Brenda Blethyn: Vera star says her secrets to a happy marriage is absence: ‘It just works’

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Vera star Brenda Blethyn, 75, has spent quite a bit of time away from her husband during lockdown as filming for the ITV series commenced. And absence, she believes, really has made her heart grow fonder.

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder – well, it’s true!

Brenda Blethyn

In a recent interview, the telly star revealed being apart seems to keep them together.

“It’s been lovely… so he says!” she joked.

“No, we get on fine. When I’m up in Newcastle filming Vera, I don’t see him for months on end.

“We talk a couple of times a day, it might just be, ‘Hello, how are you doing?’ but we make sure it always happens and it just works.”

She continued to tell Good Housekeeping magazine: “They say absence makes the heart grow fonder – well, it’s true! Being apart seems to keep us together.”

The actress has been married to her second husband Michael Mayhew since 2010, the year before she was cast as the Geordie DCI.

Brenda has previously opened up about how the pair make their marriage work with her busy filming schedule.

“I think it helps that I’m up in Northumberland half the time filming Vera, so long may it continue,” she told the MailOnline.

“But seriously, I genuinely think it’s about having our own space. We have a place on the coast in my hometown of Ramsgate in Kent, and even when we’re there we sit in separate rooms, Michael with his music in one, me with my crossword in another.

“We have so little in common but the relationship obviously works. Michael makes me laugh like nobody else does, and I think he likes me for my honesty and my kindness.”

She admitted that her “honesty can irritate him”, for example when he found out she had recommended somebody else for a role she auditioned for.

The actress giggled as she recalled him saying: “‘Why do you always put yourself second Brenda?’ Why do you talk about who else would be good for the part, rather than you? Don’t do that!'”

“But I can’t help it and I don’t think it’s damaged my career. I couldn’t have wanted the part that much if I were recommending somebody else, and if I were thinking about a particular person for the role the chances are the producers were too.”

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Brenda celebrated her 75th birthday in February earlier this year, and doesn’t intend to pack in her career any time soon.

“If I’m completely honest, I don’t feel the slightest bit different!” she continued to tell Good Housekeeping.

“You’re only as old as you feel, and I certainly don’t feel 75. That’s just a number, isn’t it?”

And it seems she wishes to follow in the footsteps of her parents.

Brenda’s full interview is available in Good Housekeeping [Trevor Leighton]

“My parents worked until their dying days, and I fully expect to be doing the same,” she told the publication.

She revealed her mum had “about six jobs” to put food on the table and her father spent the latter part of his life working in a ladies’ dress shop as a handyman.

“They instilled that work ethic in me; if you want to earn some money, you’ve got to work for it.”

She added: “I enjoy being busy, too, so I’ll always find something to do, even if it’s painting a wall!”

Read the full interview with Brenda Blethyn in the May issue of Good Housekeeping on sale the 7th of April. It is available in all supermarkets and online at MagsDirect

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