The Incredible Story And Life Of Philippe Pozzo Di Borgo

The world has witnessed some genuinely exceptional people who have shared some truly incredible stories over the decades. Philippe Pozzo Di Borgo is one of them.

Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, a name that resonates not just in the annals of French aristocracy but also in the hearts of millions who have been touched by his extraordinary life story.

Born into the illustrious Corsican Pozzo di Borgo family, Philippe’s life took a trajectory that few could have predicted. From his esteemed role in the champagne industry to a life-altering accident that would redefine his existence, his journey is a testament to the indomitable human spirit.

But perhaps what stands out most vividly in Philippe Pozzo di Borgo’s narrative is his profound bond with Abdel Yasmin Sellou, an unlikely friendship that inspired the globally acclaimed film, “The Intouchables.”

As we delve deeper into the life of this remarkable individual, we’ll explore the myriad facets that have made his story a beacon of hope, resilience, and the transformative power of human connection.

Early Life and Background

Philippe Pozzo di Borgo was born into a lineage steeped in history and prestige. As the scion of the Pozzo di Borgo family, his roots trace back to Corsican nobility, a heritage that has played a pivotal role in shaping his worldview and values.

From the sun-kissed shores of Corsica to the bustling streets of Paris, Philippe’s upbringing was a blend of traditional aristocratic values and a keen understanding of the evolving world around him. The Pozzo di Borgo family’s legacy dates back to the 1500s, with ancestors who held significant sway in Corsican and French political circles.

While many might associate Philippe primarily with his later life and the challenges he faced, it’s essential to recognise the foundation laid during his formative years. His early education and exposure to both Corsican and French cultures provided him with a unique perspective, allowing him to navigate the complexities of his later roles in the champagne industry with finesse and acumen.

In the tapestry of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo’s life, these early threads—of family, heritage, and education—wove together to create a backdrop against which his later achievements and challenges would be set.

Career Highlights

In the world of luxury and refinement, champagne stands as a symbol of celebration, success, and sophistication. And in this realm, Philippe Pozzo di Borgo carved a niche for himself, demonstrating not just business acumen but also a deep appreciation for the craft and heritage of champagne production.

Before the unforeseen challenges that life threw his way, Philippe was making waves in the champagne industry. He took on significant roles, most notably serving as the director of Champagne Pommery, a brand synonymous with quality and elegance. Under his stewardship, Pommery thrived, further cementing its position as one of the leading champagne houses in the world.

But it wasn’t just about business for Philippe Pozzo di Borgo. His tenure at Champagne Pommery was marked by a genuine passion for the product and a commitment to upholding the traditions and standards that define the world of champagne. This dedication was evident in the innovations he championed and the partnerships he forged during his time at the helm.

Beyond Pommery, Philippe Pozzo di Borgo’s influence in the champagne industry was widespread. Before his directorial role at Pommery, he served as a manager for Moët and Chandon, another titan in the champagne world. His contributions to these esteemed brands and his broader impact on the industry are a testament to his expertise and vision.

Philippe Pozzo Di Borgo served as manager of Moët and Chandon. | Image: Moët & Chandon.

In essence, Philippe Pozzo di Borgo’s career in the champagne industry was not just about titles and roles; it was a journey marked by passion, innovation, and an unwavering commitment to excellence.

Philippe Pozzo Di Borgo’s The Life-Changing Accident

Life, with its unpredictable twists and turns, has a way of challenging even the most resilient among us. For Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, a fateful day in 1993 would forever alter the course of his life. An avid adventurer, Philippe took to the skies for a paragliding session, a pursuit he had come to love. However, what should have been a routine flight turned tragic when an accident occurred, leaving him with severe injuries.

The aftermath was devastating. Philippe Pozzo di Borgo was rendered a quadriplegic, confined to a wheelchair and dependent on others for even the most basic tasks. The world he had known, filled with business meetings, champagne tastings, and adventurous escapades, seemed a distant memory. Now, he faced a new reality, one marked by physical limitations and a profound sense of loss.

The emotional toll was equally heavy. Coming to terms with his new circumstances was a daunting challenge. The vibrant, independent man who had once navigated the corridors of power in the champagne industry and soared through the skies of France was now grappling with feelings of despair and vulnerability.

Yet, even in the face of such adversity, Philippe’s spirit remained unbroken. While the accident had taken away his physical mobility, it couldn’t diminish his zest for life, his determination, or his capacity to inspire those around him. As we’ll discover in the subsequent sections, this tragic event set the stage for a remarkable chapter in Philippe’s life, one that would see him form an unlikely bond and once again find joy and purpose.

