Barbra Streisand's Memoir Unveils Personal Journey With Family, Former Flame, and Beyond

Barbra Streisand's Memoir Unveils Personal Journey With Family, Former Flame, and Beyond

Barbra Streisand's memoir 'My Name Is Barbra' delves into her complex relationships with her mother, ex-husband Elliot Gould, and more From battling comments on her looks to finding love with James Brolin, this captivating narrative explores the ups and downs of Streisand's life in the spotlight

Barbra Streisand's Memoir Unveils Personal Journey With Family, Former Flame, and Beyond

Barbra Streisand. Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

In her highly anticipated memoir, My Name Is Barbra, Barbra Streisand candidly addresses her initial reluctance to write an autobiography. Despite publishers' persistent requests over four decades, she explains that she has always prioritized living in the present over dwelling on the past. Streisand also expresses her fear of sharing her truth after enduring six decades of fabricated narratives about her life, wondering if her audience will truly believe her story.

Barbra Streisand's latest book, released on Tuesday, November 7, delves into her personal journey in Hollywood and reveals intimate details about her strained relationship with her mother, Diana Streisand, and her triumphs in Funny Girl. The EGOT winner also opens up about the challenges she faced in her marriage to Elliot Gould and much more. Don't miss out on Barbra's biggest revelations by getting your hands on My Name Is Barbra, available now. Keep scrolling for more.

Dealing With Comments About Her Looks

As her fame grew, Barbra faced relentless criticism about her appearance. She expressed how unnerving it was that her nose seemed to receive more attention than her actual talent. Recounting the experience, the singer revealed that multiple individuals, whose names she preferred to keep private, suggested she should undergo a nose job. Over the course of her career, Barbra shared that she endured comparisons to a "Babylonian queen" as well as a "basset hound," which significantly impacted her emotionally.

“I wish I could say that none of this had an impact on me, but it did,” she expressed in writing. “Even after the passage of all these years, I continue to feel the pain caused by the derogatory remarks and struggle to fully comprehend the words of admiration.”

Her Mom’s Discouragement on Pursuing Acting

Barbra was aware of her talent, but her mother cautioned her that she might not achieve success because she didn't possess the same physical appearance as the other actresses in films.

Barbra openly admitted, "It felt odd knowing that my mother was in the audience, considering how strongly she opposed my decision to become an actress. I dreaded her reactions and unfortunately, she didn't disappoint me." Barbra recalled asking her mother for her thoughts, to which her mother's response was a frown and the comment, "Your arms are too skinny."

Barbra's inaugural portrayal of Fanny Brice in Funny Girl unfolded with a poignant revelation that her mother had been absent from her momentous opening night.

"In my upbringing, her endorsement was absent, leaving my aspirations bereft of support," she penned. "Recollections escape me of a single instance where she bestowed upon me a compliment."

Barbra Streisand's Memoir Unveils Personal Journey With Family, Former Flame, and Beyond

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She Never Dated Barry Dennen

Despite Dennen's claims of having a relationship with Barbra in the 1960s, the actress firmly insisted that they were merely friends. They first connected early in her career, and she disclosed that Dennen was among the first men who paid attention to her. However, when he published his book, My Life With Barbra: A Love Story, in 1997, Barbra expressed her deep hurt over his fabrication of a wild love affair between them.

Compromising on Her Name Change

Barbra, whose true name is Barbara, disclosed that during her early days in the entertainment field, casting agents advised her to alter her name.

"They proposed options like Barbara Strand or Sands for a more straightforward appeal," she reminisced. "However, those alternatives felt disingenuous. Moreover, I wondered how my close friends would recognize me once I achieved fame."

Instead, Barbra made the bold choice to stay authentic to her identity and opted to alter the spelling of her first name, allowing her to embrace her individuality and distinction.

Barbra Streisand's Memoir Unveils Personal Journey With Family, Former Flame, and Beyond

Her Relationship With Elliot Gould

At their initial encounter, Barbra revealed that she did not feel any attraction towards Gould. However, as time passed, she acknowledged a shift in her connection with the actor, and he gradually transformed from a mere friend to something more. The progression of their relationship was marked by the wearing of rings as a symbol of their love. Despite not undergoing a legal ceremony, Elliot referred to them as being "spiritually married."

