14. Picasso Impregnated a Mistress
While married to his first wife, Olga Khokhlova, Picasso began an affair with the 17-year-old Marie-Thérèse Walter. According to Walter, the first time she met Picasso, he accosted her and said, in her words, “You have an interesting face. I would like to do a portrait of you. I feel we are going to do great things together.”
Picasso quickly became obsessed with Walter and hid her away from a secret apartment and told no one about their relationship. She became one of his great muses, inspiring many of his paintings. It is believed his wife may have become aware of Walter by finding one of his numerous sketches and portraits of her.
In 1935, while Picasso’s first wife was struggling with unknown “gynecological troubles” and having surgery, Walter became pregnant with Picasso’s child. They had a daughter named Maya the same year. Soon after, Picasso met the surrealist painter Dora Maar. When the two women met and demanded he pick between them, he encouraged them to fight over him physically and remarked later that it was one of his favorite memories. Picasso continued to support Walter and their daughter after they moved away from him. Walter committed suicide after Picasso’s death.