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Tate was eight months pregnant with Polanski's baby at the time, and yet her attackers paid little heed, stabbing her 16 times and murdering the four friends who were with her - Jay Sebring, Abigail Folger, Steven Parent and Voyteck Frykowski. It was a night of inexplicable horror and sent reverberations not only through the Hollywood community, but throughout the world.The events have been endlessly discussed, even by Roman Polanski, who finds himself the subject of yet another biography - Polanski by Christopher Sandford - to be published next week.But throughout all this, there has been one aspect of Sharon Tate's story of which even Polanski has not been fully aware - her relationship with the actor Christopher Jones. Most famous for his role as Major Randolph Doryan in David Lean's epic, Ryan's Daughter, Jones embarked on an affair with Tate when she was six weeks pregnant with Polanski's child and has not, until now, spoken fully of their relationship. "I don't think I'm betraying any confidence by talking about it."I knew that she was married to Roman and I had no intention of splitting them up."The next day I ran into actress Nathalie Delon (wife of actor Alain Delon) who was a friend of Sharon's and whom I had also been seeing, and she said: 'Chris, what did you do to Sharon?She has never been so in love.' "Yes, I knew Sharon was pregnant and of course I felt guilty about that, but I've thought about this a lot since and the marriage vows say: 'What God joins together, let no man put asunder.' "Well, God obviously separated them and put me there." Jones and Tate continued to see each other, and although he might have been infatuated with Tate, it didn't stop him conducting simultaneous affairs with Pia Degermark and his former wife Susan. "Well, maybe Susan didn't know about Sharon, but I had a little too much on my plate, and even that wasn't enough."I hadn't even taken my clothes off but after we'd made love I told her I was going upstairs to sleep.She asked me to stay, but when I looked out the window I couldn't see a fire escape and my first thought then was: 'What if Polanski comes back? "I wasn't afraid of him, just worried about the repercussions, but she stopped asking me to stay and I left.
All I can say is that I was young, had a high libido and no conscience, and I just wanted to figure out a way for my manager to take Sharon back to the hotel so I could see the Italian girl.Polanski, the Paris-born director of horror film Rosemary's Baby, was brilliant and troubled (his mother had died in a Nazi-run camp in German-occulied Poland) and he later gained a reputation for controversy when he was convicted of the statutory rape of a 13-year- old girl in 1977.But in March 1969, "Sharon arrived in Rome with my manager," says Jones, "and so we all arranged to go out to dinner that night.Slightly built, a touch gaunt of face and softly spoken, he chats openly but doesn't eat or drink throughout the twohour meeting (the reason why becoming apparent only towards the end).He has managed to cram an awful lot into his life, including a marriage to actress Susan Strasberg (daughter of acting coach, Lee Strasberg), countless lovers (including actresses Olivia Hussey and Susan George, "who came up to my apartment when I was staying in London and the next day moved her toothbrush in, so I had to say, no way!