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Helen Mirren Says She Loves This Celebrity Ex "Deeply to This Day"

The two actors fell for each other on the set of their 1981 movie.

You certainly know her movies, but you may not know about her romantic history before marrying director Taylor Hackford in 1997. Since beginning her acting career in the 1960s, Helen Mirren has starred on stage, on TV, and on the big screen, including in the movies The Queen and Gosford Park, and even the Fast and the Furious franchise. Towards the beginning of her film career, Mirren fell for one of her co-stars, and they ended up living together and in a serious relationship. The relationship started on the set of one of his first movies, and today, he's one of the biggest movie stars there is.

In a new interview with AARP: The Magazine, Mirren opened up about the relationship and said that she still loves her ex "deeply to this day." Read on to find out more about this '80s romance.

READ THIS NEXT: Natasha Richardson Refused to Marry Liam Neeson If He Did This.

Mirren and Liam Neeson met on set.

Liam Neeson and Helen Mirren in "Excalibur"
Warner Bros.

Mirren starred in the 1981 medieval fantasy film Excalibur. It also happened to be the first major role for Irish actor Liam Neeson. She played Morgana le Fay to his Sir Gawain.

"I fell in love with Helen Mirren," Neeson told CBS News in 2014. "Oh my God. Can you imagine riding horses in shiny suits of armor, having sword fights and stuff, and you're falling in love with Helen Mirren? It doesn't get any better than that."

After falling for one another on set, the couple dated for four years and even lived together before they went their separate ways.

Their careers played a role in their split.

Helen Mirren photographed in 1979
Monitor Picture Library/Avalon/Getty Images

In 1994, Mirren opened up about their split and said that their careers contributed to it.

"It was difficult for him to be under my shadow," she told The New York Times (via InStyle). "I was well known; I had the money." She explained that she "had a sense from Liam that it was time for him to come out from under my wing … He handled it with great elegance and grace. We loved each other. It was difficult to let go."

The actors both moved on to new relationships. After the split, Mirren began dating Hackford, and they married in 1997. Neeson married his late wife, actor Natasha Richardson, in 1994, and they welcomed two children together. She died in 2009.

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She still has love for him.

Liam Neeson and Helen Mirren at the Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park London relaunch in 2019
David M. Benett/Dave Benett/Getty Images for Mandarin Oriental Hyde Park

Mirren told AARP that they remained on good terms.

"We loved each other," she said. "We were not meant to be together in that way, but we loved each other very, very much. I love him deeply to this day. He's such an amazing guy."

She also said that she enjoyed making men's shirts and tended to make them for her boyfriends. "All my boyfriends had to have a shirt made by me," she said. "I did make one for Liam, oddly enough."

They had a touching reunion on a talk show a few years ago.

In 2018, Mirren and Neeson appeared on The Graham Norton Show together and talked about their past romance. Asked about dating Neeson, Mirren responded, "We didn't date. We lived together … We were a serious item for a while."

Neeson told the story of the first time he met Mirren on the Excalibur set. "She walked from like a hundred yards away, dressed as Morgana le Fay. And [co-star] Ciarán [Hinds]'s my oldest friend, and we both went, '[expletive].' So I was smitten."

That story was news to Mirren. "I never knew that," she said. "You never told me that before. That's amazing."

Lia Beck
Lia Beck is a writer living in Richmond, Virginia. In addition to Best Life, she has written for Refinery29, Bustle, Hello Giggles, InStyle, and more. Read more
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