Helen McCrory Told Damien Lewis To Have 'Lots of Girlfriends' After Her Death
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Actor Damien Lewis has said his late wife Helen McCrory told him she hoped he'd find love again after her death - having ordered him to have 'lots of girlfriends'.
Lewis was married to McCrory for 14 years before she died of cancer at the age of 52.
In a tribute to his wife, he shared a moving tribute with The Times, speaking about their relationship and her 'bravery' towards her illness.
Saying McCrory had encouraged him and their children Manon and Gulliver to 'live fully, take opportunities' and 'have adventures', Lewis wrote: "Only a couple of weeks ago she said to us from her bed, 'I want Daddy to have girlfriends, lots of them, you must all love again, love isn't possessive, but you know, Damian, try at least to get though the funeral without snogging someone'."
Lewis described his wife as being 'utterly heroic in her illness', continuing: "She has shone more brightly in the last months than you would imagine even the brightest star could shine. In life, too, we had to rise to meet her.
"But her greatest and most exquisite act of bravery and generosity has been to 'normalise' her death. She's shown no fear, no bitterness, no self-pity, only armed us with the courage to go on and insisted that no one be sad, because she is happy.
"I'm staggered by her. She's been a meteor in our life."
A 'heartbroken' Lewis announced his wife's passing earlier this week, saying she had 'blazed so brightly'.
In an emotional statement on Twitter, he said: "I'm heartbroken to announce that after an heroic battle with cancer, the beautiful and mighty woman that is Helen McCrory has died peacefully at home surrounded by a wave of love from friends and family.
"She died as she lived. Fearlessly.
"God we love her and know how lucky we are to have had her in our lives.
"She blazed so brightly.
"Go now, Little One, into the air, and thank you."
Yesterday, her Peaky Blinders co-star Cillian Murphy also paid tribute to his 'pal', saying in a statement to the PA news agency: "I am broken-hearted to lose such a dear friend.
"Helen was a beautiful, caring, funny, compassionate human being.
"She was also a gifted actor - fearless and magnificent. She elevated and made humane every scene, every character she played.
"It was a privilege to have worked with this brilliant woman, to have shared so many laughs over the years.
"I will dearly miss my pal. My love and thoughts are with Damian and her family."
The official Peaky Blinders Twitter account shared its own tribute after the news broke, posting a picture of McCrory as Polly Gray and writing: "All our love and thoughts are with Helen's family.
"Rest in peace."