Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Was Too Big to Be a Desperate Housewife; ER Star on Missing out on Hit Series - and How Split with Ralph Fiennes Left Her Feeling Suicidal Alex Kingston

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

I Was Too Big to Be a Desperate Housewife; ER Star on Missing out on Hit Series - and How Split with Ralph Fiennes Left Her Feeling Suicidal Alex Kingston

Article excerpt

Byline: MARY KEANE

ALEX KINGSTON explodes into the Chelsea restaurant. "Hello!" she booms in confident tones. She is on ebullient form, delighted to be back in London.

Her mood was very different when she left 10 years ago, fleeing the breakdown of her marriage to Ralph Fiennes, who had fallen for Francesca Annis.

She moved to LA to appear in ER and it seemed she would be there for good: asked what she missed about Britain, she came up with only kippers and the smell of rotting leaves. Now 43, Kingston is married to a German journalist, Florian Haertel, and they have a five-year-old daughter, Salome.

And as she comes to London to play Nurse Ratched in One Flew Over The Cuckoo's Nest, her ex- husband has been in the news again for infidelity.

In February, Fiennes's secret lover kissed and told, bringing his relationship with Annis down in flames. Is there a hint of schadenfreude behind Kingston's good mood?

She denies it with a laugh. "No! You can't say that. Not when you've got people-like John Prescott in the news."

Previously, she refused to talk about Fiennes, or referred to him only as "my ex-husband", as if the mere mention of his name caused pain.

Although she and Fiennes are not in contact, that is because their lives have taken different paths, she says.

"If he were to call me and say, 'let's meet', I'd be happy to do that."

She had met Fiennes, "my first love", at Rada. By the time they married in 1993, he was Hollywood hot property, while Kingston was left out in the cold.

In 1995, F iennes me t Annis when they were cast in Hamlet.

It was only the following year, while Kingston was filming ITV's Moll Flanders, that Fiennes said the marriage was over. She was shattered. At one point she even got into the bath with a knife, planning to end it all. …

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