How we met: Uri Andres and Anna Massey

Anna Massey (55) was born into a theatrical family and was educated abroad. She has appeared in numerous plays, films and radio broadcasts, winning the 1986 Bafta best actress award for her role in the television adaptation of Anita Brookner's Hotel du Lac. Massey's first marriage, at 20,

ended in divorce after the birth of her son. Nearly three decades later, she met her second husband, Dr Uri Andres (67). Born in Moscow, Andres trained as a scientist and has been a metallurgist at London's Imperial College since 1975. He has two daughters from his first marriage.

ANNA MASSEY: The year I met Uri - it was 1988 - was the year I became a realist. It was nothing anyone said, but that March I stayed with my mother in Switzerland and came home believing that it was pointless to live in the past, or to think too much about the future. I'd spent so much of my life thinking that one day I would meet Mr Wonderful, Mr Right, or even Mr Almost-Right, and suddenly something liberating clicked in my soul. After being alone for nearly 30 years, I finally realised that I could fend for myself and that I hadn't made too many compromises along the way. Being single wasn't such a dreadful imprisonment. That was how my life would be. It took away an enormous ball of angst, and I felt strangely at peace with myself.

Then, on the night of 10 August, I went to a dinner party given by a friend of mine, Joy Whitby. I was tired but, as always, the minute anyone arrives at Joy's house, their spirits rise. I hardly knew anyone else in the room. Seven of us were chatting over drinks and I thought we were the complete party. Suddenly, this elegant man in a blue shirt and jeans arrived. He was given some champagne but no one introduced him. I beckoned him to come and join us, which was quite forward by my standards. We were discussing Stephen Hawking's A Brief History of Time, not that I had much to add because I'd only read part of it. Uri told us he'd just come back from Sheffield where he'd seen his new magnet installed. I was excited to meet an inventor whose ideas were actually being used.

When Joy called us down to dinner, I realised she'd sat us together and remember thinking, 'Yippee]' At the time, I thought I'd met a fascinating man called Yuri. I'd no idea he spelt his name with a 'U'.

It was a beautiful night. As Uri had walked to Joy's house, I offered to drive him home. We arranged to have dinner, and for the next three months, until our wedding day on 22 November, the sun never seemed to set. All I remember are golden days when we went for long walks and never once needed an umbrella or raincoat.

Getting to know Uri, I realised how much science and art are intertwined. There are enormous moments of stress, elation, creative anguish and depression in both, yet the two disciplines have always been quite separate. Uri has a capacity to take you into a very different world which is incredibly involving. He's the most original person I know, but without his ability to communicate, we might never have come together.

My husband is completely fearless and an intrepid traveller. I've always been able to fly off and work in a foreign city on my own, but holidays used to be a nightmare for me. Uri would never let the prospect of two weeks silence stop him from going away by himself. He's taught me to travel light: wherever we go in the world, we only ever take hand luggage with us.

Uri is very low key about his achievements: he'd never blow his own trumpet. He's a great listener, and makes people feel at ease. Since we met, I've enjoyed acting in a way I haven't done for years. A close, intimate, shared life has given me enormous confidence and freedom. The journey of creation is much richer, and I'm not so nail-bitten about the result. When you have an emotional life-boat, failure isn't so frightening. I'm braver in what I take on as an actress and braver in what I reject.

Just before I actually married Uri, I wrote to my two analysts and received joyous letters back from both. I'd had years of analysis and without that help, I wouldn't have been able to move into the world that Uri has opened up to me. I wouldn't have been brave enough to live in the present. Living in the present means not expecting the future and not regretting the past. If we'd met a year earlier - when we'd also been invited to Joy's, but Uri was away - it would have been the wrong time for both of us. We were going through gloomy periods. In any case, Stephen Hawking's book hadn't yet been published, so what would we have talked about?

My son was delighted that we got married, and said he only wished it could have happened sooner. I've visited Uri's family in Russia, and they are the warmest, most welcoming people I've ever met.

Uri and I hate being apart, but if either of us has to go away, we speak on the phone every day. After so many years of being on my own, there's now someone to call and say: 'Darling, I've arrived safely.'

URI ANDRES: I saw Anna twice before I met her. In 1976, during my first year in London, I went to the National Theatre where she was playing in Shaw's Heartbreak House. The next time was on television in a dramatisation of Anita Brookner's Hotel du Lac. I knew the book, but had a completely different picture of what Edith would be like. After watching Anna, I changed my mind.

