70? Pah! I still feel sexy …and weigh the same as when I was 15: Jane Seymour’s survived cheating husbands, four divorces, debt and near death. Now, as she reaches a landmark birthday, she reveals her secret for hitting your prime in later life
- Jane Seymour, 69, who lives in Malibu, California, is starring in Glow & Darkness
- She recently topped a list of sexiest female screen actresses over the age of 60
- Former Bond girl reveals she’s been ‘incredibly busy’ despite the pandemic
Jane Seymour would like you to know that she is not remotely put out that a younger actress has replaced her for certain scenes in her new TV series.
The former Bond girl had initially thought she would be playing Eleanor of Aquitaine from the age of 25 to 80 for the historical drama Glow & Darkness.
Then producers sprung it on Jane that someone else would play Eleanor in her youth.
The British-born actress, well-known for her age-defying looks, felt usurped, it was claimed.
Jane Seymour, 69, (pictured) who lives in Malibu, California, topped a list of the sexiest female screen actresses over the age of 60 this year
‘I never said I could be 25 and I’m not angry with anybody about anything,’ says the 69-year-old at her home in Malibu, California, where she has just spent a quiet Christmas with her family. What happened, she says crisply, is that Spanish director Jose Luis Moreno asked her to play one of the film’s three flashback scenes alongside Joan Collins, who plays Eleanor’s mother-in-law.
‘I had to canter straight towards the camera on horseback and Jose said he would alter my age digitally with post-production technology. And I said, “OK. Great.” ’
Unbeknown to her, the younger actress had already filmed two more flashback scenes.
‘I didn’t know about that, but I’m fine with it,’ says Jane, who filmed the drama in Spain earlier this year. ‘If you look at what I’ve done this year, I’m very happy playing not only my own age, but even older.’
Whatever age she’s playing, there is no denying that Jane is still ravishingly gorgeous. This year, she topped a list of the sexiest female screen actresses over the age of 60, beating fellow stars Helen Mirren, Jane Fonda and Susan Sarandon.
She was pottering around her kitchen when she heard.
‘I put down my mug of tea and had a good laugh about it but, yes, it’s very flattering.’
Jane who is in huge demand, revealed she’s had no plastic surgery ‘to speak of’ and still weighs the same as when she was age 15. Pictured: Denise Richards as Marie of France and Jane Seymour as Elanor of Aquitaine in Glow & Darkness
Famously, she has never resorted to a facelift and, as we talk over Zoom, she certainly looks a knockout. She’s wearing minimal make-up and lifts the fringe of her auburn hair to show she is not one of those women whose forehead is frozen in place.
‘I’m not Botoxed or fillered because an actress’s face has to move. I’ve had no plastic surgery to speak of [although she has previously admitted to having breast implants and a minor eyelift decades ago] and I’m still the same weight I was when I was 15,’ she says.
To demonstrate her incredible figure Jane stands up, lifts her floaty orange top and wiggles a pair of impressively firm buttocks, clad in black Lululemon leggings, at the camera.
‘I still feel sexy,’ she says. ‘What also gives you a glow at my age is being as healthy as possible and being comfortable in your own skin, instead of obsessing about the passage of time.’
It’s hard to believe, not only that Jane will be 70 in February — but that she is also busier than actresses half her age.
Having had a starring role in the comedy film The War With Grandpa, Jane said she feels like she’s in her prime as far as acting is concerned. Pictured: Jane and Robert De Niro
She is in huge demand, not something you often hear about an actress in her seventh decade. She is reprising her role in the third series of award-winning Netflix series The Kominsky Method starring Michael Douglas.
‘I feel like I’m in my prime as far as acting is concerned. I’ve been incredibly busy despite the pandemic. My agent said to me earlier this year, “Do you realise you’re the only person in my entire agency working right now?” ’
She also had a starring role in the comedy film The War With Grandpa opposite Robert De Niro. The film is about a grandfather who moves in with his daughter and her family, forcing his grandson to give up his most prized possession — his bedroom. The film was No 1 at the American box office.
Jane plays the character of Diane, a shop assistant who befriends Robert De Niro’s character.
‘I think the message from the film is that a warring household doesn’t work,’ she says. ‘When you’re thrown together you have to learn how to communicate with each other.
Predictably, there is a frisson of romance between her character and De Niro’s. What’s the Oscar-winning actor like and is he, as Sharon Stone recently said, the best kisser in the business?
Jane (pictured) bought her home overlooking the Pacific Ocean with her earnings from the Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman TV series in the 1990s
‘Robert keeps pretty much to himself on set, but we did talk about kids and life a bit,’ Jane says. ‘Maybe there will be a romance in the second film. He’s such a good actor. I’m sure he’d be good at kissing.’
