Ali MacGraw Left Hollywood to Live In ‘Tiny’ Village Cottage in Mountains: Actress Is Volunteer Now

Renowned actress Ali MacGraw, celebrated for her iconic roles in 1970s classics like “Love Story” and “The Getaway,” celebrated another year on April 1, 2024. Interestingly, it’s worth noting that she also marked her 76th birthday on the same date back in 2015.

This indicates that in 2024, on her birthday, MacGraw was edging closer to the age of 90, having already turned 85! Despite her fame, the actress, then 84, sought to blend in with the crowd on the evening of June 15, 2023, enjoying a casual dinner outing with friends.

The beloved Hollywood star chose Casa Chimayo, a Mexican restaurant, for her dinner rendezvous. The restaurant warmly welcomed MacGraw and her companions, capturing a memorable photo that later found its way onto the establishment’s Facebook page.

In the snapshot, MacGraw, with her silver hair shining, flashed a radiant smile as she posed alongside her friends. Opting for a relaxed ensemble, the “Just Tell Me What You Want” actress donned a navy long-sleeved shirt paired with beige pants, accentuated by striking metallic earrings that complemented her natural, makeup-free beauty.

While MacGraw has gracefully embraced the aging process, she hasn’t always approached it with the same ease as some. In a 2019 interview, she candidly shared her struggles with the concept of growing older. She recounted a moment of existential dread as she approached her 80th birthday:

“Come November, I started waking up in the middle of the night thinking, ‘Oh my God, the road ahead is so much shorter than the one behind me. I’m going to be 80.’ It was a feeling I’d never experienced before.”

Fortunately, MacGraw found solace in sharing her anxieties with her therapist. She described it as a period of “doomsday fear,” unlike anything she’d encountered previously. Her therapist’s advice to focus on the present moment and acknowledge that worries about the future are merely constructs of the mind proved invaluable.

Over the next three months, the actress, who once had a romantic history with Ryan O’Neal and toured with him, grappled with the impending milestone of turning 80. During this period, she reflected on her friend Gloria Steinem’s response to a compliment about her appearance: “This is what 40 looks like.” MacGraw’s interpretation evolved to:

“This is what 80 looks like.”

MacGraw recognized that with age comes a heightened awareness of time’s passage and life’s finite nature. She delved into her past, from childhood to the present, acknowledging how each experience shaped her into the person she is today.

The actress stressed the importance of confronting past regrets and mistakes head-on, likening it to traversing through fire to reach the other side. She refused to let resentment or denial define her, recognizing that confronting and addressing negative experiences was essential for personal growth.

As MacGraw reflected on her journey of self-discovery in her later years, she attributed her newfound clarity to intentional effort and focus. By shifting her perspective and addressing unresolved issues, she found greater contentment and fulfillment in her senior years:

“I refuse to harbor anger anymore, to pretend everything’s fine while simmering with resentment underneath. Changing that mindset takes effort and focus, and I couldn’t have done it alone.”

MacGraw emphasized feeling blessed, fortunate, and happy as the years passed. While she acknowledged life’s ups and downs, she remained grateful for the journey. MacGraw’s decision to settle into a quiet life away from the limelight led her to Tesuque, a picturesque village nestled north of Santa Fe in New Mexico.

Her move stemmed from environmental concerns following the loss of her Malibu home to wildfires. Troubled by the escalating frequency of natural disasters in California, she sought refuge in New Mexico. MacGraw initially explored smaller properties near Malibu but ultimately found solace in the serene surroundings of Tesuque.

Reflecting on her current lifestyle, MacGraw expressed contentment with her choice:

“I live in a quaint village called Tesuque, north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. I had helped design a friend’s house there. I bought a small cottage nestled in the mountains… I’m content with my life.”

Despite initially considering a beachside retreat in Malibu, MacGraw’s decision to relocate to Tesuque was prompted by a simple question about why she wasn’t already enjoying her cottage there. This question sparked a reassessment of her priorities, leading to her eventual move to New Mexico.

The “Gunsmoke: The Long Ride” star embarked on a renovation project, expanding her quaint cottage with the help of Santa Fe architect and builder Rod Gesten. Together, they transformed the original 1,000-square-foot house into a cozy retreat, complete with a dining room and master suite.

