Michael Caine has had quite the iconic career in Hollywood. The British actor, 88, was nominated for an Oscar for the first time in 1966 for his performance in Alfie. He would go on to be nominated for an Academy Award a total of six times, winning Best Supporting Actor twice with Hannah and her Sisters in 1987 and The Cider House Rules in 2000. More recently, he could be seen in 2010’s Inception and 2018’s King of Thieves. Michael was even made a knight by Queen Elizabeth in 2000.
In his personal life, Michael has also found great success. With his first wife, Patricia Haines, the actor welcomed daughter Dominique. After the couple split in 1962, Michael would soon meet Shakira Baksh, with whom he has been married to for almost 50 years. Find out all about the former model who stole his heart, below.
Shakira hails from Guyana.
Shakira was born on February 23, 1947 in St. Cuthbert’s Mission, British Guyana. When she was only 16 years old, she left school worked as a secretary at a U.S. Information Service office. While she was an employee, fighting broke out in her homeland and the office was destroyed.
She joined beauty pageants to forge a better life.
Shakira wanted to find a better life outside Guyana, which she believed was possible by joining beauty pageants. As a teenager, she registered in a beauty contest and won the title of “Miss Guyana” in 1966. She went on to compete in the “Miss World” competition in 1967 where she won third place.
Michael first saw Shakira in a commercial.
In his autobiography What’s It All About, the Jaws 4 actor detailed the first time he laid eyes on his future wife. He and a friend were watching TV back in the early 70s when they saw an ad for Maxwell House coffee. Shakira was dancing in the background and Michael was transfixed. “My heart started pounding and my palms became sweaty,” the actor wrote. Michael sat himself in front of the TV to get a better look. “This girl is amazing,” he told his friend. “I want to meet her.”
Shakira made Michael fall in love with her in ‘2 minutes.’
After witnessing the commercial, Michael decided he had to meet this mystery women, according to his autobiography. During a very fortunate run-in with a friend who worked for the commercial company, the actor eventually got Shakira’s phone number. Michael called her 11 times until she finally said “yes” to a date with him. “I fell in love with her in about 8 minutes and it took her 2 hours to love me back,” the actor told RadioTimes.
“He was everything I didn’t expect,” Shakira told People back in 1976. “I had just seen him in Get Carter and he seemed so aggressive and ruthless. Instead, I found him charming and very gentle, someone whom I’d like to spend part of my life with. Michael was at that time still very much against marriage.”
The couple would go on to marry in 1973 and soon afterwards welcome daughter Natasha.
She saved Michael from his destructive drinking.
Before he met Shakira, Michael had a bottle-of-vodka-a-day habit, which coincided with his heavy smoking. The actor credits his wife with saving his life, as he told The Telegraph he would have drunk himself to death if she didn’t agree to be his partner. “She didn’t tell me to give up drinking, I just wanted to be sober and alive with her.”
He echoed the sentiment to People in 1976, saying, “If you’ve led my life in the past now is the time when you start to get it together and become a valuable entity as a husband and a family man. If I’d tried to do that at 17, this is the age when it would fall apart.”