Dame Helen Mirren is on the cover of this month's AARP Magazine; here's what she had to say:
On forgoing having children and delaying marriage:
"It's very hard to unpick your choices, and a lot of it was luck. But a lot of it was choice, absolutely. So yes, I did very consciously choose my work over my relationships right up to the time that I met Taylor. I was 38 when I met Taylor, pretty late in life. We got married in the end because we realized that we were going to be together forever. We got married, ultimately, for legal reasons more than anything else. Estate planning and other complicated things like that. And our families, we sensed, wanted us to be married. I always said I have nothing against marriage; it just wasn't to my taste, like turnips. It took me a very long time to come round to acquiring the taste. I just had to meet the right turnip."
On why she acts:
"That is a hard question for an artist to answer. All I can say is that I find the engagement in the imagination very appealing."
Your family used to discuss this question at dinner: Is there a soul?
Mirren: "I'm not religious. So if I say yes, there is a soul, it's nothing to do with religion or God. But yes, I would say there is a spirituality in being a human being that is connected to the imagination in some way."
A palm reader told you at about age 23 that you would not be really successful until you were twice that age. Did he see the future?
Mirren: "He was right — that's all I know."
What do you think about being an actress in your 70s?
Mirren: "The best thing about being over 70 is being over 70. Certainly when I was 45, the idea of being 70 was like, "Arghhh!" But you only have two options in life: Die young or get old. There is nothing else. The idea of dying young when you're 25 is kind of cool — a bit romantic, like James Dean. But then you realize that life is too much fun to do that. It's fascinating and wonderful and emotional. So you just have to find a way of negotiating getting old psychologically and physically."
Me: And your health?
Mirren: "It seems to be fine. But bad health can hit you when you're 55, 45, 35. Bad health can hit you at any time in your life."