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Eva Ionesco

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Eva Ionesco
Ionesco in 2017
Born (1965-07-18) 18 July 1965 (age 59)
Paris, France
  • Actress
  • film director
  • screenwriter
Years active1976–present
(m. 2013)

Eva Ionesco (born 18 July 1965) is a French actress and filmmaker. She is the daughter of photographer Irina Ionesco and came to international prominence as a child model after being featured in her mother's works.

Early life


Ionesco was born to photographer Irina Ionesco, a Frenchwoman of Romanian descent, who had a relationship with a Hungarian man who worked in the military. Prior to Ionesco's birth, her mother had worked as a contortionist as she had come from a family of circus performers on her maternal side.[1] Her parents separated when she was 3 at which point Ionesco became estranged from her father.[2]

In 1977 her mother lost custody of her and Ionesco lived for a time with the parents of footwear designer Christian Louboutin who had already left home.[3]

From the age of 13 Ionesco became a regular club-goer at Le Palace along with Christian Louboutin and Edwige Belmore and also developed a drug habit.[4] She was in and out of various foster homes until an older boyfriend of hers took custody of her at the age of 16.[5]



At the age of 5, Eva became her mother's favorite photo model. Irina Ionesco's erotic photographs of her young daughter Eva have been a source of controversy since they first appeared in the 1970s. Eva also modeled for other photographers such as Jacques Bourboulon.[6]

She is the youngest model ever to appear in a Playboy nude pictorial, since she was featured at age 11 in the October 1976 issue of the Italian edition of the magazine in a set by Bourboulon. In that picture, she posed nude at a beach. Another of her nude pictorials, in the November 1978 issue of the Spanish edition of Penthouse, was a selection of her mother's photographs. She also appeared on the cover page of Der Spiegel at the age of 12 completely nude.[7] The issue was later expunged from the magazine's records.[8]

In the 1980s, Ionesco attended the prestigious acting school Amandiers, directed by Patrice Chéreau and Pierre Romans [fr]. She made her film début at the age of 11 in 1976, playing a child in Roman Polanski's film The Tenant. A short time later she was cast in films of the mid-1970s such as Maladolescenza (also known as Puppy Love).

Eva claimed her story served as inspiration for Louis Malle's film Pretty Baby.[9]

Directorial career


Ionesco began directing in 2006.

In 2011 she directed her first full-length feature film, My Little Princess, which debuted at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival. The film, loosely inspired by Ionesco's personal life, starred Isabelle Huppert as a predatory photographer who uses her young daughter as a model in a series of nude photos.[10]

Ionesco again paired with Isabelle Huppert for her next film, Golden Youth, about a young couple in Paris who begin to spend time with a much older and wealthier couple.

Writing career


In 2015 Ionesco's husband Simon Liberati released a book about their courtship and her childhood called Eva.

In 2017 Ionesco released her first book, Innocence, which dealt with her fractured relationship with her father.


Since the time in which her mother lost custody of her for repeatedly photographing or allowing Ionesco to be photographed by others completely nude, Ionesco has been engaged in protracted court battles with her mother to censor and reclaim the images taken of her as a child.

She tried three times to sue her mother for emotional distress, and the trial is still[when?] going on through various courts in France.[9] In 1998 the French police confiscated from her mother's apartment hundreds of photographs in which she appears at the age of five in suggestive poses and in complete nudity.[9]

In 2012 Eva sued her mother for taking pornographic photos of her as a child. Although much of her claim was denied, she did receive some compensation.[11]

Personal life


Ionesco has a son, Lukas Ionesco, born in 1995.[12]

Since 2013, she has been married to author Simon Liberati.[13]



As actress


As director


Theatrical work



  1. ^ "Irina Ionesco: from erotica to fashion at 74". Independent.co.uk. 12 June 2010. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  2. ^ "Les parents terribles d'Eva Ionesco". 2 September 2017. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  3. ^ Armstrong, Lisa. "Christian Louboutin: the fun and fetishism". Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  4. ^ ZAHM, OLIVIER. "SIMON LIBERATI". Retrieved 25 July 2019.
  5. ^ Zahm, Olivier. "purple MAGAZINE – Purple #31 The Paris issue". Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  6. ^ Eva Ionesco, tombée des nusLibération – Anne Diatkine – 22 July 2010
  7. ^ Der Spiegel – 23 May 1977
  8. ^ Willsher, Kim (8 August 2015). "Irina Ionesco: the grande dame, her 'Lolita' pictures, and a true Paris scandal". The Guardian. Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  9. ^ a b c Anne Diatkine, Isabelle Huppert dans "My little princess", ELLE France, 24 June 2011
  10. ^ Rooney, David (18 May 2011). "My Little Princess: Cannes 2011 Review". The Hollywood Reporter.
  11. ^ "Child Playboy star Eva Ionesco sues her photographer mother over 'stolen childhood'". The Daily Telegraph. 20 December 2012. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
  12. ^ Fedorova, Anastasiia (9 February 2016). "an intimate portrait of lukas ionesco". Retrieved 24 July 2019.
  13. ^ Simon Liberati, « Eva Ionesco : une petite princesse au Soleil levant », Libération, 3 June 2014.