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Helen Mirren's 'Fate Was Sealed' When Her Husband Divorced His Ex Yet They Only Married 14 Years Later

Olawale Ogunjimi
Apr 29, 2022
12:30 P.M.
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Award-winning actress Helen Mirren was interested in building a successful career, and marriage was never in her plans. However, when she found love in the arms of a married man, her "fate was sealed," and everything changed following his divorce. 


Undoubtedly, Helen Mirren's dexterity as an actress is splendid. From her time as Hermia in 1967's "A Midsummer Night's Dream," the Hollywood maven has graciously thrilled TV audiences with many riveting experiences through each of her character adoptions.

While the British star doggedly pursued her passion at a young age, Mirren never considered becoming a family woman. Despite being raised in a stable environment, where her parents displayed the perfect example of a marriage, the actress's interests lay far away from such intent. 

Helen Mirren joins L’Oréal Paris to celebrate the launch of Age Perfect Cosmetics on March 03, 2020 in Beverly Hills, California | Source: Getty Images


Although Mirren gave kudos to her parents for their commitment to their marriage and parenting, she believed that her life was perfect without such responsibilities, and she was in love with freedom.

During her thirties, interviews and reporters would often bring up the subject of marriage, enquiring about her marital status. That was when she clarified her stand on marriage. 

Taylor Hackford and Helen Mirren at the 13th Annual BAFTA/LA Britannia Awards on November 4, 2004, in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images


According to her: "I was not that I didn't agree with marriage; but that, without being Catholic, I didn't agree with divorce. What I meant was that I simply could not see the point of being married if there was the remotest possibility of being divorced."

Mirren expressed confidence in her beliefs that when she met director Taylor Hackford, who became her future husband, she never thought they would become an item; the actress maintained that: 

"It was certainly not love at first sight."

Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford at the European premiere of "Collateral Beauty" on December 15, 2016, in London, England. | Source: Getty Images


First, she never thought about mixing business with pleasure, so the possibility of her dating the man she was to work with was far from the equation. Then, again, Hackford was a married man with two kids from different marriages. 

At the time of their meeting in 1985, the duo, the actress and director, had already accomplished a remarkable feat in their careers. Yet they became friendly, leading to the birth of an excellent romance. 

Rio Hackford and Helen Mirren at the Weinstein Company & Netflix's SAG after-party on January 30, 2016, in West Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images


Their first meeting was not remarkable, as Hackford kept her waiting to audition for "White Nights," a film he directed, and of course, Mirren blurted her anger. Still, they built a good working relationship. While recalling the incident, Hackford said:

"It was a strange way to meet Helen."

Helen Mirren at the premiere of "When the Whales Came" on September 7, 1989, in London, England. | Source: Getty Images


As the filming progressed, Mirren learned about Hackford's personality, which was intriguing to her. However, following the end of their working relationship, the pair separated for six months.

Mirren could not phantom being with a married man, so she returned to end things quickly. However, Hackford confessed that he had divorced; that was when she knew that a romance with the two-time divorcee was inevitable. In her revelation about the genesis of their love story, Mirren admitted

"My fate was sealed."



Dame Helen Mirren attends "The Good Liar" World Premiere at BFI Southbank on October 28, 2019 in London, England | Source: Getty Images

One of the first fundamental changes during their relationship was Mirren moving away from Britain and settling into the American culture. Following Taylor's sacrifices, she felt moving into his home in LA was the best way she could reciprocate his love.


In return, Mirren extended the same freedom to her husband. She revealed that this was the binding factor in their relationship.

Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford atThe 67th Annual Academy Awards - Arrivals at Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, California, United States. | Source: Getty Images


Once the couple arrived at their rented home in Hollywood Hills, she met his eldest son, Rio, and became acquainted with joint custody of Hackford's youngest son, Alex. In describing the moment, she said

"It was a whole new world for me, utterly alien and fraught with difficulty." 

Coming to terms with her new reality and the responsibilities attached to being someone's ride or die did not happen as quickly as she fell in love.

Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford in Los Angeles, CA. | Source: Getty Images


In fact, her first years as a lover to Hackford proved challenging. But through determination and love, she understood how to put her romance ahead of her career.

Mirren wanted to show enough love to her beau, and she did not want their relationship to last for four years. However, it was overwhelming while she tried, leading to her breakdown.

Taylor Hackford and Helen Mirren at the 10th Annual Critics' Choice Awards on January 10, 2005, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images


The "The Queen" actress decided to share it with her partner. So during a lunch date, she admitted her failure and broke down crying. Rather than criticize her, Hackford lovingly comforted her, and that was when she fell in love completely. His words were

"Don't worry. Look, we are only this far along in our life together, we have all that way to go. Some will be hard and some will be easy, but we will make it."


Taylor Hackford, Helen Mirren, Rio, and Alex Hackford at a ceremony honoring the actress on the Hollywood Walk of Fame on January 3, 2013, in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images


Once Mirren gave her all to the relationship, things became smoother than before. She also appreciated the help of her stepkids, as they made it easier to live harmoniously. 

Still, Mirren and Hackford refused to put a title to their romance: they did not get married until after fourteen years. According to the actress: 

"Marriage was simply not a necessity for us."

Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford during Screening of "Fierce Creatures" at Cineplex Odeon Coronet in New York City, New York, United States. | Source: Getty Images


She was focused on advancing her career and becoming financially independent, and thankfully, her partner understood this and gave her as much freedom as required to enjoy her work.

In return, Mirren extended the same freedom to her husband. She revealed that this was the binding factor in their relationship.

After many years of shared experiences that brought their families closer, the couple decided that it was time to put their feelings into words. So they prepared to share their vows, and Mirren left the six-weeks planning to her husband.

Actress Helen Mirren and her husband, director Taylor Hackford, at the 83rd Annual Academy Awards at the Kodak Theatre February 27, 2011 in Hollywood, California. | Source: Getty Images


Eventually, the couple picked a peculiar date (New Year's Eve, 1997) and place. They wanted to celebrate Taylor's birthday, their wedding, and New Year in one day.

So they rented a castle, a medieval structure in Scotland, and invited sixteen guests, including friends and family, to a four-day getaway. 

Rio Hackford, Vince Vaughn, Taylor Hackford, and Alex Hackford at the opening night of "Louis & Keely" on March 19, 2009, in Los Angeles, California. | Source: Getty Images


The couple maintained privacy on their wedding details, but a crowd was already building up at a small church before Mirren's arrival. She suspected that the florist had given them up.

So the couple invited all the people around who were interested in the event. After she walked down the aisle, the vicar announced the couple's names but implored the crowd to sing a Happy birthday song to the groom before he proceeded.


Rio Hackford and Helen Mirren at the premiere of "Trumbo" on October 27, 2015, in Beverly Hills, California. | Source: Getty Images


Even though her initial resolve was to cancel marriage for fear of it being a failure, Mirren remains grateful that she found her soulmate in Hackford.

It has been more than two decades since "The Queen" star said her "I do," and about forty years since she started dating Hackford, but the actress continues to fall deeply in love with him as the day goes by.

Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford at the Monte-Carlo Gala For Planetary Health on September 24, 2020 in Monte-Carlo, Monaco. | Source: Getty Images


Mirren is in awe of her lifetime partnership with him and ​confessed to being in a happy marriage even at age 76.

The Hollywood duo continues to wax stronger in their relationship, making it a desirable romance. During the Coronavirus quarantine period, Mirren mentioned that it provided them the best time to be together.

Dame Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford at the Epsom Derby at Epsom Racecourse on June 2, 2018 in Epsom, England. | Source: Getty Images


Before then, they were often busy with work, packing, and unpacking suitcases, leading them to spend limited time with each other. However, the lockdown brought them closer and made them appreciate each other more. According to the British native: 

"It's been a wonderful way for the two of us to bond, in a weird way."

Over the years, the duo has fashioned the best ways to spend time with each other, proving that their teamwork, understanding, and freedom are the recipes to an enviable marriage.