"I believe in unconditional praise from one's loved ones. And I give him unconditional praise likewise," Helen Mirren said about her relationship with Taylor Hackford.
Helen Mirren never thought she would marry until after she met Ray director Taylor Hackford when she was 38 years old. The pair tied the knot with Hackford in 1997 after a 10-year relationship. The Queen actress admitted that for a long time she made her career a priority, but decided to make her relationship a priority after meeting the esteemed filmmaker. After years of dating, she finally gave in to marriage. Mirren told AARP in 2016 "We got married in the end because we realized that we were going to be together forever. We got married, ultimately, for legal reasons more than anything else. Estate planning and other complicated things like that. And our families, we sensed, wanted us to be married. I always said I have nothing against marriage; it just wasn't to my taste, like turnips. It took me a very long time to come round to acquiring the taste. I just had to meet the right turnip."
The Oscar-winner confessed that because of their busy schedules and career in Hollywood they had to travel a lot and be away from each other for long periods of time. The pandemic caused their projects to be postponed or canceled which gave them time to live "normal, regular, repetitive lives," Mirren told The Telegraph. "Because of the nature of both of our work we've always been looking at suitcases, at packing. The suitcases are always on the floor ready to be packed or unpacked." While the pandemic was difficult for many, as a couple they were finally able to spend quality time together.
So what's caused the actress and her longtime love to have a lasting relationship? Much of it is "unconditional praise", and keeping your own identity, she revealed to PEOPLE. "You know, I believe in unconditional praise from one's loved ones. I don't want any criticism. And I give him unconditional praise likewise — more or less. We allow each other to do our own thing, and get on with it." She continued, "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."
Mirren who met the An Officer and a Gentleman director while auditioning for his movie White Nights also revealed that despite the many years together you still find out new things about your partner. "You're constantly discovering, learning about the person you love, who suddenly, completely surprises you," she shared. "You find depths of courage or patience or generosity or that you just didn't know were there." And there's no surprise that every long-lasting relationship is "work," she says adding that "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."
Cover Image Source: Getty Images | Pascal Le Segretain