When Dame Judi Dench’s husband Michael Williams died of cancer in 2001, work became her rock. Her acting was something she drowned herself in – a bid to keep her mind busy and to keep grief at bay.
For years, Dench said she never thought dating or romance would be on the cards after such a loss.
But in 2010, she met someone. A man called David Mills – a dairy farmer turned conservationist. And somehow, they clicked instantly, so much so, that they’ve been an item ever since.
But don’t ever call David Mills Judi Dench’s boyfriend or partner. Because she doesn’t like that.
A poll was once conducted in the UK that found the Queen had been overtaken by Dench as the “most popular and respected woman in Britain”. And it appears that sentiment has continued throughout the years.
Here’s everything we know about Judi Dench’s life.
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Judith Olivia Dench was born in 1934, in North Yorkshire, England. She had an Irish mother and English father.
From a young age, Dench knew the stage was where she wanted to be. After high school, she went on to study at the Central School of Speech And Drama. By 23, she had hit the jackpot, cementing herself in the Shakespeare realm.
By the ’60s, Dench was starring in films. And so too was Michael Williams.
The pair had shared the screen on multiple occasions, as well as both being promising young stars in the Royal Shakespeare Company. But it wasn’t until a decade later that they fell in love and began a relationship.
When Judi left for a six-week tour of Australia, Michael followed and proposed. “Ask me on a rainy night in Battersea, and I’ll think about it,” she replied.
By 1971, they were married after his second go at proposing was successful. The next year, they welcomed their only child, daughter Tara Cressida Williams, known as Finty. When Finty was born, Dench figured she would slow down with her work in order to focus on raising her child. But reflecting on that time, Dench said that Williams urged her not to give up her career.