Leonardo DiCaprio remembers the exact moment when Titanic transformed his life. It came at Charles de Gaulle airport in Paris. James Cameron’s disaster epic was on it’s way to becoming the biggest movie in history and DiCaprio, then 23, had a young girl stuck to his leg. The delusional fan, overcome with emotion at finally being able to clap not just eyes on the heartthrob she had only dreamt about, rugby tackled the actor and clung on for dear life.
Amid the chaos and the throng, Leonardo had a moment of clarity and the absurdity of the situation struck home. “I looked her in the eye,” he would later recall “and said whatever illusions of grandeur you have about me, they’re not true. I will sit here and i will talk to you. You don’t need to cling; you don’t need to dig your nails into my leg. It doesn’t have to be this.” But the girl, who was no more than 14, had other ideas. It was as if she believed that by hanging on there, he somehow wouldn’t notice - and she wasn’t about to give up such an opportunity without a fight.
DiCaprio said: “She just pressed her head against my leg. I said What are you doing sweetheart? And she kept clutching. There was just a sort of obsessed look in her eye. She wasn’t looking at me though, just my leg. I looked at her and sort of grabbed her face and said: Hi, it’s OK, no, you can … you can get off my leg. It’s fine. She kept saying: No, no, no! And i had to gently pry her hands off. If Leonardo had been in any doubt up until that point that "Leo-Mania” had gripped the world - the most hysterical fan reaction since the Beatles - it was truly confirmed at that moment.