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Robert Redford praises younger wife Sibylle Szaggars, talks retirement

01/21/2011 by Corinne Heller

Robert Redford, who will turn 75 in August, says his second wife, 53-year-old German painter Sibylle Szaggars, helped give him a "whole new life" and adds that he has no plans to retire from the movie business soon.

The two met in the late 1990s at the Sundance Film Festival and wed in 2009.

"She's a very special person," Redford told AARP magazine. "She's younger than I am, and European, which I like, so that's a whole new life. I ride horses, ski, play pretty hard tennis. I still have energy. When that starts to shut down, I might start to think about age."

"There are movies I want to make," he added. "For a long time I've wanted to do a thriller. I like being scared, and I like scaring. And I want to keep acting, though I think the business has concluded that I don't want to act anymore."

Redford began his on-screen acting career in the 1960s and rose to fame starring alongside Paul Newman in the 1969 movie "Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid." Redford has since appeared in films such as "All the President's Men" in 1976 and "The Horse Whisperer" in 1998. He last starred in a movie in 2007, when he played Professor Stephen Malley in the 2007 film "Lions for Lambs."

He has in recent years concentrated on directing. He won an Oscar for the 1980 movie "Ordinary People" and helmed the film "The Conspirator," which stars Robin Wright of "Princess Bride" fame as a woman charged as a co-conspirator in the assassination trial of President Abraham Lincoln. James McAvoy and Justin Long also appear in the movie.

Redford was married to Lola Van Wagenen, whom he met when he was about 20 years old, between 1958 and 1985. They have three children and seven grandchildren. Their son, Scott, was born in 1959 and died at the age of five months from Sudden Infant Death Syndrome.

"We were very young," Redford said. "I had my first theater job, which didn't pay much. We didn't know anything about SIDS, so the only thing you think is that you've done something wrong. As a parent, you tend to blame yourself. That creates a scar that probably never completely heals."

Redford said that you "learn certain life lessons" as you get older.

"You apply that wisdom, and suddenly you say, 'Hey, I've got a new lease on this thing, so let's go,'" he said.

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