JOHNNY HALLYDAY. This Thursday, December 8, M6 is broadcasting the documentary "Johnny by Laeticia", directed by William Karel, in which the widow of Taulier delivers memories and archive images. Stop forgetting.
[Updated on December 08, 2022 at 8:45 p.m.] In the documentary Johnny by Laeticia, broadcast this Thursday on M6, it's Johnny's whole life with Laeticia is scrutinized in the documentary. Or almost. Because, inevitably, two relatives of the rocker are conspicuous by their absence: David and Laura, the first two Hallyday children. Only short birthday or holiday footage is used, once, in the documentary. The name of David and Laura, in conflict with Laeticia since the death of the Idol of young people, in particular for matters of succession, is almost not mentioned.
The documentary, however titled Johnny by Laeticia, tells above all about the relationship between the two spouses and their daughters, Jade and Joy, but also Laeticia's influence on Johnny, how she "cleaned up", in the words of Jean-Claude Camus around the rocker and how, from a wife, she also became a manager and manager. Even if it means attracting suspicious looks. "I have always accepted criticism, I am used to the press", explains Laeticia in the film, referring to the role of "wicked" that she has been given all these years. "There had to be a culprit", it was her.
The Youth Idol's widow is everywhere in this film: on screen, in voiceover, in footage. Johnny's troubles with the taxman are passed over in silence, in an overall testimony that lacks contradiction: only three people, close to Johnny, speak. And finally, this documentary, yet titled Johnny by Laeticia, could be renamed: Laeticia by Laeticia, with the backdrop of the pretext Johnny Hallyday.
"I still need, with my children, to talk about him every day": it is with these words that Laeticia Hallyday introduces the documentary Johnny by Laeticia, broadcast this Thursday, December 8 on M6. A film directed by William Karel, which takes us to Marnes-la-Coquette, home of Taulier, in which he died on December 5, 2017. We discover archive images, filmed by the couple or relatives of the rocker, at different eras. "For 23 years, from our meeting in 1995 until Johnny's departure in 2017, we had fun filming each other, or having ourselves filmed", narrates Laeticia Hallyday at the start of the documentary.
"We never see them, these films that you make", throws Johnny. So it's done: for nearly an hour and forty, viewers will discover shared moments, between music and family life, of Laeticia, Johnny and their loved ones. From their first kiss in Miami to their meetings in Paris or his presentation on stage at a concert in Bercy, their engagement, then their marriage, the widow of Taulier recounts their beginnings, despite their 31 years of age difference.
Laeticia Hallyday also recounts the rocker's financial setbacks, gambling and excessive spending, especially on tour... "The story of his life", as she describes them. In the documentary Johnny by Laeticia, personal archive images of the Hallyday clan are interspersed with testimonies from two relatives, producer Jean-Claude Camus and Daniel Rondeau, writer and friend of Johnny.
"We spent a few complicated months", recalls Jean-Claude Camus, while Laeticia recounts her husband's doubts after this fan trip to Las Vegas, where the Taulier gave a concert in English, taking up rock standards rather as his songs, arousing the disappointment of his admirers who made the trip with him. Johnny Hallyday then doubted. Doubts also felt at the time when he was a mascot of the Guignols de l'info, on Canal. Cartoons that "made the rocker suffer a lot", according to Jean-Claude Camus. An exile to the United States will follow, with Laeticia, for a sabbatical year on the boat.
On his return to France, Johnny confides in Le Monde: drugs, alcohol, his suicide attempts, his doubts... The singer tells everything. "A therapy", remembers Laeticia Hallyday in the documentary. "Demons that made him aggressive and violent," adds the widow of Taulier, remembering those times when Johnny "destroyed himself."
After the dark moments, Johnny's return: it was at the Stade de France that he gave the most memorable concert of his life, in 1998. "He had never prepared a concert as he prepared the one at the Stade de France. Because he had experienced failure", underlines Laeticia. The pre-concert stage fright will never leave him. Evidenced by the images and excerpts of interviews gathered in the documentary.
