Helen Mirren met director Taylor Hackford on the set of the 1985 "White Nights."
The timing wasn't ideal, she thought -- though she has since reconsidered.
"I used to say to Taylor, ‘I wish we’d met earlier on. We’ve missed so much time together.’ And he’d say, ‘We’d never be together now if we met earlier.’ And I think he’s actually right," she told Oprah Winfrey in O Magazine.
"We were both on a trajectory of work and ambition and, of course, to a certain extent, wanting to resolve ourselves as ourselves."
Mirren, 68, who married Hackford in 1997, said that prior to meeting him, she was seriously committed to her work. Relationships weren't nearly as important.
"If I had to go to Africa, it was 'Bye-bye, I’m off to Africa,'" recalled the actress, whose film "The Hundred-Foot Journey" hits theaters August 8. "Then he came into my life, and I started thinking, 'Maybe it’s time to have a different attitude and to say that my relationship is at least as important as my work.' To give it the time."
Of course, her career hardly suffered. In 2007, Mirren won an Oscar for playing Queen Elizabeth in "The Queen," an experience she called "one of those amazing, magical moments that came out of the blue."
"Years ago, there used to be an ad in England for the lottery that featured an ordinary family going about their life and this big, sparkly finger coming out of the sky and pointing in through the window as if to say, ‘It could be you, winning the lottery.' I feel that way about the Oscar. It was a big finger that came out of the sky and said, 'It’s you.'" she said.
"You witness in your life so many talented people who deserve the greatest success but are not getting it for all kinds of reasons. So much of it is hard work, but it’s a lottery as well."