"I adored Elliott. He had that comforting aura of Brooklyn, approachable and unpretentious. Yet, despite my feelings, the idea of getting married still didn't sit quite right with me," she penned. "After all, I was just twenty-one, and he was my first serious relationship. I didn't want to make a big fuss about the whole concept of marriage."

However, one fateful day, Barbra had a change of heart and proposed the idea of tying the knot. The couple spontaneously flew off to Las Vegas to exchange their vows. Three years down the line, Barbra discovered she was expecting a child with Gould – their beloved son, Jason.

"The news came as a shock. Elliott and I had been living together since I was nineteen, and as I was nearing my twenty-fourth birthday," she revealed. "For years, I had genuinely believed something was amiss with me because I had never conceived. The idea of having a child appeared more suited to other women rather than myself."

As Gould and Barbra delved deeper into their professional aspirations, their relationship started to evolve, with them spending less time together.

"And to tell you the truth, I don't think either of us was too bothered by the decision to separate. There had been a shift in our relationship," she pondered, stating that she didn't feel as much longing for him as she ought to have after he moved to New York.

Barbra and Gould parted ways in 1971, just before the Oscars. Surprisingly, they still attended the event as a pair. The actress mentioned that she wasn't "ready for marriage in 1963," but felt "completely prepared for a formal separation."

Barbra Streisand's Memoir Unveils Personal Journey With Family, Former Flame, and Beyond

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Landing Funny Girl

Barba discovered that Anne Bancroft was initially intended to star in the musical but declined the opportunity when she realized she lacked the ability to sing the songs. It is rumored that Carol Burnett also expressed interest in the role, but declined it as it was specifically meant for a Jewish actress.

After being selected for the part, Barbra expressed her desire to delve deeper into the personality of her character, Fanny Brice, in order to enhance her performance on stage.

“Once I read Fanny’s own words, I realized that she and I were so alike it was almost scary,” she penned.

Her Fling with Sydney Chaplin

Barbra confessed to having a romantic involvement with Sydney Chaplin, her co-star in Funny Girl, who happened to be the son of renowned actor Charlie Chaplin. Eventually, Barbra decided to be honest with her partner, Gould, and put an end to her relationship with Sydney. However, Barbra claimed that following their breakup, Sydney unleashed a torrent of abusive language and became extremely difficult to collaborate with.

"The situation turned into a terrible ordeal. As the clock struck seven-thirty each night, before I took the stage, I was overcome with a feeling of nausea," she expressed in her writing. "It wasn't just the pressure of meeting the audience's expectations anymore. Now I had to confront a new adversary... my co-star."

Barbra admitted to considering leaving the show due to experiencing "panic attacks," but she ultimately persevered. Reflecting on her last performance, she acknowledged that she felt she would never return to a Broadway stage. She also expressed how the ordeal with Sydney had deeply affected her.

Barbra Streisand's Memoir Unveils Personal Journey With Family, Former Flame, and Beyond

Barbra Streisand. Screen Archives/Getty Images

Balancing Work and Motherhood

During the filming of A Star Is Born, Barbra's son paid her a visit on set. It was during this time that Jason supposedly relayed to her Gould's comment about her extensive working hours and insufficient quality time with her child.

Her Bond With King Charles III

"Ouch! That remark pierced straight into my heart. And at that very moment, my ever-present guilt surged up inside me," she admitted. "Instead of offering me his support, I found myself getting angry at Elliott for critiquing me in front of our son."

Barbra mentioned that in 1995, she had the opportunity to stay at his Highgrove home, where the monarch graciously hosted her. The actress further claimed that Charles admitted having a poster of her in his room at Cambridge. Barbra revealed that their bond remains strong, and they continue to exchange birthday presents.

Barbra Streisand's Memoir Unveils Personal Journey With Family, Former Flame, and Beyond

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Falling in Love With James Brolin

After a string of unsuccessful romantic relationships, Barbra's luck in love took a turn for the better when her friend Christine Peters introduced her to James Brolin in 1996. Their initial encounter took place at a dinner party, where she jokingly commented on his hair, and he was instantly smitten with her.

Getting this close to someone so quickly was an uncommon experience for me. However, Jim was not intimidated by me. On the contrary, he showed great support and expressed his desire to empower me.

Although Brolin was certain from the beginning that he wanted to marry Barbra, she required more time. Eventually, they exchanged vows in July 1998, coinciding with the day they first met.