There's plenty to admire in Colin Farrell's passion for Elizabeth Taylor - and the age gap isn't so very inexplicable

The Irishman has form in seeking out elder partners

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That Colin Farrell, he’s a caution with the ladies isn’t he? Especially the mature ones. On the Ellen DeGeneres TV show on Tuesday, he revealed that he’d had secret trysts and 2am conversations with Elizabeth Taylor in the two years before she died. He called their unconsummated amour “the last romantic relationship I had”. 

It started when Farrell discovered Taylor was being treated in the hospital where his son was born, and the two actors sent each other flowers and notes. “I just adored her,” he told Ellen. “She was a spectacular, spectacular woman.” He added, “I wanted to be [husband] No 8, but we ran out of road.” How tactfully expressed that is. She died in 2011, aged 79. Farrell was then 35.

The Irishman has form in this department.  A few years ago, the actress Eileen Atkins revealed that a famous young actor had propositioned her when filming on location, shortly before her 70th birthday; the actor was later named as Farrell. For the record, Ms Atkins said, No thanks to sex, but confessed the offer made her feel much better about entering her eighth decade.

One can tut about the age gaps in these encounters, and use words like “gerontophilia,” but that’s to miss the point. Which is that, as many men know, but few admit, something happens when you hit 35-40 – your sexual horizons extend in both directions: you start fancying 18-year-old girls (inappropriately, I know, I know) rather than women of your own age; but you also start finding older women appealing, in a way that would have seemed peculiar or plain wrong in your twenties. Dr Freud would have had something to say about this unusual manifestation of the midlife crisis, but I admire Farrell’s blithe and uncomplicated passion for dames and divas. And I think Dame Judi can expect to receive an out-of-the-blue orchid, and a hand-written note signed “CF,” any day now… 

Small gift request

Independent readers are a generous bunch, as shown by the Christmas appeals, so I hope you can buy me a little gift. Specifically, a 1947 Cheval Blanc claret, recognised as the world’s best wine. Jancis Robinson, has told Radio 4 listeners that ’47 Cheval Blanc was the most wonderful thing she has ever tasted. Robert Parker, the US wine critic, gives it a perfect score of 100 (“The huge nose of fruitcake, chocolate, leather, coffee and Asian spices is mind-boggling,” he says.)  It’s hellish difficult to find – but a case has been bought at auction for £111,000 by wine merchants Millesimes. Oh, go on. Its number’s in the French L-R phone book. Please? A bottle is only £9,300. Too much? I’ll settle for a glass (£1,550) and you can share it. Merry Christmas.