Purple Magazine
— F/W 2013 issue 20

Johnny and Laeticia Hallyday

rock legend

photography by OLIVIER ZAHM


This story is Johnny Hallyday’s homage to his wife, Laeticia, who may very well have saved his life when a back operation went badly. She took him to a doctor in LA, where he was put into a coma so that his body could recover. Afterward, it took another six months to restore and retrain his voice. Johnny’s life was never easy, though he’s always been blessed.

Because he’s from France, he’s been called the most famous rock star you’ve never heard of. Born Jean-Philippe Smet, he was raised by his model-mother Huguette Clerc’s sister, Desta, a showgirl married to a country music singer from Oklahoma named Lee Ketcham, who went by the name Lee Hallyday. By the age of 16 show business and rock and roll defined young Johnny, and his good looks and stepfather’s alias propelled him into the public eye. He could do it all, for real, and still can.

He’s a powerful performer with a stronger voice than many of his much more famous Anglo-Saxon peers. And though stuck with the moniker “the French Elvis,” he has always pushed himself and his music. He’s made music in different styles that always sounds not only good but like Johnny Hallyday. Like French rock in general, he has never reached the wider English-speaking world, but that may also be the result of his madly adoring, non-anglophone French fans insisting he play the standards only they know. That may also be why he continues to push himself.

Before the operation, he said he’d retire in 2009. But he’s continued, still filling enormous coliseums, always renewing his music and always with a great band. And he’s still wickedly handsome and sings as well as ever.

He and Laeticia have just built a house in LA, where they now live when he’s not touring in Europe or acting in a film — currently in Claude Lelouch’s next picture, Salaud, On T’aime.

Ramsell Martinez @ STREETERS, hair — Fara Homidi @ FRANK REPS, make-up — Arto Saari, photographer’s assistant.

Johnny wears black straight-cut jeans G-START RAW, Kufannaw sunglasses and a silver bracelet CHROME HEARTS, a black bracelet with white diamonds, onyx, and white gold SHAMBALLA JEWELS, black leather boots BERLUTI and his own necklace, rings and bracelet throughout. Laeticia wears her own jewelry throughout.

[Table of contents]

F/W 2013 issue 20

Table of contents

purple EDITO

purple NEWS






purple BEAUTY

purple TRAVEL

purple SEX

purple PHILO

purple NIGHT

purple STORY


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