Judi Dench Finty Williams Daughter, Dame Judi Dench has revealed that her greatest regret is not having more children.
The Oscar-winning actress had her only child, daughter Finty, when she was 37.
Now 76, she has also told how she and her late husband, actor Michael Williams, had tried to adopt a sibling for Finty, but were turned down because they were too old.
Dame Judi, who is filming the role of MI6 boss M in the new James Bond film Skyfall, said: ‘I wish we’d had lots more children. That’s the only regret I have. But I was older and it didn’t happen.
‘We tried to adopt a child and they didn’t like it because we were over 40 – and Michael was a Catholic and I was a Quaker. It obviously wasn’t to be.’
The star, who now has her 14-year-old grandson Sammy living with her, made her comments just weeks after David Cameron called for a ‘culture change’ in society’s attitude towards adoption.
The Prime Minister said agencies should abandon their ‘tick-box mentality’ towards potential parents and added that a successful adoption can give children ‘a great start in life and a great life’.
Dame Judi, who won an Oscar for her role as Queen Elizabeth I in Shakespeare In Love, said she took motherhood so seriously that she even contemplated giving up her career after Finty’s birth in 1972.
She told Yours magazine: ‘I’d had a daughter and having a family I wanted to be at home.
‘Michael wouldn’t let me stop, though. So in the beginning I tried to arrange things so I was with her during the day and going to the theatre in the evening when she was in bed. Later on, when she went to school, I could do things like television during the day to be with her in the evening.’
Having a family was so important, said the star, that for 12 years she and her husband and Finty shared their home near Stratford-on-Avon with her widowed mother and Michael’s parents.
‘It was originally Michael’s idea,’ she recalled. ‘One night he said, “Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could all live together?” That was absolutely my idea of heaven then.
‘It was like a proper Quaker community, certainly for bringing up a child, but also the whole idea of looking after your parents. Everyone had their own room but there didn’t seem any point to me in getting a place where we didn’t share a living area.
‘Of course that sometimes created quite a lot of tension. I wouldn’t say for a second that it was always easy and I was in tears quite often. On one occasion I even threw a cup of tea at Michael and his mother – fortunately, I missed!
‘But the good times quite outweighed the bad and I don’t regret a day of it.’
The actress was left bereft when her husband died in 2001 after a battle with cancer. She is now dating conservationist David Mills, who runs a wildlife park near her home in Surrey.
Daughter Finty, who appeared in Oscar-winning film Gosford Park, has admitted struggling with her own problems, including alcoholism. In March 2005 she was given a suspended sentence following a car crash in which she was found to be more than three times the legal drink limit.
The actress collided head-on with a car carrying a young mother and her 18-month-old son on the opposite side of the road in Fetcham, Surrey.
Bill Kenwright, the theatre producer who is a patron of a rehabilitation charity, told magistrates how she had begged him to help her overcome her drinking problem.
Mr Kenwright said at the time: ‘She has brought shame on herself and she has brought shame on her family and she recognises that. Words can scarcely say the deep sense of shame and remorse she feels.’