Who Is Helen Mirren's Husband, Taylor Hackford?

Helen Mirren never thought she'd get married, but she found the love of her life when she was nearly 40 years old. The movie star was auditioning for the 1985 film "White Nights" when she met her future husband, Academy Award-winning director Taylor Hackford. Things were fiery from the get-go, as Hackford showed up late for Mirren's audition for the film. "It was a strange way to meet Helen, because she is a lovely person, but she didn't hold back her fury," Hackford told AARP The Magazine in 2006. Despite their rocky start, the two fell in love and were married in a historic castle in Scotland in 1997. Mirren was 52 years old on her wedding day.

Mirren reflected on her later-in-life love during an interview on "Today." "The great thing about finding a partnership later on [in life] is that you recognize it as such," she said in 2016. "You recognize the partnership level of this relationship as much as the love and the lust and all the rest of it."

And it has been quite the partnership indeed. Both Mirren and Hackford had well-established careers in the film industry when they first met, and they went on to work together a few more times after "White Nights."

Taylor Hackford got his start in film in an unexpected way

Taylor Hackford has directed some of the biggest films over the past 40 years. In 1979, he won an Academy Award for his short film "Teenage Father." His second film, 1982's "An Officer and a Gentleman," was another Oscar-nominated blockbuster. Hackford also directed the 1980s megahit "Against All Odds" and the Ray Charles biopic "Ray." He won two Grammy Awards for the "Ray" soundtrack. Hackford was also the president of the Director's Guild.

In 2016, Hackford told DGA Quarterly Magazine that he majored in international relations at the University of Southern California before joining the Peace Corps. His interest in film was sparked when he got a mailroom job at a PBS station in Los Angeles and began doing on-camera reporting. "I was there for several years, won a few awards for investigative journalism," he told The Hollywood Interview. "Then I did a short film called 'Teenage Father,' which was an educational film for high school kids. And it wound up getting the Oscar for Best Short Film." Hackford said he then scored an agent and began regularly working in Hollywood.

Before meeting Mirren, Hackford had two earlier marriages, each of which produced sons. In 1970, he welcomed his son Rio with his first wife, Georgie Lowres. He also shared a son, Alex, with his second wife, Lynne Littman. While Mirren herself never wanted children, she embraced her stepsons. "I have to say that the thing I loved most about Taylor was his absolute, total commitment to his children," she told AARP The Magazine in 2006. Hackford's eldest son, Rio, died in April 2022 at age 51 from a rare form of melanoma, per The Hollywood Reporter.

Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford waited 25 years to work together again

After wrapping "White Nights," Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford put a long pause on working together. But in 2010, they teamed up for the movie "Love Ranch." In an interview with Collider, Hackford revealed that it was a very different experience working with his wife on their second film because he was no longer just getting to know her. "A couple of times I spoke to her in ways I shouldn't have," he admitted. "I would have never spoken to another actor that way." He added that he didn't intend to speak to his wife in such a way, and that it was just due to his "familiarity" with her. "You can't help it. ... You're closer to that person than anybody else," he explained. In 2021, it was also announced that Mirren would star in her husband's upcoming thriller, "Sniff." The film is still in production.

Mirren has said her husband doesn't typically critique her work — and vice versa. And that could be why the partnership continues to work both on and off-camera. "You know, I believe in unconditional praise from one's loved ones," she told People in 2022. "I don't want any criticism. And I give him unconditional praise likewise — more or less. We allow each other to do our own thing, and get on with it."