With her residence nestled on five acres of land, MacGraw’s pueblo-style home now boasts a studio, offering a creative haven for her various pursuits. Gesten’s thoughtful design seamlessly blends with the natural beauty of the surroundings, creating a harmonious sanctuary for the esteemed actress.

Through her candid reflections and intentional choices, Ali MacGraw continues to inspire with her resilience, wisdom, and unwavering commitment to living life on her own terms.

Since making New Mexico her home, Ali MacGraw has wholeheartedly embraced her new life there. Initially unfamiliar with the region and its people, she found herself convinced to make the move. Once settled, she eagerly integrated herself into the vibrant artistic and cultural community, characterized by a rich fusion of Native American and Spanish influences.

During her recent Zoom interview with Rappler, MacGraw adorned herself with intricately designed Native American-inspired jewelry, showcasing her passion as an avid collector. Currently, she has paused her acting career to prioritize privacy and dedicate her time to her role as a designer with an organization called Ibu, a role she finds deeply fulfilling.

Having departed from Hollywood in 1994, MacGraw settled in Santa Fe, where she collaborates with female artisans on a clothing line under Ibu. Reflecting on her journey, MacGraw recalled a time when she often fantasized about rewriting the past and shaping her future. However, she now finds herself leading a fulfilling life and considers herself truly blessed.

During the interview, MacGraw briefly revisited her past, acknowledging the process of uncovering and confronting experiences that she may have previously avoided. Through this introspection, she discovered new paths toward self-awareness and the life she truly desires.

Reflecting on her journey of self-discovery in her 40s, MacGraw acknowledged her contributions to the shortcomings of her past marriages. Now, with a life she finds wonderful, she begins each day with gratitude:

“I start my day with gratitude,… I suppose it’s the result of many decades of work, but I’m grateful for it because I’m happy, and I feel very grounded. I’m not afraid.”

MacGraw considers herself “one of the luckiest people” she’s ever known. Although she has been married three times and is currently single, she remains grateful for her life’s journey. Renowned for her influential presence during her prime, described by Calvin Klein as an epitome of great American style, she was highly sought-after. Following her first marriage to Robin Hoen, which lasted two years, she then wed Robert Evans, CEO of Paramount Pictures at the time.

Despite their three-year marriage and the birth of their son, Josh Evans, in 1971, MacGraw’s affair with her co-star Steve McQueen during the filming of “The Getaway” led to their divorce. However, their marriage was tumultuous, marked by McQueen’s jealousy and demands for MacGraw to leave her career.

Despite the complexities of her relationship with McQueen, MacGraw harbors no resentment towards him. She fondly remembers their deep connection:

“We had a very strong relationship in our hearts—I think forever… When he was good, he was very, very good, and when he was bad, he was horrid… but it didn’t diminish for me how much I loved him.”

Despite the lack of long-term success in her marriages, MacGraw finds immense joy in motherhood. She celebrates her son Josh, who has followed in her footsteps by pursuing acting. Josh, now a director, has a son of his own, bringing MacGraw joy as a devoted grandmother.

Apart from her family, MacGraw is involved in community service and animal welfare efforts, offering shelter to those in need. Inspired by her involvement in a documentary about conservationist George Adamson, she became the honorary chair of the Fitzjohn/Adamson African Wildlife Preservation Trust.

In her daily life, MacGraw opts for simplicity, forgoing a watch as the pace of her town doesn’t require it. Her style reflects this simplicity, often consisting of skinny pants or jeans paired with basic tops, accessorized with shawls, scarves, and ballet slippers. She adorns herself with jewelry inspired by Mexican, Afghan, or tribal designs.

As of August 2019, MacGraw had maintained her sobriety for 32 years and felt significantly improved as a result. However, the most rewarding aspect of her journey has been embracing a simple lifestyle, which she considers the most remarkable “spiritual movement of our century.”

Finding sanctuary and peace in her quaint village of Tesuque, MacGraw has no plans to return to acting anytime soon. Instead, she happily focuses on fully embracing her life with her cultural and designer pursuits.