Dame Angela Lansbury: ‘I had no idea I was marrying a gay man’

November 30, 2017
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NEW YORK, NY - SEPTEMBER 15: Dame Angela Landsbury attends The 2014 American Theatre Wing Gala Honoring Dame Angela Landsbury at on September 15, 2014 in New York, United States. (Photo by Robin Marchant/Getty Images)

Dame Angela Lansbury has opened up about marrying a man she later realised was gay.

Age 19 in 1945, Dame Angela wed actor Richard Cromwell, who was 16 years older than her, during a brief ceremony in California.

British-American actress Angela Lansbury poses with the award for best actress in a supporting role for her work on play 'Blithe Spirit' during the Lawrence Olivier Awards for theatre at the Royal Opera House in central London on April 12, 2015.   AFP PHOTO / JUSTIN TALLIS        (Photo credit should read JUSTIN TALLIS/AFP/Getty Images)

The marriage lasted only nine months and the couple did not explain their reasons for parting at the time.

Speaking to Radio Times, the 92-year-old Murder, She Wrote star confirmed that her first husband had been gay.

NEW YORK, NY - FEBRUARY 01:  Angela Lansbury attends The New York Public Library For The Performing Arts' 50th Anniversary Gala at The New York Public Library - Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on February 1, 2016 in New York City.  (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/Getty Images)

“I had no idea that I was marrying a gay man,” she said.

“I found him such an attractive individual.

WINDSOR, ENGLAND - APRIL 15:  Actress Angela Lansbury poses with her Dame Commander (DBE) medal given to her by Queen Elizabeth II at an Investiture ceremony at Windsor Castle on April 15, 2014 in Berkshire, England.  (Photo by Steve Parsons - WPA Pool/Getty Images)

“He wanted to marry, he was fascinated with me, but only because of what he had seen on the screen, really.

“It didn’t injure or damage me in any way, because he maintained a friendship with me and my future husband [Peter Shaw].”

She added: “But it was a shock to me when it ended, I wasn’t prepared for that.

“It was just a terrible error I made as a very young woman. But I don’t regret it.”

Angela Lansbury attends the 64th Annual Tony Awards (Photo by Bryan Bedder/Getty Images)

At the time Cromwell made just one comment about the failed marriage.

He told the press: “All over the house, tea bags. In the middle of the night she’d get up and start drinking tea. It nearly drove me crazy.”

Angela Lansbury accepts her honorary Oscar (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

While the marriage failed, the pair remained firm friends until he died age 50 in October 1960.

Dame Angela went on to wed Peter Shaw, an English actor and producer, who she remained with from their wedding in 1949 through until his death in 2003.

13th August 1949: Angela Lansbury and her husband, Peter Shaw (Photo by Walter Bellamy/Express/Getty Images)

Dame Angela is set to star in the remake of Mary Poppins, to be released in 2018.

The actress has appeared in a number of Disney sing-alongs, including Bedknobs and Broomsticks, and will play the Balloon Lady in the remake.

Actress Angela Lansbury attends a special screening and panel discussion of "Beauty and the Beast" to celebrate the animated film's 25th anniversary, May 9, 2016 at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) in Beverly Hills, California. / AFP / ROBYN BECK        (Photo credit should read ROBYN BECK/AFP/Getty Images)

Drawing on the other books in the Mary Poppins series by PL Travers, the new story sees the magical nanny return to the Banks family during the Depression where Jane and Michael have grown up.

With children of her own, Mary has to show Michael and his children how to rediscover the fun in life.

More: Angela Lansbury, husband, LGBT, marriage, wedding

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