Helen Mirren shares the sweet way she and Taylor Hackford celebrated their 20th anniversary

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Taylor Hackford and Helen Mirren attend the Placido Domingo 50th Anniversary Concert in November in Los Angeles. (Photo: Greg Doherty/Getty Images)
Taylor Hackford and Helen Mirren attend the Placido Domingo 50th Anniversary Concert in November in Los Angeles. (Photo: Greg Doherty/Getty Images)

Helen Mirren may try to play it cool like she and her husband, Taylor Hackford, aren’t romantic, but that’s just not the case. The longtime couple recently celebrated their 20th anniversary on New Year’s Eve, and Mirren gave us all the feels as she reflected on their nuptials years ago.

Yahoo Lifestyle caught up with Dame Mirren while she was promoting her new film, The Leisure Seeker, and when we congratulated her on the milestone, she quipped, “Yes, people have told me as much, I had no idea.”

So how did Mirren, 72, and the 73-year-old film director celebrate?

“Well, we got married on New Year’s Eve, which is also my husband’s birthday. So we have a lot of reasons to celebrate that night. So we always get sucked up into some party or another. But we were actually in the south of Italy at a fish restaurant, and it was incredibly fun,” she reveals. “I made all the Italians sing ‘Happy Birthday’ to my husband. It was great.”

The seemingly mundane song, “Happy Birthday,” actually holds a special (double) meaning for the couple and plays a role in the actress’s favorite memory from her wedding day.

“We got married in Scotland. I’ve got a lot of great memories. One of my most favorites… we had very few people, only like 16 people because we only had room in the place we rented for 16 guests. So, when I arrived at the church, word had gone out, because we got married in a really small fishing village in Scotland, and word had gone out that we were getting married in the village,” she explains. “So when I arrived at the church, it was like 6 o’clock at night on New Year’s Eve, cold in Scotland, and all the villagers, all the people who lived in the village, had come to stand outside the church to watch me arrive and watch. And because I knew there were so few of us in the church, I said, ‘Why don’t you all come in? Come on in! Join in.’ They went, ‘Are you sure?’ I said, ‘Yeah, come on in.’ So when I walked in as the bride, they all came in, as I heard them all sort of shuffling very quietly and respectfully into the church, filling the church up.”

Mirren continues, “Then the priest said, ‘We’re here for the wedding of Helen Mirren and Taylor Hackford, but before we have the wedding, I just want to tell you all that it’s Taylor Hackford’s birthday today, so I want us all to sing him ‘Happy Birthday.’”

Laughing, the actress recalls, “So [the] whole church started singing [in Scottish accent] ‘Happy Birthday to you…’ because they were Scottish… So I’m now determined, wherever we are, I make them all sing him Happy Birthday.”

Mirren and Hackford wed in 1997 after being together for 10 years. A few years ago, Mirren told the Daily Mail she and her husband “aren’t remotely romantic with each other.”

“And actually we appreciate the lack of romance in the other person,” she said. “I’d be completely horrified if Taylor gave me a Valentine’s card! That’s not our sort of relationship at all — we would pour cold water on that sort of thing.

She added: “We even forget to get each other birthday presents — I’m always thinking the day before, ‘Oh, I must get Taylor something for his birthday.’ Without being corny, we try simply to be considerate to each other every day rather than lavishing each other with gifts.”

That sounds pretty romantic to us. Per usual, we could all learn a thing or two from Helen Mirren.

Reporting by Kevin Polowy

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