Released in 1980, the risqué film became one of the top 10 box office hits of the year and helped launch the careers of Atkins and Shields (whom Atkins called “Patches” because of the way the sun freckled her face). It also may have started a brief fling between the two stars, depending who you ask.
“We had a little romance and it was very sweet. We were young so it wasn’t anything really serious. But at the time, it was one of the most magical moments of my life, to be on this deserted island for four months and share all that time and experience with her. You can never, ever take that away,” said Atkins.
However, in her memoir There Was A Little Girl, published in 2014, Shields said their relationship was merely “platonic.”
“He was really cute and I think everybody was even secretly hoping that we would become a real-life couple I would have none of it and their plan backfired,” wrote Shields. “But he really was so sweet and happy that I would eventually develop a crush on him. It lasted only a very short time because Chris and I were really more like brother and sister than we were lovers.”
Either way, these days Atkins is busy acting, producing and being a proud grandfather. And there may even be another trip back to the blue lagoon in the near future.
“They want us to come back and get married on the island,” said Atkins. “Who knows? Maybe we’ll do that.”