Michelle Dockery on the loss of her fiancé: ‘I consider myself a widow’

By Sophie Hamilton

Downton Abbey star Michelle Dockery has opened up about the loss of her fiancé John Dineen in a new interview. The actress, who played Lady Mary in the popular period drama, spoke to The Guardian about her new role as Diana in Network at the National Theatre, and her life since the tragic loss of her fiancé two years ago. John sadly lost his fight against cancer in December 2015 aged just 34.

Michelle Dockery in Downton Abbey
Michelle as Lady Mary in Downton Abbey

In the interview, Michelle speaks of how she dealt with John's illness. She said: "I never lost hope. No. I’m not exaggerating when I say that John did not complain once, never, not once, and that gave us strength. It’s what keeps you going, that positivity – to never lose that hope for a miracle. I couldn’t have done it any other way.”

Michelle Dockery with her late fiance John Dineen
Michelle and her late fiance John Dineen

Michelle told the paper that she found the similarities between Mary's storyline as a young widow and her own life difficult. She said: "We were engaged, and married at heart, and so I do consider myself a widow. It’s why I related to Alice so much.” The actress said that to deal with her grief, she threw herself into work. Now, she says, she wants to take some time off to come to terms with her loss and perhaps go travelling.

READ: Michelle Dockery says Downton 'may not be over yet'

Michelle and John are thought to have started dating in 2013, after being introduced by Michelle's Downton co-star Allen Leech. They kept their relationship out of the spotlight, but the star spoke briefly about the romance in September 2014, saying: "I have a wonderful man in my life from Ireland." John proposed the following year.

Michelle Dockery

At John's funeral at his local church in Cork, Michelle paid him a loving tribute: "Whether in his work or his personal life John was extremely loyal. It was clear that when John was in your corner he was there. I was honoured to know John. To love him and be loved by him. He was my friend, my King, my hero, my everything. We celebrate him, we honour him and we will miss him."

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