Jeremy Irons is a rule breaker.

The 'Words' star is constantly being chastised by his wife, actress Sinead Cusack, because he has a compulsion to ignore rules and do the exact opposite of what he is told.

He said: ''At school, I would play the rules very close to the edge. I still do it. My wife always says, 'Why do you break the rules?' And I say, 'Because the rules make no sense.' ''

However, his penchant for bad behaviour has got him in trouble with the law more than once and the 64-year-old star admitted he recently got himself in a sticky situation with a policewoman.

Jeremy recalled: ''I was stopped by a policewoman the other day driving the wrong way. She said, 'It's one way. I said, 'I know, but this way is much shorter.' She said, 'You could have an accident on the corner.' I said, 'No, because I'm always very careful.' ''

The Hollywood star believes his contrary nature has helped his career, because he enjoys disproving people's perceptions of him.