July 1, 2022

her boyfriend left her over the phone after an HIV test

After discovering her HIV status at 17, Charlotte Valandrey sees her life change overnight. But his will to live allowed him to take his revenge on life. Discover the incredible story of a now “sero-inoffensive” actress who puts her experience and notoriety at the service of others.

Charlotte Valandrey’s life was turned upside down when, at the age of 15, she received a telegram from Véra Belmont, a French film director, to play in her film “Rouge Kiss”. At first, her parents didn’t want her to do the film, because they found the script too violent.

In the end, without too much fuss, they gave in and in no time, their daughter became a real celebrity.

Charlotte Valandrey, French actress and writer, Erba, Italy, July 12, 2012. | Photo: Getty Images

She goes through the red carpets, the interviews, but she still could not realize what was happening to her. She had this feeling that “it was too good to be true”.

But ultimately, this unexpected adventure, she takes it head on, and she is doing so well that she becomes the new muse of French cinema. Unfortunately, at his 17 years, the unlikely happens.

She learns that she is HIV positive. He was then given only a few months to live. Yet despite her illness and a heart transplant, she just turned 53, keeping the promise she made when she was 20.

Charlotte Valandrey, French actress and writer, Erba, Italy, July 12, 2012. | Photo: Getty Images

Back on the incredible journey of Charlotte Valandrey, a woman who has succeeded in defying the forecasts and who today, every day, listens to her heart beat, while devoting a true declaration of love to life.

At 17, when everything seemed to smile professionally on her – winning the Silver Bear for Best Actress in 1986 as well as a César nomination for Most Promising Actress for that role, Charlotte Valandrey was stunned by reading her mail.

When she opens the lab envelope, she learns that she has contracted the HIV virus. Everything collapses. She does not understand. With her lover at the time – a drug addict musician named Yoan, she had a first test which showed a negative result.

Charlotte Valandrey, French actress and writer. | Photo: Getty Images

“I am paralyzed (…) My head is turning inside me (…) Why me? Why this ? Why ? I didn’t have time to grow up. I was not told anything. I just heard two or three things on TV (…) I didn’t pay attention. But beware of what, of love? Do you have to be wary of love? I was naïve, an immortal princess like all girls of my age, maybe a little more ”,

And to make matters worse, her boyfriend had decided to break up with her over the phone, leaving her completely dumped. She tells in her book “Love in the blood” that at that time, she even thought of dying.

But after hitting rock bottom, she decides to put HIV aside and fill her life with positive. Thus, despite her seropositivity, the actress succeeds in “triumphing” over this evil which inhabited her, undoubtedly driven by an unshakeable desire to find “a normal life”.

Charlotte Valandrey, French actress and writer. | Photo: Getty Images

The years go by and Charlotte Valandrey devours life. Hope erects its banner. But everything changed during the summer of 2003 when her heart decided to let go of her a second time. The results of his ultrasound are clear, he needs a new heart.


It is thus, after having survived two infarcts and only remaining 10% of his cardiac capacity, in particular because of a necrotic heart and blocked arteries that the improbable occurred. An organ donation unexpectedly saves his life. His savior? A donor who died on November 4, 2003, thanks to which she continues her life “and hers” at the same time.

Charlotte Valandrey, French actress and writer. | Photo: Getty Images

In her book, Charlotte talks about this experience as follows:

“I don’t realize anything, I don’t realize that I’m going to be sawn in half, that the operation will last seven hours, that this type of transplant is a medical first in France, on an HIV-positive. I don’t want to know, I’m doing the immortal one more time. Denying my physical reality has helped me. In the recovery room, super-plugged in, connected to the blood and air machine, I very quickly felt my graft beating. I adopted it. My heart is my pre-Christmas present – I had an operation in November – a very nice gift.

My only worry was: what if I get the heart of someone who has been even more in love than me, crazier, more passionate? Did he like it more than me? I understood it belonged to a woman. She saved me, that changes everything. A priori, I no longer have the right to want to fuck myself out of the window, you have to get up. ”

Charlotte Valandrey, French actress and writer. | Photo: Getty Images


With all the medicines she had to take, Charlotte watched her body transform day after day. If today the writer enjoys it, there was a time when she had been totally upset.

“One day, I don’t remember what activity I was doing, I was crying over my appearance, the person who gave me the course said to me:“ But your body has stood up for you, it suffered and yet it carries you, he works”,

That day, those few words allowed her to come to terms with herself.

Charlotte Valandrey, French actress and writer. | Photo: Getty Images


In her second book, “De cœur inconnu”, published in 2011, Charlotte tells her heart transplant and the absolutely unbelievable story that followed. Apparently, after having foiled the grim reaper’s plans, she reveals to have met a certain Yann.

A game of seduction then begins between the two, and they end up dating. But the actress decides to put an end to this story, worthy of a fairy tale when she learns that he is potentially the husband of her giver of heart.

Indeed, one day, while rummaging in her office, Charlotte discovers that he was once married to a certain Virginie, who died on November 4, 2003 in a fatal accident, one stormy evening, place de la Nation, in Paris ” . Does this date mean nothing to you?

Charlotte Valandrey, French actress and writer. | Photo: Getty Images

“When I discovered the death certificate, my hands were shaking and I couldn’t breathe! In another pocket, an article in Le Parisien mentioned my transplant. I understood that he had lied to me and that by seducing me, he continued to love his wife, by proxy, through the heart she gave me ”,

“A first step” towards healing

You should know that from the moment Charlotte announced her HIV status, the world of cinema turned its back on her overnight. The one who was promoted to an extraordinary career no longer had any proposals for films or TV films.

Charlotte Valandrey, French actress and writer. | Photo: Getty Images

For a long time she lost interest in simple pleasures that she was happy to do and the rejection she had since faced did not improve her situation in any way. But there was one thing that gave him peace of mind.

During this time, one of the only things that kept him going was the music. Apparently, listening to Robbie Williams helped her move forward. Huming her songs was “a step towards life”, a first step towards healing.

The heartbreaking wish she made at the age of 20 has recently been fulfilled

Drowned in deep distress by the situation that had imposed itself on her, the actress, in a surge of despair, had made, at the time, an overwhelming promise to her loved ones.

At the age when most young people allowed themselves to dream of plans for the future, to found a family, Charlotte, at 20, said only that she wanted to live longer. Just half a century would have been enough for him.

“When I was 20, I made a promise on New Year’s Day: it was to turn 50. I was asked: “what do you wish for this year?” I said: “to be 50 years old”. And that’s it, I am. It’s so much happiness, so much emotion ”,

Wish largely granted since she just celebrated her 53th birthday on November 29, 2021.

3 years ago, June 2018, Charlotte had explained on the set of “C à vous” that with hindsight, she realized that if he had been able to live until then, it was also in large part thanks to the state of mind that she had forged, in particular by applying the principle of optimism.

“If I had lived with statistics in my ear when I woke up in the morning, I would have given myself, I don’t know, a few months to live, a year, two months, six months. When in fact, I never believed in that ”,

Finally, Charlotte Valandrey is an admirable woman whose story is a perfect example of resilience, fighting spirit and love.