Gala was born Elena Dmitrievna Diakonova in Kazan, Russia, to a family of intellectuals. Among her childhood friends was the poet Marina Tsvetaeva. As a young woman, living in Moscow, she graduated as a schoolteacher in 1915. She possessed a great sensitivity for art and distinct physical and intellectual attractiveness. She was part of the surrealist group, many of which were in love with her.
She met Dali in the spring of 1929, at the time married with Paul Eulard. An affair quickly developed between Gala and Dalí. Nevertheless, even after the breakup of their marriage, Éluard and Gala continued to be close.
Dali's love for Gala, a woman 10 years older than him, exploded then; he realized numerous extravagancies to capture her attention; such as waxing his armpit and dying it blue, applying goat excrements upon himself and wearing a red geranium on his head. His emotion was such, that every time he tried to talk to her, he suffered uncontrollable laughing attacks.
During a stroll in Cabo de Creus, Dali fell on his knees laughing, he declared his love for her, and holding his hand Gala said "... my boy, let us never to be separated..." this would have given Dali a feeling of being divinely understood.
In his secret life, Dalí tells us: "...her body had an infantile complexion, scapula and lumbar muscles a teenager's tension, the curve of her back however, was extraordinarily feminine and gracefully joined the energetic torso with the delicate buttock, that her bee like shaping, made her even more desirable..."
Gala had a great influence on Salvador Dali's life and deed. She died on June 10, 1982. When the news was given to the painter, he said "...she is not dead, she will never die..."