Alison Steadman reflects on love and marriage

In a recent interview, the TV actress Alison Steadman has said that the stigma that used to surround divorce has become a thing of the past.

She suggested that couples don’t put as much value on their marriages nowadays, with the result that it is very common for parents to split up.

Alison Steadman is 66 years old; she divorced film director Mike Leigh in 2001 and said at the launch of her new ITV drama, ‘Love and Marriage,’ that she hoped that younger couples would “think again” before ending their marriage.

In ‘Love and Marriage’ the actress plays a retired woman who leaves her uncommunicative husband after years of marriage and said that she hoped the drama would be a “wake-up call” for couples who needed to make more of an effort to “appreciate each other.”

During the interview Alison Steadman recalled that when she was at school, there was only one child in her class who had divorced parents and that these days it is “sadly” commonplace for parents to separate. She also said that it was now too easy to get divorced, saying: “I can remember when I was at school there was only one girl in my whole class, her parents were divorced and it was shocking, we as kids felt really sorry for her…her mother had married again and it felt really odd.

“I think now it seems to be the norm for kids that their parents don’t stay together, sadly.

“But times change and hopefully, maybe my sons’ generation, there will be a switch again, maybe they will think again.”

She continued: “Because divorce is so easy now and it wasn’t years ago and you had to go through all sorts of hoops. It was incredibly complicated, now it’s just a question of saying ‘that’s it’.

“Perhaps we don’t put the value on it that we did, I don’t know.”

During the ITV drama which is due to be broadcast in June, Alison Steadman plays Pauline Paradise who retires from her job a lollipop lady just before her father dies and then decides to leave her husband and demanding children.

When speaking about her character’s decision to end her marriage, she said: “I think retiring and death do make us as human beings re-evaluate our lives. And when we do, sometimes we change.”

When asked if she could do what her character does in the drama, she said: “Sometimes life and marriages do just tick along for years and years and years and it takes something to make that person go ‘I want to change things.’”

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