'Billy Elliot' director has secret wedding in New York

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The Independent Culture

Stephen Daldry, the theatre director who received an Oscar nomination for his first film, Billy Elliot, has surprised friends with the news that he has been married for the past two months.

Daldry, 41, who has talked openly in the past about being gay, wed one of his closest friends, an American named only as Lucy, in a ceremony in New York after the attacks on the World Trade Centre. He revealed yesterday: "It was one of those moments when you have to decide and focus your life and take positive action when everything else seems to be falling apart.

"Lucy and I have had a long relationship for a number of years. I love her very much and we are very happy." The couple intend to divide their lives between Hertfordshire and New York, her home city.

Asked whether they intended to start a family, Mr Daldry said he did not know. His parental instincts have been apparent in his close relationship with Jamie Bell, the teenage star of Billy Elliot, whose own father left home before he was born.

Daldry, a former artistic director of the Royal Court Theatre in London, happily discusses his life on the gay scene and how he met his one-time partner, Ian MacNeil, a New Yorker who was the stage designer for his production of the J B Priestley classic An Inspector Calls.

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