys to come – I had it, I didn’t have to flaunt it. And to put that energy into performing is very powerful. And it’s very sexy, too, because you know you can use it as far as you want, because nobody’s going to hurt you.” She is on a roll. “It’s not for real. You don’t actually have to have a real relationship. You can have all the fantasy of what another story, other than your life, could be, and that makes film-making really exciting.”
The 60s were swinging, and Rampling swung with the best of them. “Everything was happening all at once. There was a sense of freedom and hope and fun and laughter – everything could be possible.” Was she old enough to know that things had been different? “I was brought up in the 50s and they were pretty difficult. So when the 60s came, we were young and in London, and had a lot of money because the economy was good. And we had wild ideas about what we could do.”
Rampling comes to a sudden, crushing halt. “It stopped abruptly with my sister’s death,” she says. Sarah, who was three years older, had been living in Argentina with her husband when she took her own life, aged 23, in 1967, two months after giving birth prematurely to her son. “I couldn’t be what I had been before. I couldn’t be happy any more. Your whole life changes.” Had she realised Sarah suffered poor mental heath? “No. I knew she was fragile, but I didn’t know what mental health problems were.” She says Sarah had a profound ability to love and be loved; it was Sarah who had first recognised Charlotte’s talent when they performed together in Stanmore, telling her friends: “Charlotte is going to be known worldwide.”
At first Rampling’s father told her, and her mother, that Sarah had suffered a fatal brain tumour. It wasn’t until three years later that he told her the truth. That must have been a double grief? “Yep, sure was,” she says. She also had to keep it a secret: her father made her promise that she would never tell her mother, because he believed it would kill her. That must have been so tough, I say. “Sure was,” she repeats. Does she think it scarred her? “No, I’m not going to comment on that. Remember, I’m not only prickly, I’m distant. I only keep a distance so I can get as much understanding of the situation without being on top of it. And it works.” She refers me instead to a short memoir she wrote four years ago called Who I Am, in which Sarah plays a prominent role.
As well as the prickliness, you have a great ability to show tenderness in your work, I say. “Of course, why wouldn’t I? Have I been blacklisted from tenderness?” she fires back. Rampling’s voice is an incredible weapon – by turns curious, seductive, bored, teacherly, withering and compassionate.
After Sarah’s death, Rampling, barely into her 20s, was done with frivolity and hedonism. “What I said to myself is, ‘Now I have to go underground. If I’m going to be in the film industry, it’s not about making 60s-type fun films, it’s about going inside.’”
Was that for Sarah or for herself? “It was because it wasn’t decent to go out and just celebrate futile things and have fun.”
Did she discuss this with other people or just internally? “I discussed it internally, but boy, do you need help afterwards.” Where did she get that help? “You get professional help from psychiatrists and psychotherapists, reading a lot of philosophy and literature.” She says the book The Road Less Travelled by M Scott Peck helped greatly.
In her work, she went deeper, exposing herself in every way possible. Unlike so many Hollywood roles, the sexuality at the core of hers wasn’t cute or passive or submissive. It was challenging, confrontational, defiant; she stared into the camera with those remarkable eyes, almost daring us to return her gaze. The parts became increasingly transgressive: in The Night Porter, Rampling has a sadomasochistic relationship with her Nazi torturer; in ’Tis Pity She’s A Whore she has an incestuous affair with her brother; and in Max Mon Amour, she cheats on her diplomat husband with a chimpanzee. “Ah, the ape – I love it,” she says affectionately.
She rarely worked in America, and when she did it was with major league directors – Sidney Lumet in The Verdict, Woody Allen in Stardust Memories. Rampling says she simply wasn’t interested in Hollywood. “Let’s use a nice old English expression: it just wasn’t my cup of tea. I wanted to go into the auteur and European world of the semi-darkness.”
Her private life attracted as many headlines as her films. In the 60s she lived with her agent and partner, Bryan Southcombe, and their friend, the model Randall Laurence; there were rumours of a menage a trois, but she always denied it. She married Southcombe and they had a son, Barnaby – now a film-maker, who directed Rampling in the movie I, Anna in 2012.
In 1976, she met the composer Jean-Michel Jarre at a dinner party in Saint-Tropez; within days she had left Southcombe for him (Jarre left his wife, too). In 1978, they married and had a son, David; Rampling also brought up his daughter, Émilie. In 1995, their marriage broke down after she discovered his infidelity via the newspapers. In the late 90s, she began a long, happy relationship with journalist and businessman Jean-Noël Tassez, which lasted until his death in 2015, aged 59.
