Screen Siren Sophia Loren Talks Plastic Surgery, Family and New Memoir

Why Sophia Loren didn’t succumb to industry pressure.

ByABC News
November 12, 2014, 8:13 AM

— -- Screen siren Sophia Loren has been in front of the camera for most of her life, and even though she’s is now 80 years old, the celebrated Italian actress still thinks of her next project when she wakes up every morning.

“It’s never enough,” she said.

“There is always something to look forward to in life. Whatever age you have,” Loren told ABC News correspondent Chris Connelly.

Even though she told Connelly that she burns her journals every year -– because it’s something she likes “to keep private” –- her new memoir, "Yesterday, Today and Tomorrow: My Life,” was released earlier this month.

In the book, the actress recaps her storied career, her friendships with Hollywood’s biggest stars, and her cherished family, including film producer husband Carlo Ponti, whom she calls the man of her life.

Speaking of her family, Loren talked about how happy she was to finally have her sons, Edoardo and Carlo, after a long time during which she thought motherhood would be impossible for her.

“But then at the end, it happened ... for a woman to be a mother, it’s the most beautiful thing in the world,” she said.

As a rising star, Loren had a relationship with co-star and Hollywood heartthrob Cary Grant, who asked her to marry him. She chose Ponti, who was more than 20 years her senior, and remained married to him until his death in 2007.

Because Loren had grown up poor and without a father, Ponti represented security, she said.

“We trusted each other immensely, and we loved each other,” she told Connelly. “And also … I never had a father. And for me, Carlo was also my father. So he was everything for me.”

The actress famous for her voluptuous figure also talked to Connelly about the industry, where stars – especially women – are pressured to look perpetually young and thin, even if it means having plastic surgery.

“It’s your choice,” she said. “It’s person’s choice to be terribly thin. Or maybe because you’re intimidated, you don’t like yourself or you want to be different. I don’t know. I like myself as I am,” she said.

She also says she hasn’t worried about getting older.

“You have to follow the laws of life,” she said, but she noted that the choice to have plastic surgery is a very personal one that each actress must make on her own.

“I like myself,” she said. “I like my skin. I don’t want anybody to take it away from me. So I couldn’t do anything, really. But if it becomes a problem, it’s up to you."

Loren told Connelly that she became an actress because watching films – featuring acting greats such as Betty Grable, Carmen Miranda and Joan Crawford -- was the one thing that made her feel happy in her tough youth.

“And of course, nobody in my family had in mind that one day I was going to become an actress,” she said. “They would have thought I was crazy. But I always had it (in) my mind that this kind of nice feeling that made me feel alive, made me feel better, made me feel that the world was not so bad as I thought once, was for me … .”

In her book, she talked about the joy of being able to express her feelings through acting for the first time.

“My acting was my experience,” she said. “And I really knew that my experience was very useful for me. That was the only school I had. Life.”

Loren has appeared in dozens of films and won numerous awards, including the Academy Award for Best Actress for her appearance in the 1960 Italian film,"Two Women." That turn remains one of her favorite roles, along with her appearance in "A Special Day," she said.

Throughout her life, she formed friendships with Gregory Peck, Richard Burton, Peter O’Toole, among other Hollywood legends.

As for more current actors, when Connelly asked Loren who she liked to watch, she replied: “Daniel Day-Lewis, I like very much. Meryl Streep, I like very much, very, very much,” she said.