Dame Angela Lansbury has no regrets about marrying a gay man when she was just 19 years old.
Speaking with Radio Times, Lansbury said that she wasn’t aware actor Richard Cromwell was gay when they married in 1945.
“I had no idea that I was marrying a gay man,” the 92-year-old icon said. “I found him such an attractive individual. He wanted to marry, he was fascinated with me, but only because of what he had seen on the screen, really.”
Their marriage lasted just 9 months, and Lansbury said it was “a shock to me when it ended, I wasn’t prepared for that.”
Despite its short length, and the revelation that Cromwell was gay, Lansbury doesn’t regret their marriage.
“It was just a terrible error I made as a very young woman,” she said. “But I don’t regret it.”
Cromwell and Lansbury remained friends until his death in 1960, and he became friends with her second husband Peter Shaw, who Lansbury married in 1949 and remained with until his death in 2003.
“[Our marriage] didn’t injure or damage me in any way,” she said, “because he maintained a friendship with me and my future husband.”
Lansbury drew criticism last month for comments she made that implied women should share the blame for sexual harassment.
She was quoted as saying that women “since time immemorial” have “gone out of their way to make themselves attractive.
“And unfortunately it has backfired on us,” she added, “and this is where we are today.”
Lansbury released a statement saying her words had been taken out of context, and that she was “devastated” anyone would think she believes men have an excuse for sexual harassment.
“There is no excuse whatsoever for men to harass women in an abusive sexual manner,” she said, adding, “Those who have known the quality of my work and the many public statements I have made over the course of my life, must know, that I am a strong supporter of women’s rights.
“Lastly, I would like to add that I am troubled by how quickly and brutishly some have taken my comments out of context and attempted to blame my generation, my age, or my mindset, without having read the entirety of what I said.”
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