Composer & Musician

Courtships & Marriages (1887-1899)

After returning home, Debussy became a member of the Societe nationale de Musique. As well, Debussy met Gabrielle Dupont, a tailor's daughter, whom he began courting. 

After nine years of courting Gabrielle, Debussy performed with the singer Therese Roger.


Claiming that Therese "sang like a little fairy", Debussy soon ended his courtship with Gabrielle so that he could become engaged to Therese. Soon, though, Debussy received anonymous letters criticizing him for leaving Gabrielle. Because of this, Debussy broke off his engagement.

Despite Debussy's attempt at pleasing the public, Gabrielle soon attempted suicide after Debussy refused to continue their relationship.

And, just as Gabrielle had done, Debussy became depressed and found himself contemplating suicide, as well.

After more complaints from the public and friends, though, Debussy began courting Gabrielle again. But again, he broke off their relationship.

 After two broken courtships, Debussy finally met Marie-Rosalie Texier, a fashion model, whom he married on October 19, 1899.


Five years later, however, he left his wife. Leaving behind Marie-Rosalie, Debussy ran away with Emma Bardac, the mother of one of his students and the wife of a banker. Angry and annoyed, many of Debussy's friends found themselves withdrawing from Debussy's company.

And, just like Gaby, Marie-Rosalie attempted suicide; upon hearing this, many newspapers began condemning Debussy for the harsh treatment of his wife. Despite this, Debussy legally divorced his wife in order to live with Emma. Finding herself pregnant, Emma divorced from her own husband as well.

On October 30, 1905 Emma and Debussy had their first and only child together, their daughter Claude-Emma Debussy. Three years later on January 20, 1908 Emma and Debussy finally married.

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