Kate Winslet On Divorce From Sam Mendes, Raising Children In Split Family And Emotion At Work

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KATE WINSLET HARPERS BAZAAR
Kate Winslet is embarking on a new chapter in her life, post-divorce from director Sam Mendes | Tom Munro/Harper’s Bazaar UK

Kate Winslet has had a strange couple of years. Unprecedented professional success - double Golden Globe triumph trumped by an Oscar for her role in The Reader - has been tempered by her split from director Sam Mendes. In this month's edition of Harper's Bazaar, she talks about her divorce, her children, and new film Contagion, where she stars alongside Matt Damon, Gwyneth Paltrow and Jude Law. Here are some titbits:

On her marriage break up with director Sam Mendes:

“One thing I will say about me and Sam is that it’s fine, it’s really fine. I’m not going to shit-fling, there’s no point in even going there. It is what it is... We’re grown-ups at the end of the day, and however hard it’s been for me, it’s been equally hard for him. And we have a child together who we both love - and raising him together, jointly and without any conflict, is absolutely key. It’s the only way to do it, and I’ve really learnt that with Mia.”

On soldiering on:
“As a woman, especially when you have children, one gets so good at soldiering on - almost too good. I realise that I probably had very few moments of allowing that sadness to emerge - I kept pushing it away, not even really sharing it with a huge amount with friends. Because you know what it’s like - as soon as you open that can of worms, it’s so f***ing big, you wish you’d never taken the goddamn lid off.”

On allowing herself to cry:
“I’ve had to remind myself to have those moments of being able to have a f***ing good cry, but it did take someone putting their hand on me - a gay male friend, actually, who put his hand on my should, and said, ‘It’s OK, you can cry about this, and maybe you should.’”

On modern families:
“Those days of every child having a mummy and daddy who lived at home - Daddy went to work, and Mummy stayed at home and took care of everyone - those days have almost gone, and it’s so much more unconventional now”

On including her children’s fathers in their lives:
“I have always wanted my children’s dads to be involved in their lives. Not just the day-to-day aspect, but the emotional shifts that they go through, when little things pop up - they need to be included, absolutely, and for the children to feel that they are. That’s the way it’s always been with Mia, and it’s the way it is now with Joe. There’s no way that I’m going to allow my children to be f***ed up because my marriages haven’t worked out. I so wish that that wasn’t the case - that that hadn’t happened in my life - but it has, so I will make the best of it - and I am.”

On bringing her personal pain into her work for HBO series Mildred Pierce:
“There’s a scene where Mildred and Bert are divorced and they sit down together, because they’ve got to settle on a cause. The first stage of my divorce with Sam cam through on that day - on the very day that we were shooting. So that scene is nothing to do with acting.”

On the future:
“I feel that I’m just at the beginning of a new narrative, and it’s incredibly exciting. It’s complicated, I know, and uncertain - but it’s where life happens, between the cracks. It can be a painful process, but I truly hope that never stops for me.”

Director Steven Soderbergh, who has directed Kate in his latest thriller, Contagion, on Kate Winslet:
“She wouldn’t dream of burdening you with anything of her personal life, but there is an emotionality that is right in front of you, and is very accessible, which is wonderful for a director. She will jump off the cliff, if that’s part of the job description, but she’s also unafraid of the ageing process, which means that she is available to film-makers in a way that other acresses aren’t. She’s never started a sentence with ‘I don’t want to play...’ or ‘I don’t think people want to see me as...’

Full feature appears in the November issue of Harper’s Bazaar UK, on sale Thursday 6th October

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