He fascinated the media who snapped him sliding down banisters, pirouetting behind the Queen, kayaking down rivers and always displaying the style and charisma that became part of Trudeaumania. Young girls screamed as though he were a rock star when he appeared; he dated movie stars. None of this was behaviour Canadians were used to in their politicians. Yet behind this public persona was an intellect, a man who valued reason over passion and who carefully planned his life as well as his politics.
Margaret Sinclair was the daughter of a Liberal politician, born in Vancouver in 1948. She came of age in the sixties.
She met Trudeau when they were vacationing in Tahiti. He
found the meeting more memorable than she did at first but soon she was won over by the charismatic Trudeau.
They married in 1971 breaking the hearts of countless Canadian girls.
Pierre the thinker should have realized perhaps what
could happen when two so different worlds collide. Margaret was a child of the times. She fed organic meals to the cabinet ministers, tried to get them to join her in transcendental meditation and reportedly smuggled drugs in the Prime
Minister's luggage. Pierre, for all his public playboy ways, was actually a workaholic with little time left for personal life. For a time things went well and three boys Alexandre (Sacha), Michel and Justin completed the family, but
Pierre spent a great deal of time away from his growing family and Margaret didn't respond well to his absences. She reportedly had affairs with Senator Ted Kennedy and Ron Wood of the Rolling Stones.
The estrangement was played out in front of the media and
public sympathy swung behind Pierre at the time. He had custody of the three boys after their divorce. Margaret was seen partying with the Rolling Stones, letting it all hang out on talk shows, writing her book "Beyond Reason" and even
acting in a couple of movies. Much later she was diagnosed as being bi-polar and wrote a book describing her battles with her emotional health and telling how she learned to cope.
She married Fred Kemper and had two children with him,
disappearing from the public eye.
Then disaster struck. An avalanche in British Columbia in
1998 took the life of Michel Trudeau. Pierre was now 78 years old and becoming fragile. The death of his son was a heavy blow. He and Margaret comforted each other and the family drew close in their grief. Margaret suffered a breakdown and her divorce from Kemper soon followed.
When Pierre died two years later after battling
Parkinsons and prostate cancer, Margaret was at his bedside with their sons. Trudeau's body lay in state to allow the country to grieve along with Margaret and Justin and Sacha.
Years later when asked about their relationship she said. "Just because our marriage ended didn't mean the love stopped."