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Vladimir Etush and his last wife, Elena Gorbunova, lived together for 18 years. They were not embarrassed by 43 years of age difference and did not prevent them from being happy at all. Elena Evgenievna throughout her life with Vladimir Abramovich devoted herself entirely to her husband. She lived by his interests, his desires and needs. And she did not at all consider that she was sacrificing her life. When Vladimir Etush was gone, for a long time she did not even know how to live without him.
The path to happiness
For the first time, Elena Gorbunova saw Vladimir Etush in 1988 live, and not on the TV screen, on the stage of the Vakhtangov Theater in the play "Bless you". But she fell in love with the actor much later. Attending the play in 1988 simply marked the beginning of Elena's hobby for theater. She began to attend all the performances, met all the theater workers. And then I got to the play "Sunset", where Vladimir Etush played Arie Leib.
It was an absolutely amazing dramatic work, where Elena Evgenievna saw a comedian in a new role. Since that time, she began to collect information about the actor bit by bit, gave him flowers after the performances, admired the talent and power of such an extraordinary person. Again, it was not about feelings, it was an admiration for talent.
At that time she worked as an English teacher in Aprelevka and every evening she hurried to the theater to again enjoy the work of her beloved actor. She herself called herself a fan of the artist, but she never thought about marriage with him. Moreover, at that time Vladimir Etush was married.
Sometimes he gave a lift to the fan to the metro, but did not take any steps towards rapprochement. For the first time, he invited Elena to visit his dacha three months after the death of his wife, Nina Krainova. He got behind the wheel himself and that evening they had an accident, instead of giving they both ended up in the hospital. Elena suffered a spinal injury, and Vladimir Etush broke his collarbone.
After that there were New Year's holidays, which they did not meet together, but in March Vladimir Abramovich suddenly fell ill and asked Elena to visit him. She found the actor in a bad state - the high temperature took away all his strength, and Elena began to selflessly take care of him. Since then, their life together began. A year later, they signed, not arranging a magnificent celebration from the wedding, they just sat with friends in a restaurant. Elena at that time was 36 years old, and Vladimir Etush - 79.
The coming of age of love
They treated each other very carefully, always thinking that the other would be well. Vladimir Etush, of course, understood that most of his life was already behind him, and therefore he was worried about the future of his wife. And sometimes he said: "I'm tired of living …"
Elena Evgenievna took offense and cried, but tried to turn her husband's train of thought into an optimistic channel. She forced him to plan the upcoming vacation, focus on a new role and hoped that her husband could live to at least a hundred years. Better still.
She devoted herself entirely to him. She quit the school where she worked, accompanied on all tours, was there for rehearsals and performances. She was interested in everything related to her husband, she considered serving her husband her destiny. She persuaded him to start using a wheelchair.Not because he could not walk, but so that he was less tired, saved his strength and health for art and for her, so that he could live longer.
Elena was never ashamed of her husband, she was proud of Vladimir Etush always and everywhere. On March 5, 2019, they celebrated the 18th anniversary of their marriage, and four days later the actor was gone.
Life after happiness
For several months, Elena Evgenievna Etush could not come to terms with the fact that her husband was no longer there. She herself admits: the second time she could not survive this. The widow did not even cry, she screamed with grief for several hours in a row and calmed down when she had no strength at all.
For 18 years she was so used to the feeling of their constant closeness to each other that she was suddenly disoriented. And even then I realized: if her life was intended for her husband, then she should continue to deal with the affairs of Vladimir Etush. Only now Elena Etush sees her mission in preserving the memory of her spouse.
Soon the book "Our Etush" is to be published, which contains the memories of friends and colleagues about the actor, "Aeroflot" named one of the aircraft the name of Vladimir Etush. On the house in Granitny Lane, where the actor lived, a memorial plaque was opened in the summer of 2020. Behind all this is the painstaking daily work of Elena Evgenievna.
She really wants the apartment in Granatny Lane, where the actor lived for many years, to keep it in the form in which it was under Vladimir Abramovich, and in the future, perhaps, to create a museum of the actor here.
Elena Etush established an award named after the actor under the name "Pass to Life". It will be awarded to young actors of the Vakhtangov Theater for the best debut. Even the widow of the actor continues the work started by her husband during his lifetime - helping a nursing home in the Kostroma region.
She fills her life with deeds, thinks about the future, but admits: in the two years that have passed since the death of Vladimir Etush, the pain of loss has not become easier. She just learned not to show it after a confession made by one of her acquaintances. Then he opened his eyes to Elena Evgenievna, declaring that communication with her had become impossible. She really cried constantly and could only talk about one topic.
Elena Evgenievna pulled herself together and turned to doctors for help. She began to take sedatives. But not for a day does she stop thinking about the person she loves. There is no past tense for her love. And on the monument to the actor at the Troekurovsky cemetery, on one of the sides of the cube, a joint photograph of Vladimir and Elena Etush is installed.
Vladimir Abramovich Etush, one of the most famous actors in the USSR, was actually married four times. And only one woman, Nina Krainova, with whom they lived together for almost half a century, gave him the happiness of fatherhood. The actor did not communicate with his own daughter for seven long years, although Raisa Etush inherited not only the profession, but also the character of her father.