Danielle Steel is an American writer, best known for her romance novels. She is the best selling author alive and the fourth best selling fiction author of all time. She has sold over 650 million copies of her books.
Though Steel is best known for the over 150 novels she’s written, she does write other things as well. She has published 18 children’s books, including Pretty Minnie in Hollywood and Pretty Minnie in Paris, both about her chihuahua Minnie. Steel has also written four nonfiction works including His Bright Light: The Story of Nick Traina about her son who committed suicide, and a book of poetry titled Love.
2. She’s been awarded France’s highest honor.
In 2014 Steel was decorated as a Chevalier (Knight) of the Order of the Legion d’Honneur in Paris. The ordered was founded in 1802 by Napoleon and members are added in recognition of service to France or work that is deemed to uphold its ideals. In 2002, she had already been decorated as an Officer of the Order of Arts and Letters, France’s top cultural honor.
3. She speaks four languages.
Steel grew up in both France and the US; she went to high school mainly in France, and attended American colleges. Because of this, she is fluent in both French and English. Before her writing took off, she taught French and worked as a translator. On top of English and French, she also speaks Spanish and Italian.
4. She was married five times.
Steel married French-American banker Claude-Eric Lazard in 1965 when she was only 18. They were married for nine years before divorcing in 1974. She married her second husband, Danny Zugelder, in 1975. They divorced in 1978. Steel married her third husband, William George Toth, the day after her divorce from Zugelder was finalized. They divorced in 1981. She married for the fourth time in 1981, to John Traina. They were together for 17 years before divorcing in 1998. Later in the year she married her fifth husband Thomas James Perkins. They divorced in 2002. She says of marriage: “I’m a great believer in making marriage work if you undertake the commitment, but sometimes it just doesn’t work out that way.”
5. She has nine children.
Steel had her first daughter, Beatrix with Lazard in 1966. She had her first son, Nick with Toth in 1978; however he was adopted by Traina. Steel and Traina had six children together: Samantha, Victoria, Vanessa, Maxx, and Zara. Traina also had two children from a previous marriage that Steel helped raise: Todd and Trevor.