Jane has ridden out the pandemic at her home in Malibu, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, bought with her earnings from the Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman TV series in the 1990s. There is a path through the garden to the beach, a tennis court, a swimming pool and a garden where she grows organic fruit and vegetables and keeps chickens. The mother of four and stepmother of two has had company during lockdown. Her 25-year-old twin sons Kristopher and Johnny moved back home.
‘Kris is taking a master’s degree and learning all about my business and my charities so he can work with me, and Johnny is back from Nashville and has built a music studio in the garage,’ she says.
Two of her three grandchildren, Willa, seven, and Luna, five, who live nearby with their mother Katie — Jane’s daughter — have been doing home-schooling there. Her son Sean and grandson Rowan visit as often as they can.
Then there’s Jane’s partner, British film producer David Green, who has a successful career in film and television. They knew each other socially and got together seven years ago. ‘David’s in the business so he knows how crazy an actress’s life can be. He’s supportive of everything I do and we’re very happy,’ says Jane.
Jane said she isn’t downsizing her home because it brings her joy to know that her children, friends and family can come back there. Pictured: Jane and her children
Many people would think of downsizing at her age but she says: ‘I’m staying put. I’ve kept the family home because the great joy is knowing that wherever my children are in the world, they and my friends and family can come back and share this amazing experience of living here.’
She hasn’t yet bumped into new arrivals Harry and Meghan. ‘I happen to know exactly where they live because it’s right around the corner from where I used to live and raised my children, so I know it’s beautiful.
‘I absolutely wish them all the best. From what I can see, they are on a mission to help people, and that’s very much my philosophy.’
The actress will forever be best known for her role as Solitaire in the James Bond film Live And Let Die. It was made in 1973, an astonishing 47 years ago, and I ask if Jane enjoyed joining the ranks of Bond girls parading around in their bikinis.
‘No, no, no, no — I did not run around in a bikini,’ she scolds me. ‘I was the anomaly of a Bond girl because my character was a virgin, who was a high priestess of tarot cards. Roger Moore seduces her with a pack of cards that he’s fixed, so she picks the Lovers card and thinks it’s her destiny to lose her virginity to 007.
‘The lovemaking was fairly tame, as I recall,’ she says. ‘There are lots of pictures of Roger and me lying next to one another in bed between takes with cups of tea in our hands. They had two other Bond girls who didn’t have such big roles — one did the so-called hot love scene with Roger and the other had huge, huge, huge boobs.
Former Bond girl Jane said she’s pleased Phoebe Waller-Bridge has been involved in the latest script. Pictured: Jane Seymour and Joe Lando in Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman
‘I was the less sexy one — but I was in it the most. It was an acting role. It was actually a big role for a Bond girl.’ Clearly prickly, she adds: ‘I was misquoted years ago, saying that being a Bond girl was the worst thing that ever happened in my career. Absolutely not. To this day Barbara Broccoli still thinks that I said something derogatory about it and I did not.
‘Someone asked me, “Did you lose a role because someone found out you had been a Bond girl?” Yes, they thought I couldn’t be a major actor because I’d been a Bond girl.
‘But I did something Bond girls never did, which was, instead of continuing in the genre, I went back into theatre in rep and played Shakespeare and Ibsen.’
What does she think about Daniel Craig’s portrait of 007 now that his last appearance will be in the yet-to-be-released No Time To Die?
‘I think he’s a terrific actor and he made it into a more contemporary spy drama,’ she says. ‘I’m also pleased that Phoebe Waller-Bridge has been involved in the latest script. I’m a huge fan of hers.’
Born in Hayes, Middlesex, Jane’s acting career began with a part in Richard Attenborough’s Oh! What A Lovely War in 1969. She appeared in the 1970s BBC historical drama The Onedin Line, a hugely popular TV show set in 19th-century Liverpool that depicted the changing fortunes of a shipping family.
Jane (pictured) who has been married four times, was a single mother at 40 with million of dollars of debt to various banks
She moved to the U.S. in 1976 and remains close to her two sisters in the UK.
She has been married four times. Does that mean she is an optimist or a bad judge of character? ‘Back in the day, if you were a nicely brought up girl, you didn’t live together. You got married,’ she says. She married her first husband, Michael Attenborough (only son of director Richard Attenborough) when she was 20, divorced and remained friends.
Then she married Geoffrey Planer — the comedian Nigel Planer’s older brother — and divorced after he decided he didn’t want to live in America. ‘I don’t really consider them marriages because we didn’t have children,’ Jane says.
