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O’Neal had been appalled, amused, and impressed, but not enough to hang around for more: things quickly flamed out. She’d rather not, of course, but she knows she has to. I’ve been humiliated like nobody’s been humiliated, everybody talking about it and laughing about it and joking about it.

So Margaret Trudeau did the only thing she could think of, which was to stop for Japanese takeout, then have the driver pull over on Sunset Boulevard so she could toss the entire meal at a billboard for I remind her of this story one night as we sit in the back of a car, on the outskirts of Toronto. Because she has to be authentic, she has to tell the truth, she has to get people to You can call it a crusade, or, if you’re a cynic, you can call it Margaret Trudeau giving a narrative to her past bad behavior under the guise of being a mental-health advocate. She knows that she hasn’t always done the right thing but that she’s doing the right thing now.“I’ve had the biggest shame of all,” she says. Just because of that, and that alone, means I’m the one to talk about it.

By the late 1970s she was an international sensation, the Holly Golightly of the Mounties, the wayward wife who had left Canada’s dashing, intellectual prime minister, Pierre, and their three young sons (the eldest, Justin, became prime minister in 2015) to pursue a life of glitz and unbridled hedonism that was splashed on the pages of every international tabloid.

She had met O’Neal at Studio 54, where she was a regular (“He was sort of like Cary Grant and Peter Lawford—lanky and tall and elegant, just perfect lines everywhere,” she says today), and where she once memorably sat on a patron’s birthday cake.

Ryan O’Neal, in those days, was still one of Hollywood’s favorite bad boys, a rake with sandy hair and a Pepsodent smile.

As most of O’Neal’s conquests did, Margaret enjoyed frisky fun with him, tumbling for his mix of boy-next-door charm and a touch of menace. She’s come to terms with all of this, with her torrid past and its resulting infamy, and with her serenity about it all, which seems genuine and hard-won.That is the essence of mental illness: not being able to access the reasoned, judgment part of your brain.”Margaret Sinclair was one of five daughters born to a Cabinet member and his wife.She was, in her own words, “a highly sexualized teenager” who drove a 1966 Beetle, smoked pot, took mescaline, and was obsessed with Keats.At 19—over the 1967 Christmas break—she went on a family trip to Tahiti and began dating Yves Lewis, 21, a French waterskiing champion who’d studied at the Sorbonne and whose grandfather was one of the founders of Club Med.One afternoon, on a raft by herself, she was joined by an older man, “clearly an athlete,” who had been slalom skiing nearby; their banter soon turned into a lively discussion.

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