Read Excerpt: 'Beyond the Cleavage' by Raquel Welch

In the film, it takes Robbins twenty-odd years to dig himself out of captivity and into freedom. There were times when I wondered if I, too, would ever dig myself out from behind that image and into the liberating light of day. But I've grown fond of my former alter ego—cave girl Loana. She and I get along just fine now. After all, we're basically different sides of the same personality. And if I ask her nicely, she steps aside and gets out of my way. Nevertheless, the loincloth is in mothballs now. When I look back at that poster today, I have to smile and say, "Who is she?"

After our marriage crashed and burned, Jim got drafted and joined the Green Berets. Once separated, we ended up in two different worlds and we lived continents apart. For a number of reasons, including the distance, our work demands and bruised feelings, Jim and I didn't confer directly for an extended period of time. My mother or sister would pass messages between us. As a result, the children only visited with their father intermittently for a while. It was far from ideal, and I blame myself for allowing that.

I carried on with my career and remarried three more times. I made more than forty-five feature films, tackled Broadway musicals, and had my successes. Jim became a multimillionaire real estate deve¬oper. He's married, and he and his wife Jean have a son, Jonas. Damon and Tahnee now enjoy a close relationship with their father, and he and I have been on very friendly terms for decades.

Fortunately, my children and I have a good relationship, and they're still my great joy. My son, Damon, became a computer consultant engineer, and my daughter, Tahnee, a talented actress known for her role in Cocoon. They are a source of pride and hope to me because of the kind of people they've turned out to be. They have always grounded me and given me purpose, as well as the moral courage to follow my better convictions. Now if they'll just give me grandchildren, I'll be complete. That's an ambition of mine only they can fulfill.

I should add that, at my present age, with the luxury of hindsight, I've noticed a tendency in my gender to underestimate the value of being a member of the female sex. I've fought that tendency in myself, and have come to adopt a more positive and empowering attitude toward the art of being a woman.

And as for you, dear reader, I hope that some of my backstory has brought us closer together. Now that you know a little more about me and how I evolved as a woman, let's move ahead.

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