Villeneuve was well-known for his succession of beautiful girlfriends during, and after, his Formula 1 career.After dating Sandrine Gros d’Aillon during his early motorsport career, he was engaged to Australian singer Dannii Minogue, and then engaged to American ballerina Ellen Green. Here, at the Brazilian Grand Prix, he finished seventh.
Gilles, his wife Joann and their children Melanie and Jacques lived a nomadic life, touring around North America to Formula Atlantic races in a motorhome, in which they also lived on Grand Prix weekends in Europe after Gilles joined Ferrari.
Little Jacques, who grew up in Formula One paddocks watching his father race, was bewildered when Gilles was killed in practice for the 1982 Belgian Grand Prix at Zolder.
© Sutton Images Estoril, September 1996: Jacques Villeneuve’s third win of the year at the Portuguese Grand Prix kept him in contention for the title and set up a final race showdown with Williams team mate Damon Hill.
© Sutton Images Sao Paulo, March 1997: Having lost the season opener to Mc Laren’s David Coulthard, Jacques Villeneuve fought back with successive victories in the Brazilian and Argentine Grands Prix.
In 1995, aged 24, he became the youngest winner of both the famed Indianapolis 500 race and the Indy Car championship.
In 1996 Williams brought him to Formula One racing, where he started from pole at the first race of the season, in Australia, led (until slowed by an oil leak) and finished second to his veteran Williams team mate Damon Hill, with whom he engaged in a see-saw struggle for supremacy for the rest of the year.
One guesses that Jacques Villeneuve will be treating his visit to Australia next weekend as a honeymoon of sorts, with news that the 1997 Formula 1 World Champion has married his girlfriend, Brazilian model Camila Lopez.
The pair wed at a civil ceremony in her native São Paulo, one week ahead of the French-Canadian’s visit to Australia, where he will compete as a replacement for the injured Greg Murphy in his Pepsi Max Crew Holden Commodore in the V8 Supercars’ Sucrogen 400 at Townsville.
Schumacher's infamous failure to ram his rival off the road left the Ferrari superstar in disgrace and Villeneuve on the top of the world.
It was a wonderfully dramatic story - the brave son of a racing legend who fended off a villain's worst efforts to become World Champion - that confirmed Villeneuve's place in Formula One history and folklore.
In 2006, he married Paris-based Johanna Martinez, and six months later the pair had their first child, a son they named Jules.