Downton Abbey’s Michelle Dockery says she considers herself a widow after her fiance died of cancer at just 34 years old.
The actor, who played Lady Mary in the hit ITV show for five years, has opened about losing her fiance John Dineen, almost two years years after he passed away.
In a heartbreaking confession, Michelle admitted that even though they never married, she considers herself a widow.
Speaking to the Guardian, she said: ‘Oh, I refer to myself as a widow, yes. We were engaged, and married at heart, and so I do consider myself a widow.
‘That’s the first time I’ve said that, and it’s a bit of a relief to say so’, she said, adding that she relates to her new character Alice in the new Netflix original Godless, who’s twice widowed by the age of 21.
Michelle and John, an Irish public relations director, got engaged in February 2015, only a few months after he was diagnosed with a brain tumour.
Michelle and John in 2014
A year after first receiving the news of his diagnosis, John sadly passed away in a hospice in Cork, where he had moved to in September to spend his last months.
Speaking about the tragic loss, she said: ‘I don’t have the vocabulary to describe what it felt like. And what it still feels like.’
The former Downton Abbey star, whose character Lady Mary also lost her partner on the show, added that John always remained positive, even after doctors told him his diagnosis was terminal, and that kept her going through the very tough time.
‘I never lost hope. I’m not exaggerating when I say that John did not complain once, never, not once, and that gave us strength. It’s what keeps you going, that positivity – to never lose that hope for a miracle. I couldn’t have done it any other way’, she told the publication.
Michelle, who also said during the interview that keeping her personal life away from the press was hard, especially during that difficult time, has always been private about the relationship.
In 2014, when asked about her love life, she simply said: ‘I have a wonderful man in my life from Ireland. We were introduced by Allen Leech. That’s all you need to know.’