Balance February 18 - 25

T H E B I G I N T E RV I E W

anything. I'd say to Gracie [her 12-year-old daughter
with former partner David Thewlis] 'Do you fancy a
pyjama day today?' And she'd be like 'No, no that's
fine'. Deliveroo became quite a good friend.'

HEIR GUITAR
Her route into performing was music rather than
acting, with her father, Des, an accomplished folk
guitarist, the inspiration.
'There was always performance in our family,'
she recalls of her Rochdale upbringing. 'We were
Irish and very musical. I'd go into my living room
and there would be 10 musicians sitting around.'
Anna doesn't play an instrument, although
she's delighted her daughter appears to have
inherited her dad's aptitude for the guitar, but
she's always sung. From choirs and musicals,
via the encouraging words of her school drama
teacher, she found herself at Oldham Theatre
Workshop three nights a week and all day Sunday.
She recognises that for her mum and dad - 'the
absolute opposite of pushy acting parents' - this
was a big commitment.
'They were the taxi and so they couldn't have a
glass of wine,' she remembers. 'If they hadn't done
that, I wouldn't be doing this.'
She was cast, in her early teens, as Michael
Palin's daughter in Alan Bleasdale's acclaimed
drama GBH and then landed her life-changing
role in the C4 soap Brookside after which she
found herself in London and the subject of much
paparazzi attention. Was she really the party girl
they portrayed?
She smiles. 'No, I was living on my own, so the
choice was: Do I sit inside by myself or do I go out
and see some of my friends? I was working every
other day and I missed my parents and was lonely,
so what do you do?'
Things improved when she moved out of London
to Windsor (on the advice of her godparents) where
she remains to this day.
'I think your 20s are very hard to navigate,' she
reasons. 'You've got this weird kind of confidence,
you think you can burn the candle and different
things mean different things to you then. Now, I
love my Aga and my garden.'
She manages to be an intriguing mixture of
down-to-earth and distinctly starry. She talks

February 2018 BA LA N CE

warmly about missing her family - 'I don't see as
much of them as my brother does, but their simple
answer is 'well move back up north' and I'm not
going to do that' - and in the next breath reveals
that Russian billionaire media mogul Evgeny
Lebedev took her and Gracie on a two-week safari
holiday to Africa as a 41st birthday present.
'I've basically grown up on set,' she explains.
'Where's the boom? Where's the kit? It's my family.

AS YOU GET OLDER THE
DISRUPTION OF, SAY,
GOING TO LIVE IN CANADA
FOR THREE MONTHS
LOSES ITS APPEAL
When I have to create my own routine it's hard, but
I'm getting better at that. So many people would
love my job, so even when I'm knackered I have
to find that appreciation every day, as I'm doing
something I love.
'But as you get older the disruption of, say, going
to live in Canada for three months, loses its appeal.
Your first thought is 'I'm going to be away from
my daughter' or 'I've got to disrupt her schooling'
or 'I'm not going to see my friends'. And it makes
relationships nigh on impossible. Think about all
the actor-actor relationships. How many of them
have worked? You can't have all that time apart.'

FRIEND AND LOVERS
She has, of course, had two much-publicised
relationships with other actors, first David Thewlis
and then Rhys Ifans. Remarkably, she has remained
on friendly terms with both of them. Is there a
secret to this?
'I think openness and kindness are the key,'
she reflects. 'I was lucky in that I was financially
independent so it wasn't a separation that involved
who has what. I had my house and David had his.
I gave up being in Los Angeles because that was
where we were living at the time and that was
my house, but then he and his girlfriend were in

25



Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of Balance February 18

Balance February 18 - 1
Balance February 18 - 2
Balance February 18 - 3
Balance February 18 - 4
Balance February 18 - 5
Balance February 18 - 6
Balance February 18 - 7
Balance February 18 - 8
Balance February 18 - 9
Balance February 18 - 10
Balance February 18 - 11
Balance February 18 - 12
Balance February 18 - 13
Balance February 18 - 14
Balance February 18 - 15
Balance February 18 - 16
Balance February 18 - 17
Balance February 18 - 18
Balance February 18 - 19
Balance February 18 - 20
Balance February 18 - 21
Balance February 18 - 22
Balance February 18 - 23
Balance February 18 - 24
Balance February 18 - 25
Balance February 18 - 26
Balance February 18 - 27
Balance February 18 - 28
Balance February 18 - 29
Balance February 18 - 30
Balance February 18 - 31
Balance February 18 - 32
Balance February 18 - 33
Balance February 18 - 34
Balance February 18 - 35
Balance February 18 - 36
Balance February 18 - 37
Balance February 18 - 38
Balance February 18 - 39
Balance February 18 - 40
Balance February 18 - 41
Balance February 18 - 42
Balance February 18 - 43
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Balance February 18 - 47
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Balance February 18 - 49
Balance February 18 - 50
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Balance February 18 - 65
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Balance February 18 - 68
Balance February 18 - 69
Balance February 18 - 70
Balance February 18 - 71
Balance February 18 - 72
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