EARLIER today, actor Damian Lewis announced this his wife Helen McCrory had passed away following a battle with cancer at the age of 52.
The much-loved actress leaves behind their two children, 14-year-old daughter Manon, and 13-year-old son Gulliver.
She and Damian enjoyed an 18-year romance after meeting when they performed in a production of Five Gold Rings together at London’s Almeida Theatre in 2003.
Since then, the pair were absolutely besotted with one another – and their relationship was famed for its fierce devotion within the showbiz world.
The couple enjoyed a quiet family life behind closed doors, but often spoke about one another in interviews.
In 2015, Helen revealed what it was that first attracted her to her husband, explaining at the time: “He just made me laugh a lot. And still does.
“Everyone in life wants someone to love and be loved by, but I think I was always just engrossed and involved in work. And no, the timing was pure fluke, pure chance, it always is.”
They tied the knot in a low-key registry office ceremony in 2007, surrounded by their closest friends and family.
Discussing their big day, Helen previously joked: “I had a lovely honeymoon – it lasted an evening. It was very short, but very lovely.”
She went on: “We got married in the Kensington and Chelsea registry office, then walked down the King’s Road and had lunch in a nice restaurant around the corner with 11 people. It was a very romantic day.”
Once they became parents, the family-orientated couple made a pact that they wouldn’t accept work at the same time as each other – ensuring that one parent was always at home to care for their two children.
Helen has previously heaped praise on Damian’s understanding of her work commitments – specifically referencing his support when it came to Helen starring in ITV drama Fearless in 2017, which saw her break this agreement.
The actress shared at the time: “He is so supportive. Much more so than I am. He was the one that persuaded me to do Fearless.
“He told me: ‘You have to do Fearless. You have to’. I pointed out that he was going to be in America filming Billions and in 10 years I’ve always had the children when he goes away filming. But he replied: ‘Well, I’ll do it. Of course, I can’.”
Damian was even by Helen’s side during her final TV appearance before her death, with the actor gazing adoringly at his wife when they appeared on Good Morning Britain together last month to discuss her work with The Prince’s Trust.
Helen was dedicated to charity work up until her final weeks, with the couple raising more than £1 million for Feed NHS at the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic last year.
He wrote: “I’m heartbroken to announce that after an heroic battle with cancer, the beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home, surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family.
“She died as she lived. Fearlessly. God we loved her and know how lucky we are to have had her in our lives. She blazed so brightly. Go now, Little One, into the air, and thank you.”
In 2017, the actress was awarded an OBE in the 2017 honours list for services to drama.