Maya Angelou marries Paul du Feu

In 1973, Angelou married Paul du Feu, a British-born carpenter and remodeler, and moved to Sonoma, California with him.

The years to follow were some of Angelou's most productive years as a writer and poet. She worked as a composer, including writing for singer Roberta Flack, and composed movie scores. She wrote articles, short stories, TV scripts, autobiographies and poetry, produced plays, and spoke on the the university lecture circuit.

In 1973, Angelou married Frenchman Paul du Feu, a writer and cartoonist who traveled with her to an Arkansas appearance and who was previously married to activist and author, Germaine Greer. This was to be Angelou’s longest marriage. She never speaks publicly about her marriages, but it has been suggested by those closest to her that this was her happiest. They bought and restored a lovely home in California. Uncomfortable in the setting, she and du Feu divorced in 1980 but remain fast friends.

At a London literary party Maya met Paul du Feu, a carpenter and construction worker who had acquired some notoriety himself as Germaine (The Female Eunuch) Greer's ex-husband and as the first nude centerfold for British Cosmopolitan. She fell deeply in love, and they were married in 1973, settling on the West Coast. Paul remodeled and built houses, while Maya expanded her career. She directed for film and television, acted on Broadway and in TV's Roots (in which she played Kunta Kinte's grandmother), and co-authored the script of the TV-movie Caged Bird.

Then "the eternal, never-to-be-broken-up marriage" failed. Maya is reluctant to discuss why. "I know that I'm not the easiest person to live with," she says. "The challenge I put on myself is so great that the person I live with feels himself challenged. I bring a lot to bear and I don't know how not to." Paul is now living alone in the Bay Area. "I love Paul du Feu and I feel like seeing him right now," says Maya, "but it would just drag me." She has had difficulties with men before. "I have lost good men—or men I might have been able to turn into good men—because I have no middle passage," she says. "When a voice is raised to me, I think, 'You want to kill me, but you don't have the nerve. Get out. Immediately.' I know I have taken it to the extreme—he might only have said, 'I don't like the way you cook the rice'—because I take everything to the max."