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Kate Winslet on true love – third time lucky ‘I can’t have jealousy or envy!’


This Friday, she’ll be switching, not only time period but species, to supply the voice of Black Beauty in the new Disney Plus film of Anna Sewell’s beloved children’s classic. And right now, she’s deep in filming Avatar 2, the sequel to the 2009 science fiction epic, directed again by her old friend from Titanic days, James Cameron. “I am not very good at resting,” she agrees via Zoom from Philadelphia, where the filming is taking place. 

“I need to get better at it! I find it very hard to slow down and switch off my brain, so for example things like meditating I am terrible at, because I just sit there thinking, ‘Well, I have to do this and that “There are all these lists of things that I am making in my head the whole time, so I’m a terrible student when it comes to that.” 

She frowns disapprovingly, before switching to the subject of her good points.

“What I am getting better at, now that I am getting older, is that when I’m working, whenever I have a five-minute breather away from set, or away from a difficult scene, I try and turn my phone to flight mode, or even switch it off completely, and just take five minutes and close my eyes and think about nothing.

“As I say, it’s very hard for me to switch my brain off – I’m just not really trained that way – so I guess I probably do need to get better at this. But it’s what I try to do.”

The girl who won our hearts in Titanic all those years ago is 45 now, and the years suit her. The uncertainty of those first days in the spotlight of fame – which she has often admitted she found daunting – has fallen away, leaving a woman who is self-assured, humorous, and above all comfortable in her skin.

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Kate Winslet says she has found true love now that she accepts herself (Image: Getty)

She’s comfortable in her personal life, too. After two failed marriages to two film directors – her first, to Jim Threapleton lasted from 1998 to 2001 and gave her daughter Mia, now 20, her second, to Sam Mendes, lasted from 2003 to 2011, and gave her son Joe, 16 – she has finally, and she says, firmly, permanently, settled down with businessman Edward Abel Smith (formerly known as Ned Rock ’n’ roll), with whom she has her third child, Bear Blaze, about to turn seven.

What has changed this time around? Simple, she says – she’s grown up. “We have to love ourselves first,” she insists, “and that’s something I’ve definitely learnt. We have to learn to love ourselves before we can fully love somebody else.

“For me, becoming truly comfortable with who I am, and how I feel, and how I look, and the person that I have become, has had a great impact on how I am able to love. I’m at peace with me in this decade – more than I ever was during my twenties.”

Which is not to suggest for a second that she is dismissing those earlier loves.

“The feeling of love changes throughout one’s twenties and thirties,” she says. 

“I still believe in unconditional love, but I also believe in knowing one’s own mind and being one’s own person, keeping a sense of your own true self within a relationship or marriage.

“I do believe in maintaining your own voice, but I also believe that part of loving someone else is also accepting their voice, accepting their opinions and their feelings.”

She admits that one element in her marriage that is non-negotiable is that Ned must be able to accept that fact that she will be seen kissing other men – and women – on screen.

“I just can’t have jealousy or envy,” she says briskly. 

“So much of what I have to do in the workplace is pretend to love someone, pretend to kiss someone, pretend to have physical intimacy with someone, so to have jealousy involved wouldn’t work for me.

“Jealousy is a really distressing quality for adults to have anyway – I think when you’re in a relationship in which love, understanding and support should overrule all of those things, there shouldn’t be the need for it.

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Kate with her husband Nad, with whom she has found relationship harmony (Image: Getty / Rex)

“I myself don’t have the capacity to feel envy or jealousy and I feel very, very blessed that I don’t.” 

The lack of the darker emotions, she says, leaves that much more room for happiness.

“I love being with my family. I cook a lot and I find that extremely relaxing, particularly if it’s a family meal or something that my children are also helping with me with, that we are doing together,” she adds.

“It’s important for us all to pull one another close, it’s important to show affection, it’s important to be there for one at another. And it’s important to hold each other’s hands at every stage of life.

“My daughter is 20 now and I am no less committed to her as her mother than I was when she was a baby. 

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Kate stole hearts in Titanic with Leonardo DiCaprio (Image: Reuters)

“And I don’t know where I would have been without my own mother when she was alive – she died in 2017 and I miss her every day.”

On the work front, she’s throwing herself into Avatar 2, although the Covid restrictions make work very different from usual.

“The great sadness,” she adds, “for me personally is not being able to hug and show affection to my colleagues – on a daily basis I am finding that very, very hard. Just being with all those lovely people who I know so well now and not being able to hug them, that is extremely hard.’

A much happier experience, she adds, was learning to hold her breath for an underwater scene, which she eventually managed to do for seven minutes and 14 seconds, thus beating the last record – set by Tom Cruise, no less, in Mission Impossible: Rogue Nation – by over a minute.

“It was amazing!” she beams. “I’ve been a certified PADI diver since I was 24 but this is nothing to do with PADI.

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Kate underwater for Avatar 2 where she held her breath for over seven minutes (Image: Twitter)

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Kate with baby Mia leaving their home in Islington in 2001 (Image: PA)

“I had about three weeks of training in the United Kingdom in a very deep dive pool and then when I went to LA to start shooting, I had another 10 days of more training in the training tank, and that was where I did my seven minute 14 second breath hold.

“It’s amazing. You have to switch your brain off, you have to slow your heart rate down, you have to really restrict your physical movements, and you just have to empty your head – and it’s really relaxing.

“It’s a real art and it’s not something that I could just go into the bath now and put my head under the water and just do – you have to go through a series of breath ups and you have to oxygenate your body – it’s a quite complicated thing but I absolutely loved it.

“Sometimes now, when I’m stressed, I’ll say to my husband, ‘Oh, my God, I just want to get in a pool somewhere, because it’s so relaxing’.”

Sounds like she’s found a way to slow down at last…



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