“I have been cheated on,” admits gorgeous Aussie actress Naomi Watts, “ You always fear it. It’s horrible.”
The 35-year-old year old star of “Mulholland Drive,” who has become a leading Hollywood lady in the last couple of years thanks to movies like “The Ring” and her Oscar nominated role in “21Grams, “refuses to get specific on who cheated on her-- and why.
But it’s no big secret that her romance with blonde Aussie hunk Heath Ledger fell apart very abruptly in May without explanations from Naomi and Heath after they had been going hot and heavy. There was even talk of marriage.
Heath has moved onto new romances while Naomi has kept diplomatically silent about the split. Until the other day, during an interview in Hollywood.
“I’ve never been married of course,” she says, “But I’ve been forced to face infidelity and been hurt by it,” she says without naming names. “I know it comes with loss and pain.”
But Naomi admits she’s not the kind of woman who is able to bottle her emotions when it comes to matters of the heart.
Her revelations come in the wake of her latest film “We Don’t Live Here Anymore” a twisted tale of love, marriage and shocking infidelity.
Naomi plays Edith Evans who is married to Hank, played by Peter Strause from “Six Feet Under.” She embarks on a wild love affair with the husband (Mark Ruffalo) of her best friend played by Laura Dern.
Naomi speaks softly—about her movie role as the cheating wife—and of her own oft-fragile emotions.
“I know what it’s like to bottle emotions and I’ve definitely been guilty of that at times in my life,” says Naomi her blonde hair flowing to below her shoulders as she looks stunning in a low cut silk white dress. “But I know if I keep my emotions in I’ll explode over the most ridiculous thing. Suddenly it all comes bubbling out and I’ll be completely irrational.”
She says she took the role of the cheating wife after another hugely emotional role opposite Sean Penn in her Oscar nominated role in “21 Grams.”
“This was an even tougher role,” she explains. “Playing Edith is difficult for me because I first thought it would be impossible for me to do it coming off that movie where my emotions were very external. But then I realized it was the kind of role I wanted to play because that’s what I love to do. Play the whole gamut…screaming and shouting and crying. I always feel I’m boring audiences when I’m not doing anything. When I’m not emoting. Being still and passive is very scary to me and I always think it’s not enough.”
So she grabbed the role of the traumatized wife who willingly jumps into bed with pal’s husband noting: “Edith is unhappy with her own husband and she doesn’t know how to deal with it. It’s hard to tell whether she embarks on the affair for her satisfaction or for revenge on her spouse.”
In the film her character instigates the affair. “She’s spent her life pleasing but now she’s very confused. Rather than confront her husband about his infidelities she goes the denial route and turns a blind eye to it. And she decides the only way she can survive -- because there’s no passion, truth kindness or love left in the marriage—is to jump into an affair. It’s her cry for help. It’s her next step in her journey in life.”
Naomi says she did learn a lot about herself playing Edith’s own new journey in life. “Passion and sex are at the core of most relationships but if it evaporates then you are in deep trouble.”
Naomi says — without revealing confidences – that she has lots of friends who have gone through the hell of rotten relationships.
“I have married friends who have gone through infidelity and they’ve gotten through it. I’ve had friends who’ve had the desire to be with someone else in an animal way and I think that’s completely human.”
But she says marital deceit doesn’t mean the relationship is necessarily destroyed. “I love it when I hear someone say that they have that desire and got honest with their partner and talked about it rather than the partner going, ‘Damn you’ and getting all jealous and reactive.”
“In some cases, the partner has gone, ‘Okay, that hurts but I do understand it.’ She says handling infidelity in a sensible and deliberate manner can sometimes save the marriage. “The person in your eyes becomes so much greater and so much sexier.”
While her personal love life may have had a few sad turns, Naomi’s Hollywood career is booming.
In her next two movies she stars opposite two Oscar winning actors.
Powerhouse “Lord of the Rings” director Peter Jackson personally chose her to star in a remake of the classic King Kong movie which is being shot in New Zealand in August, with Naomi starring opposite Jack Black and Adrien Brody, who won his golden statuette for his role in “The Pianist.”
“I’ve never been in a movie that has that kind of spectacle fantasy,” she says of her “King Kong” outing. “What better person to do it than with Peter. It’s a very simplistic story even though it’s a fantasy. It’s the unrequited love part of it that appeals to me as well as being very heartbreaking, And it’s quite dark at times. I’m excited by it.”
And she has just reteamed with the mercurial but brilliant Sean Penn in the movie “The Assassination of Richard Nixon.”
At the same time she’s also just finished shooting “Ring 2” --a sequel to her blockbuster first horror hit.
For Naomi Hollywood has been a see-saw journey. It wasn’t long ago when Naomi was going to throw in the acting towel and move home to Australia because her career had hit a dead end.
She had seen her best pal Nicole Kidman become a huge star, and it was Nicole who encouraged her to stick it out—and wait for the right part.
It came along with her offbeat but mesmerizing role in “Mulholland Drive. ” Since then she hasn’t looked back.
Naomi, who was born in England and moved to Australia when she was 14, worked as a model, became a regular on “Home and Away” and landed roles in films like “Brides of Christ” and “Flirting” opposite the then unknown Nicole.
She met and had a fling with Ledger when she starred opposite him in Ned Kelly. But even though their romance crumbled Naomi has become a Hollywood power.
She says. “I don’t see it as power. I just see what has happened to me as being connected to some really good people. I now have these great connections and believe in using them.”
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