"It's like a boxer who enters the ring, if he does not have a little doubt, he is cooked", comments Daniel Rondeau. Johnny's other fear: loneliness and death. "He was always afraid of death. He always fled from it. And yet, he played with his life. He died a thousand times Johnny, he got up as many times", underlines Laeticia.
We continue with the "pain" of the rocker's wife not to have children, the years of "despair", her miscarriage, then the adoption of a first little girl, Jade, in Vietnam. With this documentary, the viewer can discover the child's first moments in the Hallyday clan. Johnny tells how "Jade changed [s]a vie", he who did not see his first son David grow up, being on the roads. A "lack", in his words, repeated after the birth of Laura, the Taulier's daughter. "Everything I couldn't do with the others, I do with Jade," adds the rocker in an interview excerpt.
Jade has a little sister in 2008: Joy, also adopted from Vietnam. A turning point in the life of the Taulier. "He became a homebody, almost asocial, he no longer wanted to see anyone," recalls Laeticia. "I never knew Johnny like that, he really became a family man", confirms Jean-Claude Camus. In this documentary, Laeticia tells how she brought Johnny's mother to France, she who had abandoned him as a child.
But the widow of the Taulier goes further, evoking the infidelities of her husband, in response to what she "could not give him" in the middle of this family life. Separations, reunions… “It was my life and if I had to do it again, I would do the same thing (…) I have no regrets”, she decides.
Among the anecdotes told by Laeticia about Johnny's life, that of a funny time: in 2009, when the rocker and the whole world learned of the death of Michael Jackson, the assurances of his tour were worried and asked Johnny to go for medical examinations to ensure that he is in good health. It was there that the doctors discovered that he had colon cancer. After an operation, Johnny recovers and goes on tour again.
In the United States, Johnny begins to tire. After a road trip, Laeticia remembers finding her husband "tired, out of breath." After further examinations, the verdict is in: it's a "very, very serious lung cancer that was not operable" and Johnny "has only three months to live." "I want to die, I want to disappear, because... How am I going to tell my husband this?" recalls Laeticia.
And to detail, with a lump in his throat and tears in his eyes: "I find myself in the room, with my husband who kept asking me 'what is wrong with me? Why didn't they operate? Tell me everything, I'm going to die? I have cancer?' And I dare not tell him the truth. Because I'm not ready for that. He's not ready for that."
Johnny "fights" and does not want to give up the Vieilles Canailles tour, scheduled for 2016 and 2017. Which will be his last. "He had this sentence that floored me: 'if I don't do this tour, it's because I'm dead'", adds Laeticia Hallyday. So the Taulier goes on stage, an army of doctors behind the scenes and back and forth to the hospital. "He had the rage to do it. I think it did him good to do it. He was lost, we knew it, but at least he did what he wanted to do", underlines Jean-Claude Camus .
"After the end of the Vieilles Canailles, he wanted to leave Paris", says Laeticia. The couple returns to Saint Barth, to their second home, with Jade and Joy. We then discover the last peaceful moments of the singer, playing and singing with his daughters or dancing in a nightclub with Laeticia. Then their return to France, at the end of August 2017, in their house in Marnes-la-Coquette and the recording of Johnny's last album, yet plagued by illness. "When Johnny arrived at the studio, we didn't have the impression that he was sick at all", underlines Laeticia Hallyday.
Hospitalized on November 13, 2017 at the Bizet clinic in Paris, Johnny then suffered from respiratory distress. Placed under respiratory assistance at home, the singer must then move in a wheelchair. "He didn't want to leave, he didn't want to leave us," explains the widow of Taulier. "I thought we were going to get there, but things happened very, very quickly afterwards," she adds, before recounting the very last moments of Johnny Hallyday.
Laeticia Hallyday announces, at 2:44 am, the death of the rocker, in a short text sent to AFP. "It took a lot of courage for me to write these words, but I had to do it," she recalls. This is followed by images of tributes to Johnny, those of his funeral, of the ceremony at the Madeleine on December 9, the lowering of the coffin on the Champs-Elysées and hundreds of thousands of fans gathered.