‘So, my only two real marriages were with David Flynn, who was my business manager. I married him because he was very attractive and I was madly in love, and he was already managing all my money, so I thought he was a clever man.’
She was 30 when she married him in 1981, and the couple had two children Katie, 38, and Sean, 35. They divorced in 1992 after she discovered he had multiple affairs and had left her in dire financial straits. ‘When I found out he had lost my money and been unfaithful, that was the end of that. You could say I chose the wrong person, but we raised children we adore and we get along very well now.’
At 40, she was a single mother of two small children, facing financial Armageddon, with millions of dollars of debt to various banks.
Jane said her role in Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman ‘saved’ her life and paid her debts. Pictured: Jane as Dr. Michaela ‘Mike’ Quinn
‘I was at the bottom of the barrel, homeless, penniless and I was going to have to file for bankruptcy,’ she says. ‘I called my agent and I said, “I need to work yesterday and I will do anything.”
‘And he called every single television network in America and one said, “We’ve got this little movie but she’d have to tell us yes in 14 hours from now, sign for five years and start immediately.” ’
The role was Dr Quinn, Medicine Woman. ‘It saved my life,’ she says. ‘I paid my debts and invested the rest in the home I’m in now.’
She has admitted that she felt ‘low’ after her marriage break-up. This was when she had breast implants, though she has said they were small by Hollywood standards. She married actor James Keach a year after her divorce.
This might seem impulsive but they notched up more than two decades together.
The couple had twins Kristopher and Johnny but the marriage ended in 2015 after Jane found out Keach had also been unfaithful. ‘I was very, very happy with him for years and then he moved on. When I found out about it, that was it. We’re pretty friendly. He has lived with someone else now for a long time.’
Jane found success with her Open Hearts jewellery line and set up the Open Hearts Foundation charity in 2007. Pictured: Jane and David Flynn in 1989
While Dr Quinn revived her career and her bank account, she has also had huge success with her Open Hearts jewellery line.
In 2007, Jane had jewellery designed representing two open hearts, linked together. It was a tribute to her mother Meike, who died later that year.
“My mum always talked about living with an open heart — that you give and receive love and don’t close yourself off — so I had it made into a necklace for good luck. Then I met a British jewellery company called Signet. They said they loved it and wanted to work with me. We did the range for ten years and we sold over a billion dollars’ worth.’
She set up her flourishing Open Hearts Foundation charity at the same time. ‘We do great stuff with small charities — abused women, foster kids, all kinds of wonderful things,’ she says. She is a real example of resilience and midlife re-invention. ‘I’ve always felt it is important for a woman to earn her own money. Running a house and a family is a full-time job, but I think it’s healthy to know you can stand on your own two feet.’
And she says she has no qualms about her upcoming 70th birthday, thanks to a near-death experience she had on a film set in 1988. She only recently revealed she suffered an anaphylactic shock after an antibiotic injection missed a muscle and went into a vein.
Jane revealed she will most likely celebrate her 70th birthday on a film set with a glass of champagne. Pictured: David Green and Jane Seymour
‘Long story short, I died,’ she tells me. ‘Left my body, saw the white light, saw them resuscitating me, knew exactly what it was like to die. It had such a profound effect on me. The first thing I learned is that you take nothing with you, so don’t get hung up on material goods. The only thing you take with you is the love you shared with the people in your life and the difference you’ve made.
‘The other thing I realised is that your body and your mind is your vehicle. It’s like a car — it either runs or it doesn’t. It’s up to you to take care of your vehicle — feed it properly, don’t abuse it. Don’t beat yourself up. Live in the moment. And think about others rather than just yourself.’
What will she do for her big 7-0? ‘Everyone’s bugging me about it,’ she grins. ‘We’ll see what happens with Covid, but I think I’ll be on a film set. Will I have a glass of champagne? Of course!’
She has just made a film in Australia — she got permission from the authorities to enter and undergo a 14-day quarantine. The film’s called Ruby’s Choice and shines a light on families dealing with dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Two of her uncles had Alzheimer’s, she says. ‘I think one of my aunts died much earlier than she should have because of the stress of dealing with her husband. It’s hard on care-givers.’
What advice would she give any woman approaching a milestone birthday? ‘My philosophy is that there’s no going back and it’s about being in the present and adjusting to change.
‘I’d tell her to be grateful to be here and to celebrate all the wonderful things she’s done and the people that have mattered in her life. She should toast herself and say, “Here’s to the next 30 years!” ’
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