As André the Giant's only child, Robin Christensen-Roussimoff is an actress and former wrestler who works to help keep her father's legacy alive.
When André the Giant died in 1993, he left an outsized legacy. The wrestler-turned-actor had awed at high-profile fights and warmed hearts in The Princess Bride. But his memory is especially important to one person — Robin Christensen-Roussimoff, André the Giant’s daughter and only child.
Born as her father’s star skyrocketed — and as the product of a strained relationship he had with her mother, Jean Christensen — Robin didn’t see her father much. By her own estimate, she met him just five times before he died around her 14th birthday.
Yet as the daughter of André the Giant, Robin Christensen-Roussimoff is irrevocably tied to his legacy — and has done what she can to protect his image.
Robin Christensen-Roussimoff Is The Only Daughter Of André The Giant
By the time Robin Christensen-Roussimoff came into the world in 1979, her father André the Giant had built an international reputation as an unusually big wrestler.
Born André René Roussimoff in Coulommiers, France, in 1946, André the Giant had always been big — as a baby, he weighed between 11 and 13 pounds. As Andre discovered later, he had a hormonal disorder called acromegaly that resulted in excess growth.
But though doctors warned him that the condition could shorten his life, it also gave Andre his formidable size. Rising to a towering 7 feet 4 inches, he started as a wrestler in Europe, then made his way to Japan, Canada, and the United States.
And in the early 1970s, he crossed paths with Jean Christensen, who did public relations in the wrestling world.
“There was no spark there,” Christensen said in a 1990s interview, though she also noted that, as a tall woman herself, she liked that Andre towered over her even when she wore high heels. “It was just somebody I’d run into. Eventually, yes, there was that nod-nod-winky-winky thing.”
During their relationship, Jean claims that she thought Andre was sterile. But soon, she gave birth to a baby girl while living in France — Robin Christensen-Roussimoff.
However, shortly after Christensen-Roussimoff was born, Christensen and Andre’s relationship deteriorated. And between that and Andre’s schedule, Christensen-Roussimoff rarely saw her father. According to CBS Sports, she only met him five times.
The first time she saw him, she recalled at the New York City Comic-Con in 2016, was when he got a blood test to confirm that they were actually related.
Growing Up As The Child Of A Wrestling Legend
Despite having been born in Europe, Robin Christensen-Roussimoff grew up in Seattle with her mother. And André the Giant played a large but sporadic role in her life.
“I can recall two or three times [that I saw him] at arenas,” Christensen-Roussimoff told CBS. “Unfortunately, other times, they were in court.”
Though she knew her father was famous, Christensen-Roussimoff didn’t watch Andre’s wrestling at home. Her mother didn’t want her to develop a distorted idea of her father.
“She wanted me to form my own opinions on my dad, not what the media sold him as,” Christensen-Roussimoff explained to CBS. As such, she only ever saw him as “dad” and not as his wrestling persona.
“The persona never really touched me,” she said in a 2018 interview with The Post Game. “When I saw him, he was dad — because I saw him behind the ring. I didn’t watch the matches. I saw him backstage.”
That said, Robin Christensen-Roussimoff was in for a surprise when her mother took her to a showing of The Princess Bride in 1987 without telling her that her father played the role of Fezzik.
“I was eight years old, and the funny thing is I didn’t know about it until it came out,” Christensen-Roussimoff told Sports Illustrated. “My mom took me to see the movie, and I still remember the scene when they were about to kidnap Buttercup. Very loudly, I said, ‘That’s my dad!'”
She added, “My dad was extremely, extremely proud of that role. In a way, he kind of got to be himself as Fezzik. He was very lovable. Everyone put their whole heart into their roles, and it showed.”
But André the Giant’s daughter saw her father more on screen than in real life. His schedule made it difficult for them to get together, and Christensen-Roussimoff was often hesitant to fly across the country alone to visit him when he was at his ranch in North Carolina.
“It broke his heart,” Andre’s friend, Jackie McAuley, told CBS. “It absolutely broke his heart that they couldn’t spend more time together.”
Though they were physically separated, Andre did make an effort to keep in touch with his daughter. Christensen-Roussimoff remembered that she never had any problem reaching him when she needed to and that he never “excluded” her from his life.
Sadly, André the Giant’s daughter never got to know her father as she grew older. In 1993, when Robin Christensen-Roussimoff was around 14 years old, he died at the age of 46 from congestive heart failure related to his acromegaly.
“Maybe had he lived longer, I might have had a closer relationship with him,” Christensen-Roussimoff told Post and Courier. “Perhaps he would’ve attended my graduation, or been proud of my successes. I’ll never get to really know who he was as a person.”
Despite this, Christensen-Roussimoff plays an important role in preserving André the Giant’s legacy. When he died, André the Giant left his entire estate to her as his sole heir. And today, she has a say anytime that her father’s likeness is used and receives royalties when it is.
Where Is Robin Christensen-Roussimoff Today?
Since André the Giant’s death in 1993, his daughter has carried on his legacy in more ways than one. Not only does Robin Christensen-Roussimoff look like her famous father, but according to The Cinemaholic, she’s also six feet tall and briefly dabbled in wrestling.
Today, she’s a steward of his image and reputation. Though Christensen-Roussimoff mostly keeps to herself and lives in Seattle out of the spotlight, she has been known to give interviews about her father and attend events like Comic-Con to discuss his life.
But sometimes, being André the Giant’s daughter can be a difficult thing to bear. For Christensen-Roussimoff, the experience of rewatching her father’s matches or movies is often tinged with pain.
“There’s a lot of mixed emotion when it comes to watching his old stuff in the ring,” she told CBS. “I even have hard times now and then watching The Princess Bride. A lot of mixed emotions when it comes to that sort of thing.”
She added, “A lot of it has to do with the fact that I am his daughter. It’s just one of those things of, you know, it’s just really, really mixed emotions when it comes to that just simply because we didn’t have the relationship that we could have had. And a lot of it had to do with his work schedule. Yeah, it’s not easy to watch.”
For millions of people, André the Giant was many things. He was a must-see wrestler whose size made his fights a thrill to watch and a compelling actor who starred in one of the most beloved movies of the 20th century.
But to Robin Christensen-Roussimoff, André the Giant was just one thing: her dad. And despite their separation during her childhood, she seems proud to carry on his legacy.