How We Met: Rupert Everett & Robert Fox

'He could be volatile, and – in the past – I could be volatile, too'

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The Independent Online

Rupert Everett, 53

After gaining critical acclaim in 1984's 'Another Country', Everett (left in photograph) appeared in an array of stage and screen roles, including 'My Best Friend's Wedding' and, most recently, 'Parade's End'. He lives in London

We met in the Embassy nightclub, in 1979, when he was with his first wife, Celestia. He was extremely good-looking, the youngest of a famous band of brothers and very glamorous with a glamorous wife. I was attracted to them both as a couple, and I became desperate to be their best friend. We became close very quickly and after I did Another Country in Greenwich, which they came to see, Robert took it to the West End.

Our relationship went professional, which is always strenuous. It worked at the beginning, then when I left my role, Daniel Day-Lewis took it over and Robert printed out this review, saying how bad I was and how good Day-Lewis was, and plastered it all over the theatre. I was so upset we didn't talk for months.

In his earlier days, when he still drank, we'd get drunk and do horrible things. Robert once called this London home Jack Nicholson was at, for a party. He used an Irish accent and the hostess thought it was an IRA bomb threat, and they called the police. Robert got arrested and spent the night in prison; that was the end of our games!

We both try to see the funny side when something bad happens. I once left a message with Cameron Mackintosh to ask if I could be in [the much-postponed film production of] My Fair Lady. Two months later he called me back and all he said was, "No!" and every attempt I made to explain he just shouted, "NO!" Laughing about that sort of stuff with Robert makes it all easier.

There's a point when most of us are for sale, and we end up doing something trashy. But Robert never has. He guards his collateral very carefully.

He has an Eeyore-ish quality which I really enjoy as we both have a tendency towards depression and together we'll laugh our way out of it. He's a Fox, though, and the thing about the Fox family is that they never say what they think, so I never know whether I'm pissing him off or not. I've been for visits and Robert's been friendly at the time, and only months later I'll discover he was actually furious with me that day.

Robert Fox, 59

The youngest brother of actors Edward and James, the theatre and film executive has produced more than 30 West End shows as well as films including 'Iris' and 'The Hours'. He lives in London with his wife Fiona Golfar and their two children.

I went to see him in Another Country at the Greenwich Theatre; my [ex] wife was a casting director who wanted to see his first big part. He was tall, handsome and charismatic – the sort of person who, once you've met, you don't forget, and I had this sense that he'd be a big star.

We worked together quite quickly after that. I transferred that play to the West End and I went on to exec-produce the film adaptation too, and we became firm friends; he was someone with whom I could have the best laughs ever.

But he'd also gone from a no one to a celebrity overnight and he became bratty, arrogant and thought he knew it all. There were periods when we fell out – he could be volatile – and in the past I could be volatile, too.

But he's also been there for me through all the things that have happened in my life – relationships and marriages. Though he could be quite tough in his observations, telling me about aspects of them that I didn't see at the time – and I didn't want to think he was right.

Over the years he has changed. He used to blurt things out and offend people; that Madonna quote [in Red Carpets and Other Banana Skins], where he referred to her as an "old whiny barmaid", well you could see why someone would be hurt by it. But now just because he has a thought, it doesn't mean he has to say it. We meet every week for lunch, and he has some of the best stories!

He's had an extraordinarily varied career, crossing from theatre to film, books to fashion and I thought he was amazing in My Best Friend's Wedding. But sometimes he's picked material he's not best suited to – like the Madonna film [The Next Best Thing]. But being a handsome leading man – and gay – is not an easy thing to manage and when he made the choice to be open, though it was a wise life choice, it meant he didn't get the work he would have if he'd stayed in the closet. Is he jealous of Colin Firth [with whom he co-starred in the film adaptation of Another Country]? Well, would Rupert want to win an Oscar? Of course, but he doesn't play the game like Colin has, he's rebellious, though with this new production [The Judas Kiss] I think he's about to have another great moment.

'The Judas Kiss' runs until November at the Hampstead Theatre, London, then tours