Lindy's Secret Life
updated 08/25/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT
•originally published 08/25/2003 AT 01:00 AM EDT
It was the purported daughter, Astrid Bouteuil, 41, who broke the story. Sworn to silence until her mother died two years ago, Bouteuil said Brigitte met Lindbergh through a friend. Astrid and brothers Dyrk, 44, and David, 36, knew him as Careu Kent, a family friend who visited often, could wiggle his ears and cooked a mean omelette. There were clues—once her mother saw Bouteuil reading a LIFE article on Lindbergh and ripped it out of her hands. In the early '80s Bouteuil discovered photos and love letters in the attic, some signed "Charles." The most telling, sent when her family was moving, read, "I am most anxious how our children will like their new house." She then asked if Lindbergh was her father, and Brigitte tearfully owned up. When Bouteuil refused to give the letters back, her mother wailed, "You don't know what you are doing!"
Reserving comment, Lindbergh's U.S. family has asked for privacy. Bouteuil, meanwhile, said she came forward so the affair wouldn't be "buried in the depths of oblivion."