‘In terms of love… I’m a hook, line and sinker girl’ Kate Winslet – all or noth­ing


Marie Claire (South Africa) - - CONTENTS - WORDS VANESSA McCULLOCH

as far as celebrity wed­dings go, it was a low-key af­fair for the Bri­tish cou­ple: an in­ti­mate cer­e­mony in New York on a crisp De­cem­ber day in 2012. With just hand­ful of wit­nesses present, the bride was walked down the aisle by her ‘best friend’. So far, so un-news­wor­thy, which was prob­a­bly what Kate Winslet was hop­ing for. But look a lit­tle more closely and the story is what one paper called ‘tabloid gold dust’.

Meet the cast. The man who gave Kate away was Leonardo DiCaprio. Her hus­band: Ned Rock­n­Roll (orig­i­nally Abel Smith), the nephew of bil­lion­aire Richard Bran­son who works on the Galac­tic Travel side of Vir­gin. Then the meet­cute: the sparks of Kate and Ned’s ro­mance were kin­dled in a dra­matic house fire on Bran­son’s pri­vate Caribbean is­land, Necker. The property burnt to the ground but ev­ery­one es­caped un­harmed. It was the third time down the aisle for the 38-year-old star, not that un­usual on the celebrity scene, but when she an­nounced her preg­nancy five months later (also her third, each one from a sep­a­rate mar­riage), the gos­sip col­umns geared up for at­tack. ‘Third time lucky for Calamity Kate Winslet?’ asked The Tele­graph, in a spiky col­umn say­ing, ‘[T]he ac­tress… al­ways has a baby – but just the one, mind – with ev­ery hus­band to keep it fair’ and de­cree­ing ‘it just looks tacky’. Kate hit back in a Glam­our in­ter­view. ‘I’m re­ally sorry to the na­tion’s press that I fell in love and got preg­nant.’

De­spite her crit­ics, Kate takes her role of mother, to Mia (14), Joe (11) and Bear Winslet (18 months), se­ri­ously. ‘People go, “Oh, my God! Those poor chil­dren! They must have gone through so much,”’ she told Vogue. ‘Says who? They’ve al­ways been with me. They don’t go from pil­lar to post; they’re not flown here and there with nan­nies.’ She’s turned down of­fers of theatre roles, say­ing she’s ‘not will­ing to miss bed­time seven nights a week’. When Ja­son Reit­man, di­rec­tor of La­bor Day (out this year), in­sisted that it was Kate and only Kate who he would ac­cept for the main role, she de­clined as she had al­ready planned to ded­i­cate the year to fam­ily. So he did what any sen­si­ble di­rec­tor would do – and pushed out film­ing by a year to wait for her. In in­ter­views dur­ing her al­most 20-year ca­reer, Kate has come across as re­fresh­ingly un­pre­ten­tious: a sin­cere, up-for-a-laugh go-get­ter, who’s not afraid to drop an f-bomb here and there. ‘It’s Waitrose, [then] the Os­cars. It’s bonkers,’ she once said of her life. ‘Hon­estly, I push my shop­ping trol­ley past the aisles of gos­sip mag­a­zines and I of­ten just go, “Who the f*** are all these people and what the f*** are they do­ing?”’ She calls a spade a bloody spade, and has won le­gions of fe­male fans for her take on body is­sues. Fa­mously nick­named ‘Blub­ber’ by play­ground bul­lies, she asked for an apol­ogy when GQ slimmed down their cover of her with the pow­ers of Pho­to­shop in 2003 and on Oprah, the fa­mous TV host con­grat­u­lated Kate on her fig­ure, say­ing, ‘God bless your real breasts! ’Af­ter Bear was born, Kate went on The Ellen DeGeneres Show (Ellen gave her T-shirts say­ing ‘Baby Bear’ and ‘Momma Bear’) and ex­plained Ned’s un­usual sur­name. ‘People who know Ned know that he’s very much about irony and liv­ing life and hav­ing fun, so he

