Paulina Porizkova says she gave Ric Ocasek an ultimatum in a last-ditch effort to save their marriage — and his response broke her heart

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There was a period late in Paulina Porizkova and Ric Ocasek's marriage in which she felt unseen, which was a change since they had wed more than 25 years earlier.

"We had been together for my entire life, since I was 19, and suddenly he seemed not to find me attractive anymore," the 56-year-old model revealed on StyleLikeU's "Defying Ageism" series. "I started feeling like I was a coffee table, something you put s*** on and bump into in the middle of the night but pay no more attention to other than that. It made me feel worthless as a woman. I thought I was going to stay with this man for the rest of my life. We had said in sickness and in health, for better or for worse. But then it was neither. It was neither better nor worse. He just stopped seeing me."

Paulina Porizkova's estranged husband Ric Ocasek died in 2019. (Photo: Michael Loccisano/WireImage)
Paulina Porizkova's estranged husband Ric Ocasek died in 2019. (Photo: Michael Loccisano/WireImage)
Ric Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova attend a party on April 3, 1990 in New York City. (Photo: Catherine McGann/Getty Images)
Ric Ocasek and Paulina Porizkova attend a party on April 3, 1990, in New York City. (Photo: Catherine McGann/Getty Images)

By that time, Porizkova also wanted Ocasek to hear her, which she thought he hadn't done in the past.

"I started changing the rules on what our marriage was supposed to be, and then he started changing his rules, too. 'Oh, well, if you're gonna be demanding and a b****, then, well, I'm not gonna touch you," Porizkova said. "And I thought, [of] one brilliant last idea. What if I gave him the ultimatum before I'm finished? When I still love him, when I still want to make this work, that might snap him out of it."

So that's what she did.

"I said, 'You know, I'm really unhappy, and you don't seem to want to work on anything, and so I think maybe we should be heading towards separation, maybe divorce,'" she said. "He just looked at me really coldly and said, 'Well, it seems like your mind's made up, so whatever' And that was it. I really, really couldn't believe it. That was it. That was all the fight he was going to put up for me."

Porizkova said she felt there was nothing else she could do.

She had "some serious questions of my value as a woman," following the split, she said.

Porizkova, who met Ocasek on the set of the Cars's video for "Drive" in 1984, revealed in May 2018 that they had been "peacefully separated for a year." 

Although they were estranged, they continued to live together, and she was the one who found him dead at their home — she had been taking care of him after surgery — in September 2019. She soon discovered that Ocasek had cut her out of his will, saying that she had "abandoned" him. (Porizkova settled with his estate last month, and said they had been "very fair.")

Their relationship was complicated, but Porizkova has been open about grieving the death of Ocasek, the father of her two twenty-something sons.

She has dated since his death. In April, she and screenwriter Aaron Sorkin made their red carpet debut as a couple at the Oscars, but they split amicably in July 2021.

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