Sean Connery's special connection to Morocco: How the actor met his wife, Micheline Roquebrune

The late James Bond star had a great affection for the North African country, largely thanks to his Moroccan-French partner

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Following the death of actor Sean Connery, Moroccan-French painter Micheline Roquebrune released a heartfelt tribute to her husband of 45 years.

“He was gorgeous and we had a wonderful life together,” she said. “He was a model of a man. It is going to be very hard without him, I know that. But it could not last forever and he went peacefully.”

The pair met by chance when the James Bond star was visiting Morocco for a golf tournament in 1970.

At the time, Roquebrune, who had been married twice before, had no idea that Connery was an A-list actor.

Recalling their first encounter in a 2011 interview with British newspaper The Sun, she said she noticed Connery's "fine physique", but said she had "didn't know who he was or anything about him".

(FILES) In this file photo taken on December 07, 2004 British actor Sean Connery and his wife, Micheline Roquebrune, arrive for the presentation of "Alexendre," directed by Oliver Stone, during the 44th International Film Festival in Marrakesh. Legendary British actor Sean Connery, best known for playing fictional spy James Bond in seven films, has died aged 90, his family told the BBC on on October 31, 2020. The Scottish actor, who was knighted in 2000, won numerous awards during his decades-spanning career, including an Oscar, three Golden Globes and two Bafta awards.
 / AFP / Jack GUEZ
Sean Connery was married to French-Moroccan painter Micheline Roquebrune. AFP

She said she dreamt of Connery the night after first laying eyes on him. “The next day I went back to the tournament and that was that,” she said.

In the early days of their romance, the pair could not speak the same language, with Roquebrune fluent in French, Spanish and able to understand Arabic, while Connery hailed from Scotland. Roquebrune also lived in her native Morocco, while Connery was living in the Bahamas.

“In the early days it was difficult for us to see each other,” he once revealed in an interview. “She was still living in North Africa with her children.”

He added: “Micheline is an amazing woman. She is the love of my life."

The pair married in 1975, five years after first meeting, and lived together in the Bahamas.

After meeting his wife in the country, Connery had a great affection for Morocco and visited many times. In 1975, Ouarzazate would become the filming location for The Man Who Would be King in which Connery starred alongside Michael Caine. He once revealed the film to be his favourite that he has made.

In 2004, he was given the lifetime achievement award at the annual Marrakech International Film Festival, which he accepted in person.

Connery died on Saturday, October 31 after years of poor health and battling dementia.