changed it to Rock­n­Roll.’ She also shared Bear’s mid­dle name: Blaze, in mem­ory of the fire where it all started. She’s a woman who takes things in her stride, with­out tak­ing her­self too se­ri­ously. The in­dus­try, how­ever, takes her very se­ri­ously. Many a di­rec­tor has eu­lo­gised her skills, most re­cently di­rec­tor Neil Burger – Kate starred in his soon-to-be-re­leased fu­tur­is­tic movie, Di­ver­gent. ‘She re­ally is, to my mind, the best ac­tress of her gen­er­a­tion and there’s a rea­son, ’he told People. ‘She’s a pro.She’s com­pletely present.’ A jour­nal­ist for The Tele­graph con­cluded that she’s adored by ev­ery­one she works with: ‘I couldn’t find any­one – jour­nal­ists, PRs, di­rec­tors, ac­tors – who has a neg­a­tive word to say.’ Al­ways the con­sum­mate pro­fes­sional (she is, af­ter all, the youngest ac­tress ever to garner six Os­car nom­i­na­tions), Kate found her­self in an un­prece­dented sit­u­a­tion while shoot­ing Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Road. The role re­quired love scenes with on-screen hus­band DiCaprio (their first film to­gether since Ti­tanic), while her real-life hus­band Sam Men­des di­rected be­hind the lens. ‘I could hear him be­hind the mon­i­tor go­ing, “OK Leo, grab her thigh. Press your fin­gers into her back harder…!”’ she re­counted on the David Let­ter­man show. Let­ter­man quipped, ‘Is that even le­gal?’ Jok­ing aside, Kate de­scribed her hus­band as ‘sup­port­ive’, adding, ‘I’m re­ally lucky... things are pretty good right now.’ Sam and Kate had mar­ried in 2003, in a quiet cer­e­mony in the Caribbean, when Kate was eight weeks preg­nant. They had dated since 2001, two months af­ter Kate and her first hus­band, Jim Threaple­ton, di­vorced. ‘Trad­ing up’ was how the tabloids trum­peted the news. Sam had a rep­u­ta­tion as com­mit­ment-shy but Kate was happy. ‘He’s a good man,’ she told People, soon af­ter she met Sam. ‘You can say that I said that with a large smile on my face.’

And things kept get­ting bet­ter. At the 2009 Golden Globes Kate won two awards, for Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Road and The Reader. In her gush­ing ac­cep­tance speech she told both Sam and Leo that she loved them. Those gru­elling months of film­ing Ti­tanic as young 21-year-olds nav­i­gat­ing the wa­ters of mega-star­dom had cre­ated an in­tense bond. ‘We have a spe­cial magic,’ Leo told The Ex­press in 2013. ‘We have never not been friends since that time.We laugh at the same things. She never lets me take my­self se­ri­ously... I speak to her all the time. But friends – not lovers.’

In 2008, she’d graced Van­ity Fair’s cover wear­ing noth­ing but a white coat with the cov­er­line: ‘Do I Want An

Os­car? You bet your @#*%ing Ass I Do! ’A year later, she took one for her role in The Reader, as Hanna Sch­mitz, a for­mer Nazi con­cen­tra­tioncamp guard who has a love af­fair with a teenager. Women in doomed re­la­tion­ships have formed the back­bone of Kate’s glit­ter­ing ca­reer: Sense and Sen­si­bil­ity, Ti­tanic, Eter­nal Sun­shine Of The Spot­less Mind… the list goes on. In Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Road, she played a wife in a dis­in­te­grat­ing mar­riage. Soon af­ter, life was im­i­tat­ing art. In March 2010, Sam and Kate’s di­vorce went pub­lic, with ru­mours that ac­tress Re­becca Hall had played a part in the break-up.They had ac­tu­ally split months be­fore, sep­a­rat­ing as qui­etly as they had mar­ried.

De­scrib­ing her­self as ‘an emo­tional husk’, Kate threw her­self into back-to-back film­ing, tak­ing on the TV se­ries Mil­dred Pierce, Steven Soder­bergh’s Con­ta­gion and Ro­man Polan­ski’s Car­nage in one year. ‘Thank God I could do that, at that time in my life. It saved me but it also to­tally ex­hausted me,’ she told

The Tele­graph. Di­vorce pro­ceed­ings were un­der­way when she was film­ing her Emmy award-win­ning role as Mil­dred, iron­i­cally a story about a woman nav­i­gat­ing life as a di­vorcee in the Great De­pres­sion. She still had the spirit to joke around with her leading man, ad­mit­ting in in­ter­views that Guy Pearce had been her ‘teen heart­throb’.