Today Rampling lives with two cats – a huge Maine Coon called Joe and an alley cat called Felix. Has there been anyone since Jean-Noël died? “I have a friend who I see, yes. In France you can call it amitié amoureuse. The French do have ways of talking about love that the rest of the world don’t. Amitié is friendship, amoureuse is to love, so it’s an in-love friendship.”
Soon after her separation from Jarre, she fell into a deep, prolonged depression and didn’t work for two years. I ask if she feared she would never make a comeback. She says that was an irrelevance at the time. “Come back or not come back, it didn’t really matter. I just needed to come back to being alive. To make films or to be a cook in a bakery; it didn’t really matter as long as I was still alive.”
Sure enough she did return – and has been hugely successful ever since: in French dramas (François Ozon’s Under The Sand and Swimming Pool), TV crime series (Broadchurch, Dexter), even feelgood movies (StreetDance). And, of course, there has been plenty of transgression along the way: the matron of a “whore school” in Red Sparrow; the lonely pickup artist in I, Anna; and the Reverend Mother in the forthcoming remake of Frank Herbert’s sci-fi classic Dune, in which she stars opposite Timothée Chalamet. She has now made well over 100 films, roughly half of them this century. Perhaps her most memorable recent performances have been in two quietly eviscerating films: 45 Years and Hannah. In both, she plays a woman haunted by her husband’s secret life.
Did her depression change her as an actor? “Yes, I think you’re much more conscious of being. You’re just more aware, the sensorial part of yourself goes through a huge change.” She comes to another sudden stop. “I can’t explain all this. I really can’t. I’m afraid I can’t even think about it any more because I don’t want to go there again.”
In 2016, aged 69, she won her first Oscar nomination, for 45 Years. It should have been a career highlight, but everything went horribly wrong. The previous year had seen the start of the #OscarsSoWhite protest movement, after all 20 acting nominations went to white actors (David Oyelowo had been regarded as a shoo-in for his brilliant portrayal of Martin Luther King in Selma). The same thing happened in 2016, and Rampling was asked on French radio about the campaign to boycott the awards. She replied, “It is racist to whites.” By the evening, she had issued a clarifying statement, saying: “I regret that my comments could have been misinterpreted. I simply meant to say that in an ideal world, every performance will be given equal opportunities for consideration. Diversity in our industry is an important issue that needs to be addressed.” But the damage had been done.
I’m using every piece of me. I always have. Even if I sometimes don’t want to be in the movies any more
Today, she says her head was all over the place. “I’d lost my partner Jean-Noël two months before. I’d lived with him for 20 years and he died of a ghastly cancer. It was early morning and it was a boom-boom-boom news programme and it went straight out.” But she knows she has no excuses. “I just blew it. I knew I’d blown it straight away.” She wasn’t aware of the full repercussions until the evening. “My ex-husband Jean-Michel called me and said, ‘What happened?’ And I said, ‘I don’t want to hear or read anything that people are saying, I know what I’ve said, and of course I will excuse myself. But that’s all I’ll do, because it was so violent how the haters reacted.’” Does she think her comments cost her the Oscar? “Yeah, probably,” she says giddily. “But that’s life, isn’t it?”
I suggest she’s making her best work now. But she’s not having any of it. “No, I don’t compartmentalise,” she says tersely. “Questions from a journalist are always so simplified. I don’t spend time thinking about that kind of thing. All I can say is, I’m using every piece of me, and I have always used every piece of me in any way I can. Even if I don’t want to, because sometimes I really don’t want to be in the movies any more.” Why not? “Because it’s a huge effort, more and more so now that I’m older. Physical, mental, the moving around, the locations, the hours, it takes a lot out of me.” Has she felt that for ages? “No, only since I hit 70. My 60s were great. I felt very strong. But in your 70s you need to go a little slower. I love the age I am now, but for work when you’ve got to be pinging a lot of the time, it is hard.”
We lose each other briefly on Zoom, then the picture returns. “Sorry, I nodded off,” she says sardonically. I apologise for boring her. “No, no, no, but we should hurry up a bit.” Rampling is keen to wrap up. She warns me to take care with the words when I write. “Don’t jumble them around too much. OK, my dear, over to you now.”
The following day I see the photoshoot, and understand just what Rampling means by pinging. I call to tell her how much they made me smile. She says she had such a fabulous time with the stylist, Jenke Ahmed Tailly, mixing and matching the outfits. I mention the outrageous white quilted short shorts. She bursts out laughing. “I didn’t think I could get into that outfit, till I started to ping.” Then there’s the photo of her in shades, jeans and headscarf. “We thought, oh my God! This is major, this look.” And you look so fantastically miserable, I say. “Right!” she says with delight. “Right!”
