‘That’s why we’re still together’ Helen Mirren’s ‘secret’ to marriage is spending it apart

Lorraine: Helen Mirren reflects on 'journey' during lockdown

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Helen Mirren, 76, and husband Taylor Hackford, have been married for 24 years after tying the knot in 1997. She met the film director a few years after her breakthrough film in 1980’s The Long Good Friday, and he later auditioned her for the Cold War ballet movie White Nights.

We’re always pleased to see each other

Helen Mirren

They have both gone on to lead very successful careers in the film industry, often separate from each others.

With various projects taking them all over the world and away from one another, Helen admitted that’s probably why their marriage has lasted.

“My theory has always been that this is why we’re still together: because we’ve spent so much time apart, we’re always pleased to see each other,” she gushed in a chat with You magazine.

With their differing work schedules, the coronavirus pandemic actually brought them closer than ever before.

For the first time in around three decades, the couple were able to sit down at the table to eat dinner together.

Speaking on the Graham Norton Show, Helen said: “For the first time in 30 odd years of marriage we sat at the table opposite each other and had dinner together every night for six months.

“It was fantastic, brilliant.”

She was there to promote her new film The Duke, where she portrays Dorothy Bunton.

The comedy-drama, which is set in 1961, follows 60-year-old taxi driver Kempton Bunton, played by Jim Broadbent, who steals Goya’s portrait of the Duke of Wellington from the National Gallery in London.

He sends ransom notes saying that he will return the painting if the government invests more in care for the elderly.

It is the final film from director Roger Michell, who died last September.

She told the audience: “I swore to myself that I would never play a character that is described as the long-suffering, but she is, and she is a great character.”

Helen added: “This turned out to be Roger Michell’s last film.

“He was a great film director and I think it is wonderful to have this as his last because it is very funny, but at the same time it has great emotional depth.”

Speaking to Radio Times about her role in the film, she admitted it might help her “break free” from the casting chains of 2006 film The Queen; a character she has been tied to ever since.

And Dorothy’s drab, worn-down essence is a far cry from Her Majesty.

Mirren appeared as Queen Elizabeth II, in an iconic performance that won her an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA and a SAG Award, among others.


The film follows the Royal Family as they try and deal with the series of events that happened after the tragic death of Princess Diana in 1997.

And even thought she’s honoured to have had the opportunity, she was eager for people to see her in a different light on-screen.

Of Dorothy, she explained: “I loved the character and because the Queen is sticking to me like an old band-aid… while I am profoundly honoured…” she giggled.

“And I honestly couldn’t think of a more interesting and profound person to be stuck on me!”

She went on: “Nonetheless, I am an actress and so I did want to break free a little bit.”

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