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12/07/2015 10:55 am ET Updated Dec 07, 2015

Photo Captures Jeff Bridges' Fateful First Meeting With His True Love

He asked her out, she turned him down.

In the mid-1970s, a young Jeff Bridges already had two decades of acting experience under his belt. Thanks to his famous father, Bridges knew the ins and outs of filming a movie, so by the time he was working on 1975's "Rancho Deluxe," he wasn't in for too many surprises on the set. Off-set, however, was a completely different story.

As Bridges tells "Oprah's Master Class," he had been filming the movie in Montana when a local woman caught his eye.

"We're sitting there doing this scene and I can't stop looking at this gorgeous [woman]. I didn't know if she was a guest at the hotel, a waitress, a maid. I couldn't figure out what she was," Bridges says.

Even though the mystery woman, named Susan, was banged up from a recent car accident, Bridges was captivated by her beauty. "She had two black eyes and a broken nose, and I just couldn't take my eyes off her," he says.

Susan had noticed Bridges staring at her, despite his best attempts to be sly and hide his gaze. After she busted him one too many times, Bridges made his move.

"Finally, I get the guts to go ask her out," he says. "I go, 'Would you like to go out tonight?'"

She flatly turned him down, adding that maybe they'd just see each other around the small town some other time. A few nights later, the two did cross paths again at a local bar.

"We danced, and that was about it, man," Bridges says. "I mean, I was head over heels. I was head over heels the first time I saw her."

They married in 1977, and about 10 years into their marriage, Bridges received one of the sweetest surprises from the man who had been the makeup artist on the set of "Rancho Deluxe." In a letter, the makeup artist had written that he was going through some old files when he found something he thought Bridges should have.

"He [writes], 'I was going through my files and I came upon this shot I took of you asking a local girl out,'" Bridges recalls. "Then, out of this envelope falls these two pictures of the first words I ever spoke to my wife."

Courtesy of Jeff Bridges

Bridges carries these photos with him always, tucking them into his wallet and marveling at the luck to have that first conversation preserved on film.

"They're my prized possession," he says proudly. "To have pictures, what are the odds of that?"

"Oprah's Master Class" airs on OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network.

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