Old prickly me is finding better things in herself. Love yourself more and you can love others more
Is there a secret to being stylish? “You either have it or you don’t, I’m sorry to say. Everybody can look good and get clothes that are working. But it’s like the old ‘It factor’, when the moguls were choosing women to be stars and had them all lined up in their little bikinis, all dressed the same, and there’d just be one that had it. I don’t know what it is. Sometimes I’ve still got it.”
There is one thing I’m still curious about – was the rumour about a menage a trois with Bryan Southcombe and Randall Laurence in the 60s really a misunderstanding? “Well, I did have two boyfriends, which was racy at the time,” she says now. Why has she denied it in the past? “You still had parents who were quite conventional and you needed to protect them, and I didn’t want all the people in the golf club thinking…” She giggles. “You have to keep up appearances, don’t you?” How did she choose in the end – could she just as easily have married Randall? “Who knows what life has to offer you? But sometimes choices have to be made and I chose Bryan because I got pregnant. And you will say, how did you know it was his? I won’t go any further. But I chose Bryan, and Bryan is Barnaby’s father.”
‘I did have two boyfriends, which was racy at the time’: with soon-to-be-husband Bryan Southcombe (on right) and Randall Laurence, 1971. Photograph: Sorci/Camera Press
She pauses. “We were all very young. It was all chop and change. Quite a lot of things were experimental, I suppose. How to live a life! I don’t know whether I’ve got it now, but never mind – I had it!” Randall went his own way after she married Southcombe, and they lost touch. Southcombe died in 2007.
I’m thinking about the hurt she said she experienced as a child, and how she felt she no longer had the right to be happy after Sarah died. Yesterday she had said that work gets harder the older she gets; but does life get better in other ways? “Yeah, it does, actually.” How? “You can see I’ve done quite a lot of work to get somewhere in a more or less OK state. There’s more meaning to things, there’s something more loving. Perhaps old prickly me is finally finding a few better things in herself. And once you love yourself a bit more, you can love others more. So it all works together.”
And with that she signs off. “I did this because I’ve always loved the Guardian. So there we are. Bye bye. God bless.”
Tessa Charlotte Rampling OBE (born 5 February 1946) is an English actress, model, and singer, known for her work in European arthouse films in English, French, and Italian. An icon of the Swinging Sixties, she began her career as a model and later became a fashion icon and muse.
She was cast in the role of Meredith in the 1966 film Georgy Girl, which starred Lynn Redgrave. She soon began making French and Italian arthouse films, notably Luchino Visconti's The Damned (1969) and Liliana Cavani's The Night Porter (1974). She went on to star in Zardoz (1974), Farewell, My Lovely (1975), Woody Allen's Stardust Memories (1980), opposite Paul Newman in The Verdict (1982), Long Live Life (1984), Max, Mon Amour (1986), Angel Heart (1987), and The Wings of the Dove (1997). In 2002 she released an album of recordings in the style of cabaret, titled As A Woman.
In the 2000s, she became the muse of French director François Ozon, appearing in his films Under the Sand (2000), Swimming Pool (2003), and Angel (2007). On television, she is known for her role as Evelyn Vogel in Dexter (2013). In 2012 she was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award, both for her performance in the miniseries Restless. Other television roles include work in Broadchurch and London Spy, for the latter of which she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award. For her performance in the 2015 film 45 Years, she won the Berlin Film Festival Award for Best Actress, the European Film Award for Best Actress, and was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress. In 2017, she won the Volpi Cup for Best Actress at the 74th Venice International Film Festival for Hannah.
A four-time César Award nominee, she received an Honorary César in 2001 and France's Legion of Honour in 2002. She was made an OBE in 2000 for her services to the arts, and received the 2015 Lifetime Achievement Award from the European Film Awards. In 2015, she released her autobiography, which she wrote in French, titled Qui Je Suis, or Who I Am. She later worked on an English translation, which was published in March 2017.
Rampling was born in 1946 in Sturmer, Essex, the daughter of Isabel Anne (née Gurteen; 1918–2001), a painter, and Godfrey Rampling (1909–2009), an Olympic gold medallist and British Army officer. She spent most of her childhood in Gibraltar, France and Spain, before she returned to the UK in 1964.
She attended Académie Jeanne d'Arc in Versailles and St Hilda's School, a boarding school in Bushey, Hertfordshire, England. She had one sister, Sarah, who died by suicide in 1966, aged 23. She and Sarah had had a close relationship, and they had performed in a cabaret act together during their teenage years.