A couple of years later, we were both invited to dinner at the house

of a mutual friend - Joy Whitby. Joy asked everyone months ahead, but,

as things turned out, I couldn't

go because I had to be in Morocco.

If we had met then, it would

have been completely the wrong time for us both. I was feeling gloomy about all kinds of problems.

Twelve months later, Joy asked us both to dinner again. By the time I arrived at her house, everyone was deep in conversation about Stephen Hawking's book, A Brief History of Time. Of course, I'd never met Anna but I remember feeling surprised that an actress could talk so intelligently about the cosmos, astrophysics, black holes and difficult paradoxes of time. At dinner, we sat next to each other and seemed to have so much to talk about. That night, I was feeling elated: my new project had taken off, and I think I was predisposed to other nice things happening.

Anna agreed to give me a lift home. Though I wanted to continue the relationship, I wasn't sure if it was a good step to take. Neither of us had anything to write with, and so we promised to remember each others' phone numbers - seven figures each - not so much. As I was going to Moscow in four days time, I asked Anna to have dinner at my home before I left. At the last minute, my daughter and granddaughter who were due to come from Leningrad (as it was then), changed their flights and arrived two days early. Eating at home would have been impossible, so I bought Russian caviar and chatka (crabs) and we had dinner at Anna's house. While I was away, I sent her postcards and when I came home, our friendship grew and, one sunny day, we decided to live together. Not long after, on another sunny day, we decided to get married.

I was 62 when I met Anna and had practically accepted that I would never marry again. Since I arrived in London and started working at Imperial College, I have done more than I could ever have dreamed about in Russia. Here, anything was possible for me. I had complete freedom of choice. The college is a cross-roads for scientists from all over the world. My research was my responsibility - there were no feelings of constraints. Life was very good. Professionally, I couldn't have imagined anything better, but since I married Anna, my work has increased from all possible angles, 20-fold.

Like all couples, we disagree sometimes, but they're the kind of clashes which happen between most human beings. They're nothing to do with coming from different cultures and speaking different languages. I think that surprised us both.

Anna's world of theatre, art, literature, is not so very different from mine. It requires unbelievable discipline. Anna is enormously disciplined and organised. She has given me stability and confidence. Of course, there was a period in Russia when I was happily married with my family around me, doing the work I loved, but it was never like this. Not at all. All my friends have noticed a change in me. Most immigrants would understand when I say that however long you have been in a country, a part of you always feels outside society. Now, being married to an English lady, who knows so much about English life, I feel accepted here. -

(Photograph omitted)

Arts and Entertainment
The new Fondation Louis Vuitton in the Jardin d'Acclimatation in Paris
architecture

Arts and Entertainment
Richard E Grant as Simon Bricker and Elizabeth McGovern as Cora, Countess of Grantham
Downton

Arts and Entertainment
Lynda Bellingham stars in her last Oxo advert with on-screen husband Michael Redfern

tv
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman

film
Arts and Entertainment
Clara takes the lead in 'Flatline' while the Doctor remains in the Tardis
tvReview: The 'Impossible Girl' earns some companion stripes... but she’s still annoying in 'Dr Who, Flatline'
PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Sean Harris in 'The Goob' film photocall, at the Venice International Film Festival 2014
filmThe Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Streisand is his true inspiration
Arts and Entertainment
X Factor contestant Fleur East
tvReview: Some lacklustre performances - but the usual frontrunners continue to excel
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Tuttle's installation in the Turbine Hall at the Tate Modern
artAs two major London galleries put textiles in the spotlight, the poor relation of the creative world is getting recognition it deserves
Arts and Entertainment
Hunger Games actress Jena Malone has been rumoured to be playing a female Robin in Batman v Superman
film
Arts and Entertainment
On top of the world: Actress Cate Blanchett and author Richard Flanagan
artsRichard Flanagan's Man Booker win has put paid to the myth that antipodean artists lack culture
Arts and Entertainment
The Everyman, revamped by Haworth Tompkins
architectureIt beats strong shortlist that included the Shard, the Library of Birmingham, and the London Aquatics Centre
Arts and Entertainment
Justice is served: Robert Downey Jr, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jeremy Strong and Robert Duvall in ‘The Judge’

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Clive Owen (centre) in 'The Knick'

