"We allow each other to do our own thing, and get on with it"
Dame Helen Mirren has a few secrets to share for a lasting marriage.
The celebrated actress, who first met her director husband Taylor Hackford on one of his films ("White Nights"), will ring in 25 years of marriage this December (and 10 years of being together before that).
Speaking to People for their Beautiful Issue, the 76-year-old opened up about her relationship and something unexpected that came out of the pandemic.
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"I've worked every year since I was 20," Mirren explained. "COVID was the first time in the whole of my life I've not worked for six months."
"[So many people] were suffering through that terrible, terrible time, but what was valuable for me was that I got to spend time with my husband and sit across the table from him every night for six months — which I've never done before — and not worry about or even think about work."
She did, however, have some advice to offer when it comes to longevity: "A really important part of love is to maintain your own sense of identity. In a way, that's the most important thing of all, to not subsume yourself into someone else, far from it. Be honestly and authentically who you are."
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"It's work," Mirren admitted. "And it's very important to allow the person you love to be who they are — even if [sometimes] you don't like it very much."
But there's a huge payoff she said: "You're constantly discovering, learning about the person you love, who suddenly, completely surprises you."
"You find depths of courage or patience or generosity or that you just didn't know were there."
However, when asked if Hackford, 77, makes her feel beautiful, Mirren laughed off the question saying, "Oh, he doesn't!"
She then explained: "I don't think he ever makes me feel beautiful. It's not necessary. That's not what I love him for, honestly."