She’s had a dazzling career as one of the most prestigious names in the British film industry, and as one of the country’s most famous movie exports following her role in The Queen, but Dame Helen Mirren has now spoken about an experience she never had: motherhood.

The 70 year old stage and film actress spoke to the Sunday Times Culture magazine and said that, although she adores other people’s children, she’s never wanted her own. However, that didn’t stop her from fleetingly mourning the sense of “loss” about not becoming a mother after she watched the 1989 Steve Martin movie Parenthood, she admitted.

Helen MirrenDame Helen Mirren spoke about her decision not have children

“I love children, they are so funny and so sweet, but I never wanted my own,” she said. “I have never had a moment of regret about not having children. Well, I lie. When I watched the movie, Parenthood, I sobbed for about 20 minutes.”

She continued: “It was about the whole story of being a parent and how it never stops, even when you’re a grandparent. I realised I would never experience that, and for about 20 minutes, I sobbed for the loss of that and the fact that I never experienced it.”

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That sorrow didn’t last very long though, as she added “then I got over it and I was happy again”.

Mirren, who was bestowed with an MBE back in 2003, has been in a relationship with American film director Taylor Hackford since 1986, with the pair marrying in 1997. She is a stepmother to Hackford’s two adult children, Rio and Alex, from a previous relationship, but she has always told the media, when asked, that she has never had a desire to start her own family.

“I’m quite relieved, actually,” she adds in the new interview. “I can feel that kind of love for my extended family and of course it isn’t the same as ‘that lioness love’ – and I’m certainly not dissing it. But I feel I can be less judgmental as an aunt. You’re not so invested.”

Mirren’s next movie will be the British thriller Eye in the Sky, which sees her take on the role of a drone pilot. She stars alongside Aaron Paul, Barkhad Abdi and the late Alan Rickman in one of his final roles.

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