Kate Winslet's third attempt: The importance of being married


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The Independent Online

If only Oscar Wilde were stlll with us, he might have just the bons mots to describe Kate Winslet's third marriage. Something along the lines of: To lose one husband is very sad, to lose a second is also quite sad, but to then enter rather hurriedly into a third marriage with a man who has changed his name by deed poll to Ned Rocknroll might be seen as a bit bonkers.

"What are you going on about?" said Kate Winslet's dad the other day, when asked by a reporter about his daughter's secret third wedding, which had already taken place in upstate New York. Asked much the same thing, Mr Rocknroll's dad said: "I know nothing about this, but nothing would surprise me with those two."

A Winslet spokesman has now confirmed that, yes, the wedding did happen in early December in the Catskills with a very few close friends and family present, including Kate's two children from her two previous marriages.

Whether Ms Winslet will now be known as Mrs Rocknroll remains to be seen. "There are no doubt worse names," commented my dad when told of the news. "But perhaps not many." Ned Rocknroll is actually an Abel Smith, from a distinguished landowning family, described to me by someone who knows them as "frightfully frightfullys". His mother's brother is Richard Branson, for whom Ned works on the Virgin Galactic space travel programme. Might Ned need outer space to accommodate his famously large ego?

It's one thing to elope if you don't get on with your family. But one wonders if Kate fears her parents, who seem quite reasonable people, would say: "Let's take a deep breath. Maybe you could wait a year, get to know this guy better. Didn't you only meet him in summer 2011 when you were on Necker Island, as a guest of Richard Branson, with your other new boyfriend, what was his name, the one you met straight after you split up with Sam Mendes? Kate, you're a romance junkie – chill out!"

Still, I can't help but admire the brass balls of them. We live in a country where you can change your name to pretty much anything you like, but hardly anyone does. Ned did and, good for him, it's quite funny. Kate is a trier and God loves a trier. She plunges into love with both feet forwards. It works and then it doesn't; she tries again and fails again; and tries again. She has said in interviews that she was the member of her family who would swim in the cold English Channel on Christmas Day. She just wanted to jump in.

At 37, she is on her third marriage, and perhaps there will be a third child. At 36, I'm on my first child, no marriages, and a lot of sitting on the sofa wondering. From this sofa, I also have a great view of my mantelpiece, which doesn't appear to contain any Oscars.

Do you remember the episode of Sex and the City called "Coulda Woulda Shoulda" in which the women lament what might have been? Kate isn't like that. Drunk on love or otherwise, she flies through her emotional life with great faith in the safety of her own parachute. God. I'm quite jealous, really.