Yves was born to the Italian peasants Giovanni and Guiseppina Livi, but at an early age they all moved to Marseille, France. Yves dropped out of school at age 11 and, using a forged identity card, got a job in a food processing factory. At 14, he worked with his sister as a hairdresser, and at 17 he found a job st a metal production company. Shortly thereafter he was discovered by celebrity singer Edith Piaf in Paris, and the two began a relationship, as well as developing Yves' career as a singer. From there his career as a singer and actor skyrocketed, and in time he starred in dozens of movies. In 1951 he married Simone Signoret, and they remained a couple until 1985. In 1988 he and his second wife Carole Amiel had a son named Valentin.