When I was 11, I moved from the banks of the Boyne in Ireland to a comprehensive school with 2,000 kids in Putney. Almost immediately I developed a crush on a girl called Angela. It ended badly: over the free milk at break a boy made fun of me for liking her, an altercation ensued and I ended up in the headmaster’s office – and thus began my education of love and life in London.
I was supposedly the handsome one out of my buddies, but somehow it never really worked out for me. I was too reserved. I didn’t have the witty patter. My first sweetheart was Carol who lived across the river in Fulham. She bedazzled my 15-year-old senses: her hair, her
brown eyes, her soft cheeks, the
delightful way she smiled.
I’d walk her home and kiss her goodnight on the doorstep. As for my demise, I seem to remember another boy who played soccer better than I could came into the picture.
Time went on and I was at drama school. I lived with a lovely girl for three years until she had to go back to Canada. I was supposed to join her but life never took me in that direction. I only ever saw her again once – many years later – by which time I was James Bond.
I’ve never gone looking for advice.
I’ve just stumbled into love and stumbled
out of love. Luckily I’ve stumbled into love with some great women. I was very fortunate to marry really strong women who I made laugh and who made me laugh. These days I’m happily married for the second time. I met Keely on a beach in Mexico 20 years ago – which reminds me, our anniversary is just around the corner.
The greatest wedding I’ve ever been to is ours. I’d wanted a simple affair on Malibu beach but Keely wanted to do it properly so I found her an abbey in Ireland. The reception was a fantastic affair in Ashford Castle, County Mayo: 120 people, three days of the Chieftains, Loreena McKennitt, fireworks...
“Happily ever after” is an illusion. People break your heart. People move on. People leave you. You just have to know how to roll with the punches. A sense of humour doesn’t go amiss, either. I still don’t think advice is much use when the heartstrings have been plucked, but I would say to that bedazzled 15-year-old boy: “Don’t rush. Take your time. Life is long and you want to have as many chapters in the book as possible.”