My secret life: Elizabeth McGovern, actress, 47

The home I grew up in... We moved to the West Coast of the US when I was 10 years old, and our house was East Coast implanted on California soil. It was filled with classical music; my brother was a pianist.

I drive ... In London, I take the tube everywhere. I just got rid of my car – I think it was a VW Golf. It was the biggest relief.

The moment that changed me for ever ...was when I met Matilda Lee Curtis for the first time – my eldest daughter. I went from being obsessed with reviews to being preoccupied with nappies.

My greatest inspiration ... at the moment is Kevin Spacey. I knew him at drama school, he was a baby back then but he looked exactly the same as he does now. He is so concentrated, with such vision. And because it's always a good idea to kiss Spacey's butt when you're working at the Old Vic!

If I could change one thing about myself ... I would improve my digestion, I always have stomach problems.

At night I dream of ... very mundane things, like someone having switched the brand of toothpaste in the bathroom and I can't figure out who did it.

What I see when I look in the mirror ... Scarlett Johansson, I wish.

My style icon ... Miranda de Carcaci. She is 15 years old and goes to school with my daughter. I never leave the house without the two of them checking my outfit. If they give me the thumbs down, I will march back to my room and start from scratch.The shop I can't walk past ... Boots. There is always something I need from there.

It's not fashionable but ... I like writing letters and receiving letters. It's a shame that we've lost the art of letter-writing and saving correspondence. I mourn that.

I wish I'd never worn ... my glasses in our rehearsal photos. They will be in the play's programme for ever.

When I was a child I wanted to be ... a ballet dancer. I have the world's greatest point but I could never get myself off the ground, I'm too earthbound.

My favourite item of clothing ... my blue sparkly Prada coat. I spent more on that than anything I've ever bought. Consequently, I never wear it.

You wouldn't know it but I'm very good ... at writing songs. I write and record with a band – lyric-orientated, idiosyncratic, quirky, observational tunes.

You may not know it but I'm no good at ... getting anywhere. I have a terrible sense of direction. I'm usually 100 per cent wrong.

All my money goes on ... music stuff – mostly session musicians for my recordings.

If I have time to myself ... I read or I play my guitar.

My house is ... full of life. It's a big, beautiful haven in Chiswick, crammed with things.

My most valuable possession is ... my guitar, sentimentally, but it's not worth much.

My favourite building ... any theatre, I find them to be both spiritual and sexy. The Old Vic has many ghosts from over the years, and nooks and crannies all over.

Movie heaven ... Joe Wright's Pride and Prejudice. It's so romantic, a rich story and a real pleasure to watch.A book that changed me ... Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man by James Joyce. I read it when I was 15 years old, an age when it resonated in my evolving sense of self.

My favourite works of art ... are Leonard Cohen or Joni Mitchell songs.

My real life villain... I don't believe in villains – just people who channel their energy in the wrong way.

The best invention ever ... is the iPhone. I just got one and I'm obsessed. I just love texting and the music being right there at the touch of a button.

The last album I bought/downloaded ...Dido's Safe Trip Home. It was actually a gift from my husband. I haven't listened to it yet.

The person who really makes me laugh ... my husband, Simon Curtis. In 10 years' time, I hope to ... be living where I live now, with the ones I love.

My life in seven words ... Use it up. Go to bed tired.

My greatest regret ... I have none. My philosophy is "move on, baby!" There is a reason for everything.

A life in brief

Born in Evanston, Illinois, in 1961, Elizabeth McGovern cut her teeth in Robert Redford's 1980 directorial debut, the Oscar-winning Ordinary People. The following year, her performance in Ragtime earned her an Academy Award nomination, and in 1984 she was Robert De Niro's love interest in Once Upon a Time in America. McGovern now lives in Chiswick, London, with her husband, the producer and director Simon Curtis, and their two children. She stars in Complicit, directed by Kevin Spacey, which is at the Old Vic from 7 January to 21 February

Start your day with The Independent, sign up for daily news emails
ebooksA year of political gossip, levity and intrigue from the sharpest pen in Westminster
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating

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

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs People

Recruitment Genius: HR Manager

£25000 - £30000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: They are in need of a HR Manage...

h2 Recruit Ltd: Business Development Manager - HR Consultancy - £65,000 OTE

£35000 - £40000 per annum + £65,000 OTE: h2 Recruit Ltd: London, Birmingham, M...

Day In a Page

Homeless Veterans appeal: 'You look for someone who's an inspiration and try to be like them'

Homeless Veterans appeal

In 2010, Sgt Gary Jamieson stepped on an IED in Afghanistan and lost his legs and an arm. He reveals what, and who, helped him to make a remarkable recovery
Could cannabis oil reverse the effects of cancer?

Could cannabis oil reverse effects of cancer?

As a film following six patients receiving the controversial treatment is released, Kate Hilpern uncovers a very slippery issue
The Interview movie review: You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here

The Interview movie review

You can't see Seth Rogen and James Franco's Kim Jong Un assassination film, but you can read about it here
Serial mania has propelled podcasts into the cultural mainstream

How podcasts became mainstream

People have consumed gripping armchair investigation Serial with a relish typically reserved for box-set binges
Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up for hipster marketing companies

Jesus Christ has become an unlikely pin-up

Kevin Lee Light, aka "Jesus", is the newest client of creative agency Mother while rival agency Anomaly has launched Sexy Jesus, depicting the Messiah in a series of Athena-style poses
Rosetta space mission voted most important scientific breakthrough of 2014

A memorable year for science – if not for mice

The most important scientific breakthroughs of 2014
Christmas cocktails to make you merry: From eggnog to Brown Betty and Rum Bumpo

Christmas cocktails to make you merry

Mulled wine is an essential seasonal treat. But now drinkers are rediscovering other traditional festive tipples. Angela Clutton raises a glass to Christmas cocktails
5 best activity trackers

Fitness technology: 5 best activity trackers

Up the ante in your regimen and change the habits of a lifetime with this wearable tech
Paul Scholes column: It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves

Paul Scholes column

It's a little-known fact, but I have played one of the seven dwarves
Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Fifa's travelling circus once again steals limelight from real stars

Club World Cup kicked into the long grass by the continued farce surrounding Blatter, Garcia, Russia and Qatar
Frank Warren column: 2014 – boxing is back and winning new fans

Frank Warren: Boxing is back and winning new fans

2014 proves it's now one of sport's biggest hitters again
Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton: The power dynamics of the two first families

Jeb Bush vs Hillary Clinton

Karen Tumulty explores the power dynamics of the two first families
Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley with a hotbed of technology start-ups

Stockholm is rivalling Silicon Valley

The Swedish capital is home to two of the most popular video games in the world, as well as thousands of technology start-ups worth hundreds of millions of pounds – and it's all happened since 2009
Did Japanese workers really get their symbols mixed up and display Santa on a crucifix?

Crucified Santa: Urban myth refuses to die

The story goes that Japanese store workers created a life-size effigy of a smiling "Father Kurisumasu" attached to a facsimile of Our Lord's final instrument of torture
Jennifer Saunders and Kate Moss join David Walliams on set for TV adaptation of The Boy in the Dress

The Boy in the Dress: On set with the stars

Walliams' story about a boy who goes to school in a dress will be shown this Christmas