TV

Arts and Entertainment
J.K. Simmons , left, and Miles Teller in a scene from

Film

Arts and Entertainment
Team Tenacity pitch their fetching solar powered, mobile phone charging, heated, flashy jacket
tvReview: No one was safe as Lord Sugar shook things up
News
Owen said he finds films boring but Tom Hanks managed to hold his attention in Forrest Gump
arts
Arts and Entertainment
Bono and Apple CEO Tim Cook announced U2's surprise new album at the iPhone 6 launch
Music Album is set to enter UK top 40 at lowest chart position in 30 years
Arts and Entertainment
The Michael McIntyre Chat Show airs its first episode on Monday 10 March 2014
Comedy
Arts and Entertainment

Review

These heroes in a half shell should have been left in hibernation
Arts and Entertainment
Richard Flanagan with his novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North
books'The Narrow Road to the Deep North' sees the writer become the third Australian to win the accolade
Arts and Entertainment
New diva of drama: Kristin Scott Thomas as Electra
theatre
Arts and Entertainment
TV
Arts and Entertainment
Daenerys Targaryen, played by Emilia Clarke, faces new problems

Sek, k'athjilari! (That’s “yes, definitely” to non-native speakers).

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Polly Morgan

art
Arts and Entertainment
The kid: (from left) Oona, Geraldine, Charlie and Eugene Chaplin

film
Arts and Entertainment
The Banksy image in Folkestone before it was vandalised

art
Arts and Entertainment

Review: Series 5, episode 4 Downton Abbey
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Two super-sized ships have cruised into British waters, but how big can these behemoths get?

    Super-sized ships: How big can they get?

    Two of the largest vessels in the world cruised into UK waters last week
    British doctors on brink of 'cure' for paralysis with spinal cord treatment

    British doctors on brink of cure for paralysis

    Sufferers can now be offered the possibility of cure thanks to a revolutionary implant of regenerative cells
    Ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities - not London, or Edinburgh, but Salisbury

    Salisbury ranked seventh in world’s best tourist cities

    The city is home to one of the four surviving copies of the Magna Carta, along with the world’s oldest mechanical clock
    Let's talk about loss

    We need to talk about loss

    Secrecy and silence surround stillbirth
    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Will there be an all-female mission to Mars?

    Women may be better suited to space travel than men are
    Oscar Pistorius sentencing: The athlete's wealth and notoriety have provoked a long overdue debate on South African prisons

    'They poured water on, then electrified me...'

    If Oscar Pistorius is sent to jail, his experience will not be that of other inmates
    James Wharton: The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    The former Guard now fighting discrimination against gay soldiers

    Life after the Army has brought new battles for the LGBT activist James Wharton
    Ebola in the US: Panic over the virus threatens to infect President Obama's midterms

    Panic over Ebola threatens to infect the midterms

    Just one person has died, yet November's elections may be affected by what Republicans call 'Obama's Katrina', says Rupert Cornwell
    Premier League coaches join the RSC to swap the tricks of their trades

    Darling, you were fabulous! But offside...

    Premier League coaches are joining the RSC to learn acting skills, and in turn they will teach its actors to play football. Nick Clark finds out why
    How to dress with authority: Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear

    How to dress with authority

    Kirsty Wark and Camila Batmanghelidjh discuss the changing role of fashion in women's workwear
    New book on Joy Division's Ian Curtis sheds new light on the life of the late singer

    New book on Ian Curtis sheds fresh light on the life of the late singer

    'Joy Division were making art... Ian was for real' says author Jon Savage
    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    Sean Harris: A rare interview with British acting's secret weapon

    The Bafta-winner talks Hollywood, being branded a psycho, and how Barbra Streisand is his true inspiration
    Tim Minchin, interview: The musician, comedian and world's favourite ginger is on scorching form

    Tim Minchin interview

    For a no-holds-barred comedian who is scathing about woolly thinking and oppressive religiosity, he is surprisingly gentle in person
    Boris Johnson's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Boris's boozing won't win the puritan vote

    Many of us Brits still disapprove of conspicuous consumption – it's the way we were raised, says DJ Taylor
    Ash frontman Tim Wheeler reveals how he came to terms with his father's dementia

    Tim Wheeler: Alzheimer's, memories and my dad

    Wheeler's dad suffered from Alzheimer's for three years. When he died, there was only one way the Ash frontman knew how to respond: with a heartfelt solo album