The actress talks about marriage, divorce and Scientology
My mother was an actress and really she raised us. My father fell out of the picture quite early. I think I was four when they divorced, and we lived with our grandparents. My grandmother was the main influence, she had very strict values. She was very proper, particularly about sexual ideas. Her favourite phrase for me was, “I want you to be a lady. You must always be a lady.” They wanted to be sure my brother and I were good people. They really believed in goodness.
When my father left, he remarried some years later. She was a wonderful woman, and he had two children with her. They didn’t live nearby so I would see him about once a year until he passed away 10 years ago. I did maintain a relationship with him, and although we weren’t close there was no antagonistic feeling. He was a very sweet, quiet man.
I don’t take after my mother or father. I don’t want to be either one of my parents. What I do carry away from them are strong values: integrity, helping your fellow man, doing the right thing, having good manners. My parents were really into having good manners. Things that are kind of old-fashioned.
My mum is 95 and still going strong. She’s led a good life and has taken care of herself. She’s been alone for about 14 years but we talk every day. She still to this day gives the best theatre advice of anyone I know.
My parents’ marriages and divorces left me thinking that it wasn’t possible to have a long, good marriage but my second husband, Terry, convinced me otherwise. I got married for the first time a little too young, aged just 21. I’m very happy I did because I have a wonderful son from that marriage, Tommy, but that was a very rocky time. I’ve been with Terry [with whom she has a son, Jeffrey] for 35 years. We get along beautifully and it’s the best thing I ever did in my life. I probably have a better marriage than 99.9% of the people on the planet.
When I had Tommy I was not in a happy marriage, so it was really kind of my baby boy and me. Then when Terry came along he was much more involved. That’s not to blame my first husband; when the marriage is not good it’s hard to be involved.
Scientology has been very meaningful in my life. It’s taught me a lot of good information. A lot of sanity. It’s a lot about responsibility and it’s very smart stuff that has helped me in my life, and Terry as well. My older son has embraced Scientology but my younger son hasn’t, which is absolutely fine. There is no conflict. It’s only true if it’s true for you.
It’s hard to have a balanced life if you don’t get the family thing right. It causes a lot of sorrow for you personally and for you in your professional life and can leave an emptiness if it isn’t sorted out. Man naturally gravitates towards finding a mate and rearing children. He gravitates towards his group – his community, his society. All those aspects of life need to be there or you’re missing something and will be reaching for solutions in whatever area is lacking. For a sane society that operates successfully, family is pretty important. If family falls apart, the individual falls apart.
Culled from guardian.co.uk