Peter Bogdanovich's second marriage grew out of circumstances so unsettling that even seen-it-all Hollywood squirmed. In 1980 ex-Playboy Playmate Dorothy Stratten, the director's lover and protégée, was murdered by her estranged husband, who then killed himself. Eight years later, in what seemed like therapeutic bonding or a morbid romance, Bogdanovich, then 49, wed Dorothy's 20-year-old half sister Louise Hoogstraten. He'd known her since she was 11. "We were brought together by tragedy," says Louise, now 32. "Peter helped me through many difficult times."

By contrast, the couple make their breakup sound blandly amicable. Bogdanovich, 61, who lives in Manhattan, even offered a joke when Hoogstraten, now living mostly in L.A., served him divorce papers without advance warning. "He called it my kamikaze attack," she says. Since then, Bogdanovich—whose first marriage to producer Polly Platt (they have two grown daughters) was followed by a long-term relationship with Cybill Shepherd—has shown noble restraint. "I love her dearly," he says. "I've always wanted her to prosper."

Now she'll do that alone. "I married young," says Hoogstraten, who wants to act and write scripts. "I never felt I found my identity. I was Dorothy's sister and Peter's wife."

Bogdanovich, who has just finished shooting a mystery, The Cat's Meow, and plays a psychiatrist on The Sopranos, says he won't remarry anytime soon. "I'm busy," he says, "and not looking for another relationship." The love of his life will remain in the past. "Dorothy," he says, "changed my life as no other person has."