Rampling made her stage debut at the age of 14, singing French chansons with her sister at Bernays Institute in Stanmore. She began her career as a model and first appeared in a Cadbury advertisement. She was working as a secretary when she was noticed by a casting agent in the same building. Her first screen appearance, which was uncredited, was as a water skier in Richard Lester's film The Knack ...and How to Get It. She also appeared as an extra in Lester's next directorial outing, the Beatles film A Hard Day's Night (1964). In 1965, she was cast in the role of Meredith in the film Georgy Girl and was given a role by John Boulting in the comedy Rotten to the Core. In 1967, she starred opposite Yul Brynner in the adventure film The Long Duel. She also appeared alongside Franco Nero in the Italian film Sardinia Kidnapped (Sequestro di persona) (1968), directed by Gianfranco Mingozzi.
On television, Rampling played the gunfighter Hana Wilde in "The Superlative Seven," a 1967 episode of The Avengers. In 1969, she starred opposite Sam Waterston in the romance-drama Three, and in 1972, she starred opposite Robert Blake in the drama Corky and portrayed Anne Boleyn in the costume drama Henry VIII and His Six Wives. After this, her acting career blossomed in both English and French cinema.
Despite an early flurry of success, she told The Independent: "We weren't happy. It was a nightmare, breaking the rules and all that. Everyone seemed to be having fun, but they were taking so many drugs they wouldn't know it anyway."
Rampling has performed controversial roles. In 1969, in Luchino Visconti's The Damned (La Caduta degli dei), she played a young wife sent to a Nazi concentration camp. Critics praised her performance, and it cast her in a whole new image: mysterious, sensitive, and ultimately tragic. "The Look," as her co-star Dirk Bogarde called it, became her trademark.
1970–Early 1980s: adult roles, Hollywood and Italian cinema
She appeared nude in the cult classic Vanishing Point, in a scene deleted from the U.S. theatrical release (included in the U.K. release). Lead actor Barry Newman remarked that the scene was of aid in the allegorical lilt of the film.
In 1974's The Night Porter, in which she again appears alongside Dirk Bogarde, she plays a former concentration camp inmate who, after World War II, reunites with a former camp guard (Bogarde) with whom she had had an ambiguous, sadomasochistic relationship. Their relationship resumes, and she becomes his mistress and victim once again. In Max mon amour, she played a woman who falls in love with a chimpanzee. In 1974, she posed nude for Playboy photographs by Helmut Newton. In 1976 she co-presented for Best Art Direction-Set Decoration Award with Anthony Hopkins at the 48th Academy Awards.
In 1974, Rampling starred in John Boorman's science-fiction film Zardoz opposite Sean Connery. She also starred with Peter O'Toole in Foxtrot (1976) and with Richard Harris in Orca (1977). She gained recognition from American audiences in a remake of Raymond Chandler's detective story Farewell, My Lovely (1975) and later with Woody Allen's Stardust Memories (1980), and in The Verdict (1982), an acclaimed drama directed by Sidney Lumet that starred Paul Newman.
The middle 1980s and the 1990s
Rampling starred in Claude Lelouch's 1984 film Viva la vie (Long Live Life), before going on to star in the cult-film Max, Mon Amour (1986), and appear in the thriller Angel Heart (1987). For a decade she withdrew from the public eye due to depression. In the late 1990s, she appeared in The Wings of the Dove (1997), played Miss Havisham in a BBC television adaptation of Great Expectations (1998), and starred in the film adaptation of Anton Chekov’s The Cherry Orchard (1999), directed by Michael Cacoyannis. In 1997, she was a jury member at the 54th Venice International Film Festival.
Rampling credits François Ozon with drawing her back to film in the 2000s, a period when she came to terms with the death of her elder sister Sarah who, after giving birth prematurely in 1966, died by suicide at 23. "I thought that after such a long time of not letting her be with me," she told The Guardian, "I would like to bring her back into my life."The character she played in Ozon's Swimming Pool (2003), Sarah Morton, was named in her sister's honour.
For most of Rampling's life, she would say only that her sister had died of a brain haemorrhage; when she and her father learned of Sarah’s death, they agreed they would never let her mother know the truth. They kept their secret until Rampling's mother died in 2001.
Rampling appeared in Tony Scott's Spy Game (2001), and she earned César Award nominations for Under the Sand (2000), Swimming Pool (2003), and Lemming (2005). At 59, she appeared in Laurent Cantet's Heading South (Vers le Sud), a 2005 film about sexual tourism. She appeared as Ellen, a professor of French literature, who holidays in 1970s Haiti to get the sexual attention she does not get at home.