Kate grew up with act­ing in her blood. Her grand­par­ents set up the Read­ing Reper­tory Theatre Com­pany and her par­ents, Roger and Sally, were ac­tors who took on other jobs to make ends meet. ‘Dad never had a ca­reer that could fund our fam­ily in any way,’ she told The Tele­graph, not that she, or her two sis­ters and broth­ers, felt hard done by. ‘We lived in a lovely ter­race house and we all had each other. Still do.’ The fam­ily re­mains close. It’s not un­usual for Kate to take the en­tire fam­ily to her movie pre­mieres: at the Find­ing Neverland af­ter-party (2004), her dad took to the stage and started a sin­ga­long (he’s the lead singer of a band called Bidgie Reef & The Gas). Kate’s par­ents have been to­gether for more than 40 years and Kate was young when she first fell in love dur­ing her first big act­ing gig, as the lead in BBC se­ries Dark Sea­son. She was 15 and a stu­dent at Red Roof Drama School; her cos­tar Stephen Tre­dre was 27.‘He was the most im­por­tant per­son in my life next to my fam­ily,’ she has said. Stephen was by her side as her ca­reer gained mo­men­tum: with her first film role in Peter Jack­son’s Heav­enly Crea­tures (she beat 175 other ac­tresses for the part); then Ang Lee’s Sense and Sen­si­bil­ity, along­side Emma Thomp­son. Then there was the film that would change it all, Ti­tanic, which hit the big screen in 1997 and be­came the high­est gross­ing film ever made. By then, Stephen had bro­ken up with Kate due to their ro­mance’s tragic sub­plot. He had bone cancer and died the week be­fore the movie launched; Kate missed the Lon­don pre­miere to go to his fu­neral. ‘It was un­be­liev­ably heart­break­ing,’ she has said. ‘Stephen let me go, and that as an act of love from one hu­man be­ing to an­other was overwhelming.’ Less than a year af­ter his death, she mar­ried as­sis­tant di­rec­tor Jim Threaple­ton, whom she met on the set of Hideous Kinky in Morocco (she re­fused to go the block­buster route af­ter Ti­tanic, turn­ing down Shake­speare in Love and choos­ing more arty ti­tles). Her wed­ding was a sim­ple one: mar­ried by the min­is­ter who had chris­tened her and a re­cep­tion at their lo­cal pub, where guests dined on bangers and mash. Mia Honey was born in 2000, but the cou­ple broke up a year later. ‘I was deal­ing with the pain of hav­ing lost Stephen. Jim was just a reg­u­lar guy,’ she told The In­de­pen­dent.

So maybe this third-time-lucky mar­riage will be her happy end­ing? Emma Thomp­son seems to thinks so, ex­plain­ing: ‘Ned meets the cy­clist/camp­ing buddy/” Let’s climb Ever­est next” bit of Kate very suc­cess­fully.’ Look­ing back at an in­ter­view about Mil­dred Pierce, it’s as if Kate is talk­ing about her­self, the lines be­tween work and life blur­ring once more. ‘She’s not a man-eater,’ Kate said of the role. ‘It wasn’t as though she had three men on the go at the same time. She wanted to be loved very much, to be com­mit­ted to one per­son.’ Here’s hop­ing her fu­ture roles in­clude some happy-ever-af­ters.

2013: LA­BOR DAY



1997: TI­TANIC

2004: FIND­ING NEVERLAND Clock­wise from far left Kate with Gemma Jones, Em­i­lie François and Emma Thomp­son in Sense and Sen­si­bil­ity; a scene from Find­ing Neverland; with Leonardo DiCaprio in Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Road; with Josh Brolin in

La­bor Day; with Theo James in Di­ver­gent; with DiCaprio in Ti­tanic.


THIRD TIME LUCKY IN LOVE break-up); daugh­ter Puma, age 10, with The DOC; and Mars, age 5, daugh­ter of Jay Elec­tron­ica. Mom says: ‘I need a part­ner I can de­pend on who I can love and grow with. But I do un­der­stand the na­ture of these men I’ve been with and men in gen­eral.They have a need to chase.’

MEL B This for­mer Spice Girl has three daugh­ters from two mar­riages and a fling with ac­tor Ed­die Mur­phy (he de­nied pa­ter­nity un­til a DNA test con­firmed it). The Brood: Phoenix, age 15, with dancer Jimmy Gulzar; An­gel, age 7, with Ed­die Mur­phy; Madi­son, age 2, with Stephen Be­la­fonte, who she’s still mar­ried to. She’s also step­mom to Giselle Be­la­fonte. Mom

said, af­ter Madi­son was born: ‘This time I’ve done it with my part­ner and it feels like I’ve fi­nally done it right.’

Left, from top Kate with her par­ents, Roger Winslet and Sally Bridges-Winslet at the 81st Academy Awards, 2009; with first hus­band Jim Threaple­ton, 2000; with sec­ond hus­band di­rec­tor Sam Men­des, 2010; with third hus­band Ned Rock­n­Roll, 2012.

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