Helen Mirren: ‘I’ve only had three or four serious lovers’

Helen Mirren has only had three or four serious lovers, as she’s always been “serially monogamous”.

The Queen actress has been married to director Taylor Hackford for 22 years, having started dating in the mid-1980s following her romance with fellow actor Liam Neeson.

Despite enjoying her love affairs, the 74-year-old star says she’s always been faithful.

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“I’ve had probably three or four serious lovers. I was serially monogamous until I met my husband. And now I’m just monogamous,” Helen told Britain’s Daily Mail newspaper.

The star plays the famously promiscuous Russian monarch Catherine the Great in a new miniseries, and sees something of herself in the queen as she always followed her heart.

“She was sexy, and had a healthy appetite,” the British actress said. “To my mind, because I’m a child of my own culture, there’s always that sense of ‘Oh, I’m not quite sure that’s really the way to behave’ – except, of course, in one’s own life. I felt it was my right to have affairs, and be in love with people, and to live with them. I’m a bit like Catherine.”

The star also believes Catherine’s appetites would have caused less scandal were she male.

“If Catherine was a man – say, (British monarch) Henry VIII – you absolutely wouldn’t mention it. But because it’s a woman, she exposes all those prejudices and male hypocrisies.”

Catherine the Great debuts on HBO and Sky Atlantic on 21 October.

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