On her choice of roles, Rampling said, "I generally don't make films to entertain people. I choose the parts that challenge me to break through my own barriers. A need to devour, punish, humiliate or surrender seems to be a primal part of human nature, and it's certainly a big part of sex. To discover what normal means, you have to surf a tide of weirdness."
The actress has continued to work in sexually provocative films, such as Basic Instinct 2 (2006). In 2008, she portrayed Countess Spencer, the mother of Keira Knightley's title character, in The Duchess and played the High Priestess in post-apocalyptic thriller Babylon A.D.. In 2002, she recorded an album titled Comme Une Femme, or As A Woman. It is in both French and English, and includes passages that are spoken word as well as selections which Rampling sang.. In February 2006, Rampling was named as the jury president at the 56th Berlin International Film Festival.
She has been seen on the covers of Vogue, Interview and Elle magazines and CRUSHfanzine. In 2009, she posed nude in front of the Mona Lisa for Juergen Teller. In 2009, Rampling appeared in Todd Solondz's Life During Wartime.
In 2010, she completed filming Cleanskin, a terrorist thriller, and played Miss Emily in the dystopian romantic fantasy Never Let Me Go. She also appeared as Helena in the dance drama StreetDance 3D and the nun Mary in The Mill and the Cross with Michael York and Rutger Hauer. In 2011, she appeared in Lars Von Trier's Melancholia. For her role in the 2012 miniseries Restless, Rampling was nominated for a Primetime Emmy Award and a Screen Actors Guild Award. In 2013, she appeared as Dr. Evelyn Vogel in the final season of Dexter. Rampling also appeared as Alice in the drama Jeune et Jolie and the elderly Adriana do Prado in Night Train to Lisbon. Other television roles include the ITV drama Broadchurch (2015) and the BBC drama London Spy (2015). In 2014, she was named the new face of NARS Cosmetics to launch their new lipstick campaign.
In 2015, Rampling starred opposite Tom Courtenay in Andrew Haigh's 45 Years. The film is about a couple preparing to celebrate their 45th wedding anniversary when new information regarding the husband's missing previous lover arises. 45 Years was screened in the main competition section of the 65th Berlin International Film Festival. She won the Silver Bear for Best Actress and Tom Courtenay won the Silver Bear for Best Actor. For this role, she also won the Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress, the European Film Award for Best Actress, was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress, and also received nominations for the BIFA Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a British Independent Film and the Critics' Choice Movie Award for Best Actress.
In 2016, Rampling accused those boycotting that year's Academy Awards ceremony of hostility towards Caucasians. Her comments were called "offensive, outrageous and ignorant" by Chelsea Clinton, while they were defended by Clint Eastwood. Rampling later apologised for her comments and expressed regret that her statements were misinterpreted.
That same year, Rampling backed children's fairytales app, GivingTales, in aid of UNICEF together with Roger Moore, Stephen Fry, Ewan McGregor, Joan Collins, Joanna Lumley, Michael Caine, David Walliams, Paul McKenna and Michael Ball.
In 2017, Rampling co-starred as Veronica Ford with Jim Broadbent and Emily Mortimer in The Sense of an Ending, which was based on the novel by Julian Barnes. It had its world premiere at the Palm Springs International Film Festival in January 2017. Her next film was in Andrea Pallaoro's Hannah, where she portrayed the title role of the wife of a man imprisoned on uncertain charges. For her role, she was awarded the Volpi Cup for Best Actress award at the 74th Venice International Film Festival.
In 2017, Rampling starred opposite Alicia Vikander and Eva Green in Euphoria, directed by Lisa Langseth. In January 2019, she was cast as Reverend Mother Gaius Helen Mohiam in the upcoming Denis Villeneuve adaptation of Dune.
In 1972, Rampling married New Zealand actor and publicist Bryan Southcombe and had a son, Barnaby (who became a television director), before divorcing in 1976. The couple was reported to have been living in a ménage à trois with a male model, Randall Laurence, and in 1974, Rampling was quoted by the syndicated columnist Earl Wilson as saying: "There are so many misunderstandings in life. I once caused a scandal by saying I lived with two men [...] I didn't mean it in a sexual sense [...] We were just like any people sharing an apartment."
In 1978, Rampling married French composer Jean-Michel Jarre and had a second son, David Jarre, who became a musician and singer. She raised her stepdaughter, Émilie Jarre, who became a fashion designer. The marriage was publicly dissolved in 1997, when Rampling learned from tabloid newspaper stories about Jarre's affairs with other women.
Rampling was engaged to Jean-Noël Tassez, a French journalist and businessman, from 1998 until his death in 2015. Rampling lives in Paris. She has also suffered from depression.