The Inspiring Bond with Abdel

In the aftermath of life’s most challenging moments, sometimes, the most unexpected of connections can spark a beacon of hope. For Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, this beacon came in the form of Abdel Yasmin Sellou, a young immigrant from Morocco with a past that was as contrasting to Philippe’s as could be imagined.

Abdel, with his history of street life and brushes with the law, might have seemed an unlikely companion for an aristocrat like Philippe. Yet, when the two met, something extraordinary happened. Abdel was hired as Philippe’s caregiver, a role that required patience, understanding, and a deep sense of empathy. And while his unconventional methods and irreverent humour might have raised eyebrows, they were precisely what Philippe needed.

Their bond transcended the usual employer-employee dynamic. Abdel, with his unfiltered honesty and zest for life, brought laughter and light into Philippe’s world. He didn’t tiptoe around Philippe’s condition but instead challenged him, engaged with him, and most importantly, treated him as an equal. Their days were filled with banter, adventures, and shared moments that showcased the depth of their connection.

This unique and heartwarming relationship caught the attention of many, eventually inspiring the acclaimed French film, “The Intouchables.”

The movie, which became an international sensation, beautifully captured the essence of Philippe and Abdel’s bond. It highlighted how two individuals, from vastly different backgrounds and facing their own set of challenges, could come together to form a friendship that defied societal expectations.

In Abdel, Philippe Pozzo di Borgo found more than just a caregiver; he found a confidant, a friend, and a testament to the idea that genuine connections can arise in the most unexpected of circumstances.

“The Intouchables” – A Global Phenomenon

In the world of cinema, few films manage to strike a chord that resonates across cultures, borders, and languages. “The Intouchables” is one such film. Born from the real-life story of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and Abdel Yasmin Sellou, this French cinematic masterpiece quickly became a global sensation, touching the hearts of audiences worldwide.

Directed by Olivier Nakache and Éric Toledano, “The Intouchables” beautifully captures the essence of Philippe and Abdel’s unique bond. With François Cluzet portraying Philippe and Omar Sy bringing Abdel’s character to life, the film delves deep into their friendship, showcasing the highs, the lows, and the myriad moments that define their relationship.

But what truly set “The Intouchables” apart was its authentic portrayal of human connection. It wasn’t just a story of an aristocrat and his caregiver; it was a tale of two individuals finding common ground, understanding, and genuine friendship in the most unexpected of circumstances. The film’s narrative, combined with stellar performances and a captivating soundtrack, made it an instant hit.

Upon its release, “The Intouchables” received widespread acclaim, both from critics and audiences. It garnered numerous awards, including a César Award for Omar Sy’s outstanding performance. But beyond the accolades, the film’s true success lay in its ability to inspire and uplift. It sparked conversations about friendship, disability, and the power of human connection, making it a cultural phenomenon.

Its impact wasn’t limited to France. “The Intouchables” found fans across the globe, from the UK to Asia, from the Americas to Africa. Its universal themes and heartfelt storytelling transcended language barriers, making it one of the most successful French films of all time.

In essence, “The Intouchables” stands as a testament to the enduring power of cinema to tell stories that touch the soul, and in doing so, it immortalised the incredible journey of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo and Abdel Yasmin Sellou for generations to come.

Legacy and Impact

The story of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo is not just one of personal triumph and resilience; it’s a narrative that has left an indelible mark on popular culture and inspired countless individuals worldwide. Beyond the cinematic success of “The Intouchables,” Philippe’s legacy is multifaceted, touching various spheres of society.

Literature and Personal Accounts

Philippe Pozzo di Borgo’s journey, with all its challenges and moments of enlightenment, found its way into literature. His memoir, “Le Second Souffle” (translated as “Second Wind”), offers readers an intimate glimpse into his life post-accident. The book delves into his struggles, his evolving relationship with Abdel, and the profound lessons he gleaned from his experiences. It stands as a testament to Philippe’s introspective nature and his ability to find meaning even in adversity.

Advocacy and Awareness

Beyond his personal accounts, Philippe became a beacon of hope for many facing physical disabilities. His story brought attention to the challenges faced by quadriplegics and shed light on the importance of mental well-being, support, and rehabilitation. Through interviews, talks, and public appearances, Philippe advocated for better facilities, understanding, and inclusivity for those with disabilities.

Cultural Impact

The tale of an aristocrat and his unlikely caregiver broke societal norms and challenged preconceived notions about friendship and human connection. It sparked discussions about class, race, and the inherent biases that often dictate relationships. In many ways, Philippe and Abdel’s story became a symbol of breaking barriers and finding common ground in the most unexpected places.

