Leonard Bernstein’s Children Say His Wife “Knew Exactly What the Deal Was” With His Bisexuality

Leonard Bernstein and Felicia Montealegre’s children Nina Maria Felicia Bernstein, Jamie Bernstein and Alexander Bernstein are opening up about how much their mother knew about their father’s bisexuality.

In an interview with CBS Sunday Morning, Bradley Cooper and correspondent Mo Rocca sat down with the three kids to discuss Netflix’s upcoming film Maestro, which Cooper starred in, directed and co-wrote with Josh Singer.

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“Our mom was the most elegant, delicious person,” Nina said. Jamie added, “She knew exactly what the deal was.” Alexander chimed in, “They, obviously, loved each other to death. They never fought in front of us. We never saw any darkness. We felt a lot. They kept everything very well tidied and pretty well hidden.”

The segment explained that while Bernstein and Montealeagre truly loved each other, their relationship was complicated by the fact that the legendary composer had affairs with men over the course of their marriage.

Rocca noted that in Jamie’s 2018 memoir, she wrote that her mother penned a letter to her father shortly after their wedding, writing, “I’m willing to accept you as you are without being a martyr and sacrificing myself on the L.B. altar.” Jamie, however, added that she feels like her mother did exactly that.

“That’s how I feel,” she said. “I feel like it cost her everything to stick with it. It was really tough for her, and I think it contributed to her early death in a way.”

Alexander disagreed with his sister, to an extent. “I wouldn’t go that far. I think, you know, probably she regretted a lot of things looking back,” he said. “She had a wonderful, rich life and mostly wonderful marriage and a lot of love.”

Maestro brings Bernstein and Montealegre’s (Carey Mulligan) 30-year love story to life — from the day they met in 1946 to their two engagements, 25-year marriage and three children. In addition to co-writing and directing the film, Cooper also serves as a producer alongside Steven Spielberg. “A love letter to life and art, Maestro at its core is an emotionally epic portrayal of family and love,” reads the logline.

The project also stars Matt Bomer, Maya Hawke, Josh Hamilton, Scott Ellis, Gideon Glick, Sam Nivola, Alexa Swinton and Miriam Shor. Other producers include Kristie Macosko Krieger, Fred Burner, Amy Durning and Martin Scorsese. Singer, Carla Raij, Bobby Wilhelm, Weston Middleton and Tracey Landon also had executive producing roles.

Maestro will hit select theaters Nov. 22 before streaming on Netflix Dec. 20.

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