Why Kate Called 'Cut' on Mr Ego; She's Been Suffering Panic Attacks and Getting Messages from a Dead Lover. He Preferred Watching Sports TV to Dealing with Her Neuroses

Daily Mail (London), March 20, 2010 | Go to article overview

Why Kate Called 'Cut' on Mr Ego; She's Been Suffering Panic Attacks and Getting Messages from a Dead Lover. He Preferred Watching Sports TV to Dealing with Her Neuroses


Byline: by Alison Boshoff

THE VAMPISH one-shouldered Balmain dress she wore to the movie premiere that December night has been carefully put away, and her comfortable Los Angeles home is still and silent. But while her husband Sam Mendes sleeps, Kate Winslet wakes and finds she is having a panic attack.

She feels as if she cannot breathe. There is a terrifying sensation that her chest has been compressed by a brick. She cannot see straight and complains, despite the silent room: 'It sounds like everyone's talking in Hebrew.' She has never had a panic attack before and calls her sister Beth back in Reading.

Beth tells her this period of intense fear and anxiety will pass and suggests her symptoms are just the result of a fierce response from her nervous system.

At the time, Kate blames it on 'tiredness... just tiredness' -- although she is truly upset by its intensity, and the feelings of utter terror she haexperienced. The end of a relationship is a common trigger for these episodes and it seems that, at some level, Kate was registering that the pressures which she was facing and fighting daily were pretty much overwhelming.

Maybe in some corner of her psyche she realised her relationship with Mendes was under what might be a fatal threat.

The couple announced their separation on Monday, saying they had quietly split earlier in the year.

According to neighbours, for some weeks Sam, 44, has been living in what used to be his office, which is in the same converted six-floor warehouse on New York's West 22nd Street as the main family home.

Kate, 34, and her children, Mia and Joe, remain in the three-bedroom, three-storey flat on the floor above.

It's very much a home in Kate's image: the walls are hung with paintings by the children and the fridge groans with good-for-you food waiting to be placed into lunchboxes.

The floors are covered with shabby-chic Persian rugs and there are spectacular roof gardens with great views across the Hudson River. It is here Kate always goes to smoke -- her one indulgence.

Sam, meanwhile, is in the whitepainted flat just downstairs. His space is dominated by a gigantic flat-screen TV and bachelor-style dark-grey sofas. The walls are lined with his books -- reflecting the fact that this Cambridge graduate is constantly reading and never stops looking for appropriately cerebral new projects and enthusiasms.

Should you doubt that the man of the house is an homme serieux, the words 'art' and 'commerce' are spelled out, a tad pretentiously, in metal letters and entwined on a wall.

As their homes reflect, they are such different people. Kate is a passionate 'doer' and a woman of grand, unconditional loves. She cries easily. She is still in many ways afflicted with the self-doubt which came from being the 'fat girl' who left theatre school at 16. She never feels she has read enough or is talented enough.

She cherishes the whispers she sometimes feels she hears from her first boyfriend, actor Stephen Tredre, who died tragically young just as she was tasting fame. She says he speaks to her from beyond the grave when she is feeling down to tell her she is doing fine.

Sam is everything she isn't -- effortlessly intellectual, super-confident and with a reputation for being the commitment phobe's commitment phobe.

He sailed through relationships with actresses Jane Horrocks, Rachel Weisz and Calista Flockhart without coming even vaguely close to being tied down.

The only child of divorced parents, Sam has spoken often about not buying into the ideal of monogamy.

'I don't believe in marriage. People from broken homes just don't buy it. The idea of a marriage fills me with dread,' he once said.

He added only last year that the greatest risk he had ever taken was getting married and having children.

For Kate, of course, getting married and having children was always seen as the much-desired happy ending, not some kind of insane gamble. …

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