Beverly D’Angelo‘s six-year romance with Al Pacino may have grabbed headlines, but he’s not the man she considers her “soulmate.” That honor belongs to Italian duke Lorenzo Salviati, with whom D’Angelo eloped in the early 1980s.
D’Angelo first met Salviati’s cousin, princess Claudia Ruspoli, at a party in Saint Tropez, France. Hair director Milos Forman, whom D’Angelo was romantically involved with at the time, “started singing this really insulting song,” D’Angelo recalls to PEOPLE.
Aghast, the princess “threw wine in his face and I just looked at her and I said, ‘You are now my best friend,'” continues D’Angelo, currently starring in the thriller Violent Night. “I’d always wanted to see how that happens because it’s such a cinematic thing that was fantastic.”
Ruspoli then tried to play matchmaker with the actress. “She told me, ‘My cousin Lorenzo is in Los Angeles at USC as an economics student, you should find him.’ I lost the phone number. I didn’t look him up.”
But back in L.A., she ended up at a party “and this gorgeous man walked in,” recalls D’Angelo. It was Salviati. “It was a birthday party everybody had crashed. And Lorenzo came into this room—he had a suite at the Roosevelt Hotel—and he said, ‘Okay, too many crashers here. I’m celebrating my birthday in the living room. Beverly, you come in here.’ And I looked at Lorenzo and I went, ‘I’m not going,'” she continues.
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He quickly charmed her anyway, and not long after that, they eloped in Las Vegas. “Our vows were basically like, ‘We’re going to live our lives and we’re going to end up together.’ I loved it,” she says of the relationship.
Though she was a noble by marriage, “I certainly was not somebody who went around saying, ‘I’m a duchess.’ It was irrelevant to me,” says D’Angelo, who considered Salviati her “soulmate” then and now.
“But here’s the thing about soulmates: it’s boring. When you find your soulmate, you will be sitting there and you’ll go, ‘Now what?’ Because all of that striving and yearning is taken care of. So you’re just like, ‘Yeah, where are we going to go for dinner?'”
The two had an understanding: They’d each go off and do their own thing, “but if there were any crises or anything important, we’d come back together,” she says.
“I always thought the guys that I was with thought it was great that I was married because they knew ‘no responsibility here!'” says D’Angelo, who also had a relationship with The Crying Game director Neil Jordan during her marriage. “But when I met Al Pacino and told him about my little deal, he said, ‘Well, that’s crazy,'”
D’Angelo called Salviati to explain. “I said, ‘I’m in love.’ He goes, [D’Angelo affects an Italian accent] ‘Oh, Beverly, who is it this time?’ And I said, ‘Well, it’s an actor.’ He went, ‘An actor? No, no, not an actor.’ And I said, ‘I really love him and we’re talking about having kids and he thinks it’s crazy that I’m married and now I’m thinking it is too.'”
Salviati, according to D’Angelo, continued to protest. “He went, ‘Oh, that’s ridiculous. Who thinks this is crazy, this perfect relationship? Who is this actor?’ I said, ‘Well, it’s Al Pacino.’ He goes, ‘Al Pacino, he’s fantastic. I love him. We divorce!'”
The two split, and D’Angelo and Pacino welcomed twins Anton and Olivia in 2001 when she was 49. Shortly after that, she and Pacino, who never married, broke up.
“To this day,” she says of Salviati, “we’re good friends.”
Violent Night is now in theaters nationwide.
For more on Beverly D’Angelo, pick up the new issue of PEOPLE Magazine.