Kate Winslet, 31, lives in downtown Manhattan on a tree-lined street near the Hudson River with her husband, director Sam Mendes, 41, daughter Mia, 6 (with ex James Threapleton), and son Joe, 2. But when the actress was 15, she met her first love, 28-year-old television writer Stephen Tredre. “He was the most important person in my life, next to my family,” says Winslet.
Shortly before Winslet began filming Sense and Sensibility in 1994, Stephen was diagnosed with bone cancer. “There was no point to his suffering. No rhyme or reason to it,” she says. “He lived healthfully. It always seemed impossible that this man could ever die.”
Tredre died of bone cancer in 1997, week Titanic opened (Winslet missed the film’s Los Angeles premiere to attend his funeral). The couple had broken up the year before. “After we separated, he got ill again,” she says. “Stephen and I talked every day. This was not somebody I’d turn my back on.”
In the new issue of Parade magazine, Winslet talks about losing her first love and finding love again with Mendes.
On Tredre’s death:
“Looking back, I see what I was dealing with when Titanic came out. I had a lot of pain and I was confused about who I was….I didn’t know how to deal with it. I sensed that great life changes were impending. I had to hang on by the seat of my pants and not get drawn into public events and endless red carpets.”
On her guilt over breaking up with Tredre:
“I was so young, when I look back on it. Only 19. How could I have left a person who was so unwell? I thought Stephen was going to be all right….It was unbelievably heartbreaking. All I have left is that we remained very close until the end.”
On girls calling her “blubber” because she was an overweight child:
“I was very shy. I was vulnerable….Other girls teased me terribly. I was bullied. I’d just put my head down and get on with it. That was my means of survival.”
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On her ex-husband director James Threapleton:
“I thought I wanted to be with Jim. I was dealing with the pain of having lost Stephen and Titanic coming out. Jim was just a regular guy, and that had a big impact on me.”
On meeting her husband, American Beauty director Sam Mendes:
“We had this exciting meeting. I walked away dazzled, thinking, ‘What the hell was that?’ It was this overwhelming feeling—this hope you always have that you will meet a man exactly like him. I knew this was the person I was meant to be with. I was terrified.”
“I believe in fate. I know it sounds corny, but it was like Sam and I were from the same tribe. We were meant to meet: Both of us from Reading, both born in the same tiny hospital, Dellwood. Then suddenly, years later, this totally gorgeous, sexy, talented man is in my life? That’s fate.”
On marriage and motherhood:
“I love being married to Sam and I love motherhood more than anything. It’s like it’s the whole reason for my existence now. Sam’s a wonderful dad. We have a beautiful, healthy son. Oh, lucky, lucky us, to be so genuinely happy.”
SOURCE: US MAG