Devastated, she headed for New York. She was soon modeling for the likes of Vogue. She had taken up with well-known fashion photographer Bob Richardson. It was an abusive relationship that lasted four long years, but one she doesn't regret.
"He taught me about the camera, he taught me about lighting," she said. "And he thought I was beautiful, so that helped."
She admits she was attracted to bad boys -- one famous one in particular.
Cowan asked, "Do you ever get tired of talking about Jack Nicholson?"
"No, 'cause I never get tired of Jack!" she replied. "It was love at first sight for me."
Not that it was easy living with one of the biggest stars in the world. There were challenges, she says, at every turn.
"He was the center of attention, very much the center of female attention -- and male attention, by the way," Huston said. "Men are WORSE than women. Men are 'Jack, Jack, Jack, Jack.' And you're like, what?"
It was opposite Jack, with her father directing, that Anjelica won her own Oscar for the role of a wise-talking Italian mob mistress in "Prizzi's Honor."
Maerose: "You want to do it, Charley? Is that what you want?"
Charley: "With all the lights on?"
Maerose: "Yeah, right here. On the oriental. With the lights on."
"That was one of the great lines of Richard Condon ever -- You wanna do it?" Huston laughed.
She and Nicholson were together, on and off, for 16 years. Whether they would marry and have a family was a source of constant speculation.
"It's a real pain to always have this kind of Is she or isn't she going to be pregnant? And it puts a lot of pressure on a girl."
"And it was really hard because you did want to have a child," said Cowan.
"I did want to have a child, and worked very hard at it."
Instead, Nicholson fathered a child with actress Rebecca Broussard. In an instant, it was all very publicly -- and very painfully -- over.
"All of a sudden he was as absent as he'd been present in my life, and that was really hard to take," she said.
She's writing about it all now -- in part two of her memoir, out next year. But she says Nicholson has nothing to worry about.
"I think just so long as I don't, you know, drag him through the thistles, I think we'll be fine," Huston said.
"Are you going to?"
"No, I wouldn't dream of it," she said. "Jack doesn't deserve to be dragged through the thistles. I know a lot of people I'd drag through them before I'd drag him."
She found love again. She married famed sculptor Robert Graham in 1992. They were together until he died in 2008.
Again, she dealt with her grief by working, most recently as the Broadway producer in the NBC series, "Smash."
"September Song," featured on the show, was an ode to the Huston family roots. Her grandfather sang it on Broadway in 1938, and it was played at her father's funeral.
She's as proud to be a Huston now as she ever was -- on her terms, with few regrets.
"At least my life, I can go to the heights and I can go to the depths, and I can find my levels in-between. That's a good life."
WEB EXTRA VIDEO: Angelica Huston reads an excerpt from her memoir about her father, John Huston. (Click on the video player below.)
For more info:
- "A Story Lately Told: Coming of Age in Ireland, London, and New York" by Anjelica Huston (Scribners); Also available in eBook, Unabridged audio download, and Unabridged Audio CD formats
- "Smash" (NBC)