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Tuesday, 4 December, 2001, 14:47 GMT
Winslet and Mendes step out
Winslet and Mendes
Winslet and Mendes: "Unbelievably happy"
Actress Kate Winslet and director Sam Mendes have appeared in public together for the first time since Mendes confirmed that the two were romantically linked.

The pair attended the New York world première of Winslet's new film, Iris, an adaptation of John Bayley's book about his late wife, the novelist and philosopher Dame Iris Murdoch.

Winslet said at the party after the première that she and the American Beauty director were "unbelievably happy", according to the Daily Mail.

"He's a good man. You can say I said that with a large smile on my face," she was quoted as saying.

Sam Mendes
Mendes: Careful not to endanger marriage

Mendes last month confirmed that he was having an affair with Winslet in the wake of the actress's split from husband Jim Threapleton.

"Yes, we are having a relationship. It's early days, and we are very happy," he said.

But the 35-year-old film and theatre director, who has been linked with a string of stars including The Mummy actress Rachel Weisz, denied he had played a role in ending 26-year-old Winslet's marriage.

He said: "I was very careful to ensure that I was not endangering her marriage.

"Indeed, it was already over, and I came along well after."

Kate Winslet and Hugh Bonneville
Iris tells the story of a 40-year love affair

Iris is a portrait of the relationship between Iris Murdoch and John Bayley, her literary critic husband, over a period of 40 years, from the time they first met, at Oxford in the 1950s.

The film switches between past and present, focusing on the early days of their romance and more recent times with Murdoch's descent into darkness as she succumbed to Alzheimer's Disease.

Winslet and Hugh Bonneville play the younger Murdoch and Bayley - the older roles go to Dame Judi Dench and Jim Broadbent.

Love story

At the première, Winslet said she had immersed herself in Bayley's "wonderful" book in order to research the role.

"It is a first-hand account of what it was genuinely like, day to day - that was the most useful thing to me," she said.

"There was some amazing documentaries about Iris and some interviews that she had given when she was about 50, 60 years old that were incredibly useful to me in terms of how she spoke and her demeanour. "

Director Richard Eyre said the film was about an enduring love that survived chronic illness.

"The film isn't so much about the illness as about a relationship that is affected by the illness," he said.

See also:

19 Nov 01 | Showbiz
Mendes confirms Winslet affair
05 Sep 01 | Showbiz
Career 'caused Winslet split'
23 Nov 01 | Music
Acting like a singer
11 Oct 01 | Showbiz
Winslet single set for festive hit
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