Page last updated at 19:00 GMT, Monday, 15 March 2010

Profile: Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes and Kate Winslet
The couple married in 2003 in the Caribbean

Oscar-winning couple Kate Winslet and Sam Mendes have announced they are to separate after six years of marriage.

The couple married in 2003, two years after Mendes won an Academy Award for directing his first film, American Beauty.


Winslet would have to wait another six years to finally win her first Academy Award after a run of five unsuccessful nominations.

The star's success came for her role in The Reader, capping a number of prizes leading up to the Oscars.

"I get very emotional about these things," said Winslet at the time. "I'm too emotional to lose, and I'm too emotional to win."

She was also recognised at the Golden Globes, where she secured a double triumph for The Reader and Revolutionary Road.


Born in Reading, Berkshire in 1975, Kate Elizabeth Winslet began acting in the BBC's children's science fiction serial Dark Season in 1991.

Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet in Titanic
Titanic, which also starred Leonardo DiCaprio, is Winslet's most famous film

Just three years later, in 1993, that she moved to the big screen, landing the role of Juliet Hulme in Peter Jackson's Heavenly Creatures.

That was followed in 1996 by Sense and Sensibility, a Jane Austen adaptation that proved to be a financial and critical success.

Winslet scooped a Bafta for her performance as the flighty Marianne Dashwood, which also saw her nominated for her first Oscar.

In 1997, her role opposite Leonardo DiCaprio in James Cameron's Titanic made her an international star.

The massive box-office hit went on to win 11 Oscars.

But the success was overshadowed by the death of Winslet's partner of five years - actor and writer Stephen Tredre - from bone cancer, shortly before the film's release.

The actress missed the Los Angeles premiere of Titanic to attend his funeral, a decision which imbued her with a distrust of Hollywood.

"Someone I had spent four and a half years of my life with had just died," she told The Guardian in 1999, "and [the film studio] would be having conversations with me, saying things like, 'Look, we understand, this must be a very hard time' and then they'd go on to say, 'but don't you think Stephen would have wanted it?'"

"I was pretty alarmed by that."

Kate Winslet and daughter Mia Honey
Winslet's daughter, Mia Honey, was born in 2000

She met her husband, Jim Threapleton, on the set of Hideous Kinky, a film about a restless single mother who flees to Morocco.

They wed in 1998 and had a child, Mia Honey, together, though their marriage ended in divorce three years later.


Mendes and Winslet married in May 2003 on the island of Anguilla in the Caribbean.

Their son, Joe Alfie Winslet Mendes was born in December in New York.

Winslet's ability has not been the only focus of press attention over the years.

In 2007, she accepted an undisclosed settlement from Grazia magazine over allegations that she had visited a diet doctor.

And last year, the actress successfully sued the Daily Mail newspaper over claims she lied about her exercise regime.

She accepted £25,000 in damages.


Born in Reading in 1965, Samuel Alexander Mendes is one of Britain's predominant directors, producing award-winning stage productions around the world in addition to his film career.

His parents divorced when he was five years old, and Mendes was raised by his mother, Valerie, a children's author.

A keen cricket fan, he played for his school and then for Cambridge University, where he achieved a double first.

Sam Mendes
Mendes began his career in the theatre

He announced his ambition to direct upon arriving at the University, and took a production to the Edinburgh festival at the end of his first year.

"A light bulb went off [on] the first day of rehearsal," he said later. "I thought, 'I love this.'''

But it was his cricket skills that provided his passage into theatre.

John Gale, director of Chichester Theatre, got wind of the youngster's prowess at the wicket and invited him to join his team in 1987, having become fed up of being trounced by the Royal Shakespeare Company's team in their annual match.

By 1990, Mendes was directing a besotted Dame Judi Dench in London - she allegedly used to feed him sweets in the interval - and a year later he took charge of an RSC production of Troilus and Cressida, starring Ralph Fiennes.

He was then responsible for transforming London's tiny, disused, 250-seat Donmar Warehouse into one of Britain's most high-profile theatres, after being appointed as artistic director in 1992.

One of his early coups was to lure Nicole Kidman over for David Hare's play The Blue Room - in which she disrobed, to the glee of tabloid journalists around the world.

The production transferred to Broadway, as did his revival of the musical Cabaret, bringing him to the attention of Hollywood.

His debut film, American Beauty, came in 1999. A portrait of a dysfunctional family in suburban America, it garnered five Academy Awards, including best picture and best director.

'Less interesting'

Revolutionary Road
Mendes directed his wife in Oscar-nominated drama Revolutionary Road

He met Winslet in 2001, when he had her in mind for a role in Twelfth Night.

She turned him down - but they started dating later that year, just two months after her marriage to Jim Threapleton ended.

The couple were notoriously reluctant to discuss their private life in the press, but Mendes was quick to stress that Winslet had never cheated on her former husband with him.

"All I ever cared about was that people knew this started after she and Jim split up," he has said.

"The rest of it is just a straightforward relationship. There's no story really, other than two people: One famous person and another who's slightly less famous and slightly less interesting."

The couple married in 2003 but despite their successful film careers, refused to move to Hollywood. "I want to watch English football and cricket," Mendes - an Arsenal fan, said.

But he now has an office in New York's meat packing district, where he masterminds both his theatrical and film productions.

His recent work includes the stage musical of Shrek, which he produced; and a production of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, which played in both New York and London; and he is reportedly in talks to direct the next James Bond movie.

He and Winslet have only worked together once, on the Oscar-nominated melodrama Revolutionary Road.

Speaking to The Observer while promoting the film, Mendes said the film-making process allowed him to discover a "surprising amount" about his wife.

"You watch this face that you think you know and expressions pass across it that you've never seen".

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