Laeticia Hallyday was married to France’s most beloved rock star for over 30 years. A loving wife and guardian angel, she helped him fight his personal demons for three decades, tobacco in particular. Despite her best efforts, the French superstar passed away on 5th of December, 2017, at the age of 74 from smoking-related diseases.
Johnny Hallyday was known to be a hedonist, but he never could quite control his self-destructive streak. Many photos picture him smoking a Gitane, his favourite brand of cigarettes. But in 2012, the singer decided to change his bad habits. On the advice of Louis Bertignac, he switched his smokes for an electronic cigarette.
But it is no easy task to change a 50-year pattern, and Johnny Halliday couldn’t outrun his addiction. In 2015, he relapsed and began smoking cigarettes again. His friend, Eddy Mitchell, stated that Johnny was smoking three packs a day at the time.
Johnny’s malady, a major shock to French smokers
In his biography, “Johnny. L’incroyable histoire” (The incredible story of Johnny), journalist Éric Le Bourhis related Laeticia’s protective attitude when it came to her husband’s health. Since his serious health issues in 2009, she had been monitoring his smoking habits. To help him quit, she even bought cushions with “No smoking” scrawled across them as a constant reminder.
Despite the pain it caused, the death of Philippe Smet (AKA Johnny Hallyday) had a silver lining. It gave Laura, his daughter, the strength to stop smoking. Michèle Delaunay, former minister and oncologist stated that the public declaration of Johnny’s lung cancer had a huge impact on many smokers.
In a strange twist, his addiction to nicotine left one completely unrelated individual happy. A cigarette butt thrown away by the singer in 1996 was sold for the price of 319 euros during an auction in Drouot. The buyer wished to remain anonymous. Strangely, the wedding dress worn by Adeline Blondiau, the rockstar’s third wife, did not find a buyer.