Inspirational Figure

For many, Philippe’s life serves as a reminder of the human spirit’s resilience. His ability to find joy, purpose, and connection amidst challenges has inspired individuals from all walks of life. Whether it’s someone facing a personal setback, a caregiver navigating the complexities of their role, or simply someone seeking a tale of hope, Philippe’s story resonates.

In conclusion, while Philippe Pozzo di Borgo’s name might be intrinsically linked to “The Intouchables,” his impact goes far beyond the silver screen. His legacy is one of hope, understanding, and the transformative power of human connections, leaving an enduring mark on society.

Recent Events and Milestones

Life is a tapestry of events, milestones, and moments that shape our narrative. For Philippe Pozzo di Borgo, each chapter of his life has been marked by significant events that have not only influenced his personal journey but also left an indelible mark on those who have followed his story.

Passing of a Legend

In a poignant turn of events, the world bid farewell to Philippe Pozzo di Borgo. His passing was not just a loss for his loved ones but also for the countless individuals inspired by his resilience and spirit. Tributes poured in from across the globe, with many reflecting on the profound impact of his life’s story.

Legacy Continues

While Philippe may no longer be with us, his legacy continues to thrive. The foundations he laid, whether through his advocacy for disability rights, his literary contributions, or his influence on popular culture, ensure that his story will continue to inspire for generations to come.

Commemorations and Honours

In recognition of his contributions and the global impact of his story, several commemorations and honours have been bestowed posthumously. From literary awards for his memoir to recognitions from disability rights organisations, the accolades serve as a testament to Philippe’s enduring influence.

A Lasting Message

Even in his final days, Philippe’s message was one of hope, connection, and the power of the human spirit. Interviews and personal accounts from those close to him in his final years highlight his unwavering optimism and belief in the transformative power of human connections.

In conclusion, while Philippe Pozzo di Borgo’s physical presence may no longer grace this world, his spirit, message, and legacy remain. His life, marked by challenges, triumphs, and an unyielding zest for life, serves as a beacon of hope and a testament to the enduring power of the human spirit.


Philippe Pozzo di Borgo’s life story is a testament to the enduring strength of the human spirit. From the sunlit corridors of Corsican aristocracy to the challenging aftermath of a life-altering accident, his journey has been one of resilience, transformation, and profound human connection.

The Incredible Story And Life Of Philippe Pozzo Di Borgo
Poster of the Intouchables film by the Weinstein Company.

His bond with Abdel Yasmin Sellou, an unlikely friendship that blossomed against all odds, showcased the beauty of genuine human relationships, transcending societal norms and expectations.

This bond not only transformed Philippe’s life but also touched the hearts of millions worldwide, culminating in the global cinematic phenomenon, “The Intouchables.”

Beyond the silver screen, Philippe’s legacy is multifaceted. His advocacy for disability rights, his literary contributions, and his unwavering spirit have inspired countless individuals, serving as a beacon of hope and a reminder of the transformative power of human connections.

In reflecting upon Philippe’s life, one is reminded of the boundless potential within each of us to overcome challenges, to forge meaningful bonds, and to leave an indelible mark on the world. His story, while unique in its details, resonates with universal themes of hope, resilience, and the enduring power of love and friendship.

As we conclude this exploration of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo’s incredible journey, we are left with a sense of gratitude for the lessons he imparted and the inspiration he continues to provide to all who encounter his story.


In the pursuit of accuracy and to provide readers with a comprehensive understanding of Philippe Pozzo di Borgo’s life and legacy, the following sources were consulted:

  1. Pozzo di Borgo, Philippe. “Le Second Souffle.” This memoir offers an intimate look into Philippe’s life, detailing his experiences post-accident and his transformative bond with Abdel Yasmin Sellou.
  2. Nakache, Olivier, and Toledano, Éric.The Intouchables.” This critically acclaimed film, inspired by Philippe and Abdel’s story, provides a cinematic portrayal of their unique friendship.
  3. Various Interviews and Articles. Over the years, numerous interviews, articles, and features have delved into Philippe’s life, his challenges, and his enduring spirit. These sources have been instrumental in painting a holistic picture of his journey.
  4. Disability Advocacy Groups and Organisations. To understand Philippe’s impact in the realm of disability rights and advocacy, insights from various organisations and groups were considered.
  5. Personal Accounts and Testimonials. Those who knew Philippe personally, including family members, friends, and associates, have shared their memories and reflections, offering a deeper understanding of the man behind the public persona.

It’s essential to acknowledge the invaluable contributions of these sources in ensuring that Philippe Pozzo di Borgo’s story is told with accuracy, depth, and respect.

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